Hamilton, Ontario, a Canadian port city on the western tip of Lake Ontario, is an excellent place for those wanting to escape the big city bustle and find an affordable lifestyle close to Toronto. Here you can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere while working in and commuting to the most populous city in Canada, which is only a 40-minute drive away. Hamilton’s Residents have easy access to 403, Highway 8, Red Hill Valley Parkway, and the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway. GoTransit trains and buses also provide a convenient way to commute from Hamilton to Toronto. With a healthy cultural scene, Hamilton is ideal for small businesses, so commuting to a larger city may not even be necessary.
In addition to being one of the most affordable places to live in Canada, Hamilton has everything to offer its residents and visitors — picturesque views, hiking trails, galleries, and numerous places for entertainment. More importantly. Hamilton is amongst the best cities in Canada with its walk score, so you can park your car and walk to beautiful attractions in Hamilton, which include:
- Royal Botanical Gardens
- Escarpment Rail Trail
- Art Gallery of Hamilton
- Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology
- Dundurn Castle
- Albion Falls
- Bruce Trail
- Tiffany Falls
- Gage Park
- Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation
- Bayfront Park
Downtown Hamilton is a hub for some of the most exciting events residents and visitors can enjoy. It’s where concerts, music festivals, and theatrical performances take place, and some of the most notable ones are:
- Strangewaves Music Festival
- Hamilton World Music Festival
- Fringe Festival
Hamilton is home to more than 570,000 residents and numerous organizations that are always willing to welcome newcomers and visitors from all around the globe.
The economy in Hamilton is one of the most diversified in the country. The fastest-growing mid-sized city for tech talent offers an excellent environment for big and small investments. As a result, Hamilton continually ranks as one of the best places to invest in the nation. World-class companies like Amazon, IBM, Nokia, Maple Leaf, Fraunhofer, and Stryker have already made considerable investments in Hamilton.
CBRE ranked Hamilton, Ontario, as number two for North American tech cities of opportunity. In addition, Hamilton tech talent ranked fastest growing in Canadian mid-sized towns from 2012-2017, with a growth rate of 64.8%.
With its proximity to the U.S. border crossings and major international airports, Hamilton’s perfect location provides businesses with plentiful transportation, trade, and talent acquisition opportunities.
Manufacturing plays a vital role in Hamilton’s economy and contributes 4% of Ontario’s total economy ($12 billion annually). The major industrial products here include motor vehicles and parts, metal products such as iron and steel, foods and beverages, paper products, electrical goods, machinery, chemicals, petroleum, and coal.
Agrobusiness is another critical sector in Hamilton, contributing $1 Billion to its economy annually. With 80% of Hamilton’s landmass being rural, primary agriculture and food and beverage manufacturing play a vital role in the local economy. Major international companies like Mondelez, Maple Leaf Foods, Aryzta, and Grupo Bimbo have already invested in Hamilton. In addition, more than 120 food and beverage manufacturers operate in Hamilton, situated in one of the most significant regional food processing clusters in North America.
Food and beverage manufacturing is the 2nd largest manufacturing sector in Hamilton regarding employment and revenue and welcomes new investments year over year.
“One of the fastest-growing areas of Hamilton’s economy is food and beverage manufacturing. We have the right mix of labour force, location, and land to deliver a successful product.” Brian Morris, Agribusiness and Food Processing Lead, City of Hamilton
Over 12 million metric tons of cargo go through Hamilton Port Authority annually. It is the busiest e ports of Canada’s great lakes, and 28% of all St. Lawrence Seaway System’s movements occur here.
Per Canadian Business magazine, September 2008 edition, Hamilton was the third-best location in English Canada for doing business based on:
- operating costs of doing business
- cost of living in the city
- non-residential building permits
- crime rate
- unemployment rate changes.
And in the overall ranking, Hamilton was seventh of 40 cities across Canada. Some of the reasons for Hamilton’s high ranking were: its Great Lakes port, its International Airport, the Queen Elizabeth Way connecting Toronto to the U.S. border, McMaster University with Canada’s highest ratio of research funding to the operating budget, and that Hamilton is emerging as a biotech hub.
Finally, tourism is also crucial for Hamiton’s revenue, and it accounts for $530 million spendings annually from 6 million visitors.
eCommerce in Hamilton
Hamilton residents are no exception for booming online sales, and the demand for eCommerce stores keeps rising. According to Statistics Canada, online sales have gone up more than 99% during the COVID pandemic, and eCommerce sales reached a record $3.9 billion in May 2020, a 99.3% increase over February. This is more than enough reason for any business to seek proper SEO in Hamilton.
Due to the increased online sales, the city of Hamilton helped hundreds of small businesses adapt to online environments and offers eCommerce training for small businesses.
The COVID19 pandemic will undoubtedly have a long-lasting impact on the retail sector. Most likely, many Canadians will make online shopping a habit, with not many of them going back to physical stores. “[T]he split between e-commerce purchases and in-store purchases has changed forever,” says Kostya Polyakov, partner and national industry leader for KPMG’s consumer and retail practice in Vancouver.
In 2021, about 40 percent of Canadian consumers shopped in physical stores and online daily or weekly. The younger generations made more online purchases, while older generations preferred in-person shopping each week.
- Gen Z – 32 percent shopped in-store, and 43 percent shopped online
- Millennials – 40 percent shopped in-store, and 47 percent shopped online
- Gen X – 43 percent shopped in-store, and 36 percent shopped online
- Baby boomers – 48 percent shopped in-store, and 25 percent shopped online
Canada is among the most profitable markets for eCommerce businesses, with annual sales of almost 1.85 billion Canadian dollars. In addition, the 2018 survey amongst Canadians revealed that many locals now prefer online shopping to in-person purchases because of the wide variety of products and convenience.
Revenue from the retail eCommerce market in Canada is expected to grow even higher and surpass 33 billion U.S. dollars by 2024, up from 25.4 billion in 2019. The growing number of eCommerce shoppers calls for more stores and facilities to adapt to the online environment. Many U.S. online businesses have joined the crowded and growing eCommerce market in Canada and sell directly to Canadians across multiple industries. Amazon Canada has already made a massive investment in Hamilton to create a fulfillment center and delivery station in Hamilton, bringing over 1,500 new jobs in the area.
Popular eCommerce Categories in Canada
Amongst the most popular online shopping categories in Canada per 2020 statistics are:
- Clothing and Apparel
- Computers and electronics
- Beauty Products
- Home and Garden
- Health Products
- Office Supplies
- Home Décor
- Sporting Goods
The Future of eCommerce in Canada
The COVID19 pandemic has proved eCommerce to be a helpful and vital resource, and the eCommerce market in Canada is expected to grow 7.5% in 2022 compared to 2021. However, the number of online shoppers won’t be as astronomically high as during lockdown restrictions, as many Canadians, especially baby boomers, still prefer an in-store shopping experience. Even so, eCommerce in Canada will keep growing, and as the number of online businesses keeps increasing, so will the competition for online sales. As a result, retail eCommerce sales in Canada are expected to amount to 40.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2025, up from 25.3 billion U.S dollars in 2019.