Canadian Manufacturing

Canadians see sustained growth ahead in the digital economy, with technology likely to drive the success of small businesses: RBC Poll

by CM staff   

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More than half of Canadians feel that e-commerce hasn't reached its peak, underscoring a continued desire to engage with businesses online in new ways.

TORONTO — Canadians remain convinced that technology will continue to play a critical role in the future of small businesses, signaling sustained growth ahead in the digital economy, according to a recent RBC Small Business Poll. A majority of Canadians agree that not only have digital technologies made it easier than ever to start a business (69 per cent), they also enable a business to steadily grow beyond ‘day one’ by reducing the cost of running a business (72 per cent).

The survey reveals that less than half of Canadians (46 per cent) believe growth in e-commerce has peaked, indicating more opportunities to digitally engage with consumers. Yet, a majority of small business owners (57 per cent) report that the e-commerce economy has reached an apex, highlighting a gap that business owners should look to bridge between their own beliefs and consumer expectations.

“While in-person interactions with customers may have resumed for many small business owners, demand for digital engagement is far from dead. Many Canadians foresee a future where e-commerce and technology remains firmly embedded in the way we live, shop, and do business,” says Don Ludlow, Vice-President of Small Business, Partnerships & Strategy, RBC. “For small business owners, steady investments in digital transformation will allow them to sustain their momentum in creating a digitally-enabled business for the long-term.”

Balance between digital and human experiences important for the future of small business
Survey findings indicate that Gen Z and millennials prefer the ‘best of both worlds’ when it comes to interacting with businesses and brands, both online and offline.


More than half of millennials (51 per cent) and two-thirds of Gen Z respondents (59 per cent) say they would prefer more digital interactions in the shopping experience. Similarly, six in ten Gen Z (66 per cent) and half of millennials (55 per cent) desire more digital interactions in their payments and checkout experiences.

Yet when it comes to customer communications and marketing, eight-in-ten millennials (79 per cent) report that they would prefer more human engagements – a sentiment shared by Gen Z (77 per cent). Another three-quarters of Gen Z (74 per cent) would favour a more human touch to resolve customer issues and queries, with this number rising to 84 per cent among millennials.

While continuing to create digital touchpoints to deepen relationships with consumers is key to entrepreneurial success, small business owners polled say that the following are also important indicators of a thriving business on the path to sustained growth:
Establishing a base of loyal repeat customers (63 per cent)
The ability to innovate and create new opportunities (51 per cent)
Having the funds to invest in growing and developing teams (48 per cent)
Hitting sales and/or new client acquisition growth targets for two consecutive quarters (47 per cent)


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