Canadians are spending more time online in 2019 – shopping, interacting with governments, logging onto social networks, reaching out to family and friends, and searching for jobs and soulmates.
Almost one-in-five say they haven’t gone more than eight hours without getting their online fix and only 15% report being off the grid for a week or more in the last year.
More than half of all Canadians (51%) are still using desktops and laptops when they head online, but the use of mobile is growing across all age categories, with 48% using a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to access the internet.
Even more boomers (55+) are surfing the web using from mobile devices – 57% this year versus 44% in 2017 and only 24% in 2015.
The most common online activities include email, banking, accessing social media, catching up on news/current events and shopping, but the time Canadians spend instant messaging has increased.
More and more Canadians are using the internet for instant messaging:
The landscape around how we are getting our news is also changing. While more than half of internet users still visit news and media sites, four out of five Canadians say they’re keeping up to date with current events through social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Websites matter to Canadians. In 2019, 67% say they’re more likely to do business with a company that has a website and almost half (49%) say they’re more inclined to donate to a not-for-profit organization with an online presence.
As consumers become savvier and websites more sophisticated, online purchases of household goods are increasing. In 2019, 51% of Canadians made an online purchase for their home, compared to just 26% in 2014. Notably, purchases of food or food delivery jumped from 14% in 2016 to 31% in 2019.
Almost half of those surveyed (46%) said they purchased a product or service online using their mobile device – up from just 12% in 2014.
In general, internet users are more at ease doing their online business with Canadian retailers or governments than U.S sites. Three-quarters report they are comfortable making a purchase on a Canadian retail website, whereas only 55% say they are comfortable making a purchase on a U.S. retail website.
The vast majority of people are familiar with mobile payment or digital wallet services, and their comfort with using them is higher in 2019 (32%) than in 2016 (23%), but down slightly from 37% in 2018.
Almost half of Alberta residents (49%) say that they know how to use a digital wallet service, whereas not even one-third of Manitobans (31% say they do.
When it comes to accessing government services, most people (68%) prefer to do so online, though more than one-third of residents in Saskatchewan (38%) and PEI (36%) say they still want to connect with public sector services in person, via phone or mail.
Canadians are increasingly comfortable with smart home technology. Bluetooth speakers are becoming more popular with 42% of Canadians – and more than half of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan residents – reporting they have one in their homes. One in five Canadians say they have a voice-activated assistant like the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple’s HomePod, compared to just 13% of Quebec residents. Albertans are most likely to have a connected home security/surveillance camera (26% versus 15% overall).
Just 13% of internet users admit to intentionally accessing or streaming pirated film or TV programs online and of those who have, most (71%) say they would pay for reasonably priced, readily available content.