$2.5B Impact Of Canada’s Growing Side Seller Community: PayPal Canada

An emerging form of entrepreneurship is making waves in the Canadian economy, according to new research from PayPal Canada and Barraza & Associates. It is estimated that 2.5 million Canadians, or about nine per cent of the adult population, have embraced a “5-to-9’er” lifestyle turning their passions into profitable side-businesses in addition to working a fulltime job.

This community of makers, creators, freelancers and service providers has gained notable traction in Canada. In fact, half of Canadian 5-to-9’ers started their business in the last three years. In the past 12 months, this small but mighty community reported combined median revenues of $2.5 billion dollars.

Canada’s 5-to-9’ers are online savvy and keen to grow

Young and driven to evolve, Canada’s 5-to-9’ers are eager to turn their part-time endeavors into a primary source of income. The research shows that these emerging entrepreneurs employ e-commerce tools to reach their vision of success. Their e-commerce arsenal includes extensive use of online marketplaces and social media networks, demonstrating 5-to-9’ers deep appreciation of the digital economy. From age to attitude towards selling online, Canada’s enterprising 5-to-9’ers differ greatly from traditional Canadian small business owners.

  • More than half (54%) of 5-to-9’ers surveyed have seriously considered making their part-time business into a full time career.  More than a third (38%) are actively testing out the idea of becoming a full time entrepreneur, using this time in their small business journey as a launch pad.
  • 5-to-9’ers are selling where Canadians are shopping – online. Over a third (32%) of 5-to-9’ers accept online payments for their goods and services leveraging a variety of e-commerce tools, like online marketplaces (59%) and social networking sites (52%). Turning the lens on traditional small businesses, less than a quarter accept payments online.
  • The 5-to-9’er community skews younger compared to traditional small business owners. In some cases, there is a 30-year differential. More than half of 5-to-9’ers (54%) are between the ages of 25 and 44 years-old, which could explain why they are more comfortable using digital technology.

Despite their drive and determination, there are some barriers holding this community back from transitioning to full time small business owners. Limited access to start-up capital is the main (58%) hurdle identified by this group.

Women are paving the way, yet disparity persists

Women are dominating the 5-to-9’er landscape, representing 66 per cent of the community in Canada. Not only are women propelling this trend, the study revealed that they are more seriously considering fulltime small business ownership, compared to their male counterparts. While it is encouraging to see women taking a leading role in shaping the 5-to-9’er landscape, female 5-to-9’ers reported significantly less revenue than their male peers.

  • Female 5-to-9’ers want to take their passion projects to the next level. Compared to men in this segment, the research shows that women are more actively testing the viability of full time small business ownership (38%), and are more likely to transition to full time small business ownership within the next three years (47%).
  • There is a striking difference in reported revenue between men and women. Female 5-to-9’ers reported earning 71 per cent less average revenue compared to male 5-to-9’ers. A perpetuating pay gap could potentially hold women back from reaching their small business growth goals.

Notably, 12 per cent of women started their side business while on maternity leave. Women may be leveraging maternity leave as an opportunity to explore becoming entrepreneurs while simultaneously bringing in additional household income.

Overall, the research points to a growing, thriving community that has organically formed by leveraging tools like e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces, freelance software and smartphone apps to find success. While small businesses tend to earn significant focus in Canada, the 5-to-9 community is a rising segment of Canada’s economy that has tremendous potential to succeed if nurtured.

Complete study findings and additional information can be found here.

For more information on how PayPal is helping Canadian 5-9’ers thrive, visit www.paypal.ca/yourbusiness 

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