We might remember 2021 for all the challenges we faced navigating the second year of a global pandemic. But it also represented a tipping point for Canada’s digital economy. Throughout the pandemic, Canadian businesses turned to online tools as a lifeline. Now, they’re using them to unlock new growth opportunities. As a result, the digital economy hasn’t just grown, it has time traveled. What we thought the digital economy would look like in 5 to 10 years from now, is what we are living today.
For Canadian businesses big and small, creating or expanding their online presence built resiliency in a time of uncertainty and positioned them for future growth. An Economic Impact Report released by Public First estimates that in 2021, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Cloud and Google Advertising tools helped provide $37 billion in economic activity for Canadian businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers. That’s the equivalent of about 1.5% of Canada’s GDP, more than forestry and aviation combined.
These numbers demonstrate the value that a digital presence brings to Canadian businesses and creators across this country. Digital is a doorway to opportunity, helping businesses and creators find new customers, enter new markets internationally and gain valuable insight.
What’s more, Google’s products and services have helped Canadians find authoritative information, improve productivity, learn new skills and find jobs.
Let's take a look behind the numbers at some of the many Canadian businesses that have beat the odds and are creating new growth opportunities with the power of digital.
St. Catharines, Ontario
Cheekbone Beauty has two missions: to help every Indigenous person see and feel their value in the world, and to create sustainable colour cosmetics for the masses. This St. Catharines-based company makes high-quality, cruelty-free, beauty products that are sustainable in production, with a portion of proceeds being donated to Indigenous youth causes.
In the early days of their business, founder Jenn Harper relied on Google Trends to help her learn about market demand. Through Google Trends, she could see what types of cosmetic products were getting the most interest on Google Search, which helped her decide on some of Cheekbone’s first products, notably lipstick, which has become one of the line’s signature products. Between 2018 and 2020, online sales grew by 780% and Jenn attributes this robust and consistent growth to the effective use of data-first tools such as Google Analytics. Through Analytics, Jenn says her and her team are able to holistically analyze and understand the effectiveness of all their marketing creative and channels.
Frédéric Aubé experienced firsthand the hurdles associated with furniture purchasing and assembling in Canada, and saw an opportunity to make the process faster, easier, and more seamless. With this goal in mind, Frédéric launched Cozey, a Montréal-based furniture company, in the midst of the pandemic. For the past two years, Frédéric and his team have worked to modernize the Canadian home and living industry – one living room at a time. Cozey’s sofas come in multiple small boxes, making them more manageable to transport and assemble. The sofas are also modular, which enables customers to modify their sofas over time without having to purchase and assemble a brand new living room set.
As an online-only business, reaching potential customers wherever they are is integral to Cozey’s growth. Having understood that many Canadians begin their furniture search on Google, Cozey leveraged Google Search and Shopping Ads to first raise brand awareness, and then help potential customers find their perfect product. As a result, they were able to increase their website click-through rate by 24X since 2020, with 30% of their customers interacting directly with Cozey Google Ads Campaigns.
Canada’s Moment and Beyond
Google is proud of its role in helping Canadian businesses and creators of all sizes unlock growth. But we also know that our work doesn’t end there. That’s why we’re building on our commitments to Canadian non-profits. Today, we’re announcing an additional $2.7 million in Google.org grants to Actua, MediaSmarts and ComIT to support their efforts to empower Canadians to stay safe online and build more inclusive economic opportunities for Indigenous communities in Canada.
Canada, let’s continue this momentum. Given the pace that our digital economy is expanding today, I’m excited to see what opportunities the next 5 to 10 years will bring.