Canadian duty free sales up 7.44% in 2016


The year-end numbers in Canadian duty free were mostly positive, with land border and airport sales combined totaling $563 million in 2016, a 7.44% increase from 2015’s sales of $524 million. January-December sales at land-border crossings increased 4.93% in 2016 over 2015, to a total of $156.4 million. Canadian airport sales over the year increased 8% to $407 million.

Although the December 2016 land border sales were slightly lower than December 2015 at –1.34%, dropping to $11.8 million, the airports more than made up for it with an increase of +15% to $38 million.

Land border sales by region

While most regions saw an increase in January-December sales in 2016 over 2015, that was not the case for the Prairie region. Year-end sales figures show a decrease of approximately 5%, to $8.8 million. December sales for this region also show a drop, to $606,000.

The Pacific and Ontario regions both showed a year-end increase but slight December decrease. The Pacific region sales for December dropped 1.42% to $1.8 million, but January – December sales in the region increased 3.76% to $24 million.  In Ontario, December sales fell 1.7% to $7.3 million, but year-end figures jumped 6.43% over 2015, to $90 million.

The Atlantic/Quebec region was the only one to see an increase in December, to $2 million for an increase of 2.73%. Regional sales from January – December 2016 saw an increase of 4.8%, totaling $33 million. 

Based on December sales, the following are the top categories in Canadian land border sales, from highest to lowest.

Alcohol (liquor, liqueur, wine, coolers)

Tobacco, Cigars, Loose Tobacco

Perfume, Cosmetics, Skincare


Beer (beer, malt-based coolers)

Jewelry, Watches, Clocks

Accessories (purses, wallets, sunglasses, etc.)

Clothing (including hats, fur, leather)


Office and Travel Supplies

Glassware, crystal, china, figurines, porcelain



Electronics, Cameras, Binoculars, etc.