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Canadian Imports and Trends: Cars, Gems, and… Kale?

Canadians love imports. Despite being 38th in world population size, we’re the 11th biggest export and import economy in the world — and that’s with taking into account the fact that our imports have shrunk at a rate of around 2% for the last five years.

In other words, we’re 0.48% of the world population… and we’re responsible for 2.7% of global imports. Canadians love imports so much that, on average, our yearly imported product demand hovers around $12,100 per person.

At Clearit, we specialize in facilitating your Canadian imports, so you could say we have a vested interest in keeping up with what Canadians are importing.

General Import Trends

The top five imports into Canada, by volume and expenditure, are:

  1. Automobiles
  2. Automobile parts
  3. Delivery trucks
  4. Refined petroleum
  5. Crude petroleum

Interestingly, a number of our biggests imports are also our biggest exports; as Canadians hunger for foreign-produced cars, we also export Canadian-manufactured ones at a significant rate. Our biggest import and export partners similarly overlap — the USA, China, and Mexico fall on both sides of the equation at a significant rate.

(And we do mean significant, because over half of all our imports come from our North American neighbours!)

The big picture isn’t the only picture, however. Canadians have some interesting import trends when you look a bit closer as well.

Digging a Little Deeper

What else do Canadians import? Well, we love electrical equipment, computers, plastics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, iron… we even get a decent amount of our furniture and bedding from imports.

As our demand for fuels increase, so do our imports of mineral fuels, including oil — they had a 17% increase in import rates from 2016 to 2017. Imported fuel for our imported cars!

The lone top ten import that saw a decline in Canada? Gems and precious metals. Canadian demand for imported silver, gold, and precious stones dropped a little over 16% between 2016 and 2017. Canadians can’t be blamed for that alone, however; international trade of gems and precious metals dropped overall during that period.

Finally, Canadians love imported food items as well! What foreign foods do we crave? Chocolate, bread, crustaceans, and kale all top the Canadian agricultural import lists. Kale, in particular, has seen an explosion in growth — Canada is leading the world in importing the leafy greens.

One food item we’re craving less and less of, however, is imported fruit juice — demand for foreign-produced juices has fallen.

With our thirst for imports, Canada is prime for anyone looking to get into the import business — which is something a customs broker can help with!