Many Canadian businesses are under intense pressure amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but new research published Wednesday shows retailers with a strong e-commerce presence could be in for record business.

E-commerce sales have doubled for Canadian merchants since March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, according to research firm Absolunet.

"Every Canadian business' e-commerce maturity is being tested and pushed to its limits,” said Charles Desjardins, partner and executive vice-president at Absolunet, in a release. “We've never seen this before."

The report looked at sales activity in five different sectors over a 19-day period since that turning point. Compared to last year, numerous sectors are looking at sizable revenue growth.

For retailers selling appliances, electronics and building materials, online revenue is up 161 per cent from last year, according to the report. Right behind is food and restaurants with growth of 160 per cent. Revenue for furniture and home decor merchants is up 106 per cent year-over-year, just ahead of sporting goods at 105 per cent. The report notes apparel is seeing at the slowest growth at just 21 per cent.

Despite higher online revenue, researchers found overall online traffic has slowed, signaling Canadians are being more decisive and buying only what they need.

"Merchants who had 20 per cent or more of the revenues coming from e-commerce before the crisis are better placed to come out of it strong," said Desjardins.