As business restrictions ease, Canadians all over the country are slowly regaining access to their favourite non-essential retailers, but a new poll suggests consumers have gotten used to e-commerce, and may be reluctant to pivot back.

PayPal Canada polled more than 1,500 Canadians and found on average consumers are spending $178 a month shopping online. That’s an increase of $69 compared to pre-pandemic, which boosts the monthly e-commerce spend in this country to $5.5 billion. 

Online grocery shopping is the retail segment that’s accelerated most rapidly, according to the poll, which suggests 49 per cent of consumers have made at least one online grocery purchase, compared to 19 per cent in March of 2020.

It’s not just groceries, online spending has advanced in almost every retail category, according to the poll, with noted jumps in home office furnishings, exercise equipment and school supplies.

“Last year in April, only 44 per cent told us they anticipated shopping online more than what they were already doing,” Jill Cress, consumer marketing vice president with PayPal, said in a news release. “Today, that number is 59 per cent.”

“Looking back at how overwhelmed we were at the challenges of finding toilet paper and hand sanitizers in store last year it’s great to see that just one year later, we are turning to e-commerce for all of our needs and the data shows this shift is here to stay.”

While small to medium sized businesses may see a sales bump as COVID business restrictions ease, PayPal’s research suggests retailers might have to stay on top of the latest tech trends to retain customers.

One in four respondents said they don’t expect to use cash for transactions five years from now. While nearly as many expect retailers will soon offer drone delivery and facial recognition payment technology.