Increased smartphone usage is a global trend, but it’s of particular note in Canada, which has one of the highest rates of smartphone use (per population) in the world. Currently, there are nearly 30 million mobile internet users in Canada, which equates to some 75% of the population, and it’s a trend that’s only expected to grow, especially since the country boasts one of the best internet infrastructures in the world and smartphone prices continue to fall. As may be expected, smartphone use is most prevalent in the younger generation; most ten year olds have a smartphone, and 98% of the 18 – 34 age group regularly use an internet-connected mobile.
But what are they, and the rest of the population, doing on their devices? Let’s take a look.
Canadians are clearly a group that loves to be entertained, wherever they are. Though many homes still own a TV, the rate of television ownership is dropping among the younger demographics who instead opt to catch their favourite shows and movies on their devices. YouTube, Amazon Prime, Tubi, and Netflix all rank highly among the most popular apps in Canada. Whether it’s on a bus, on lunch breaks, or even in the home, Canadians are using their devices to watch the latest and best video entertainment.
It’s not just passive entertainment like video apps that Canadians enjoy on their smartphone. They’re invested in interactive forms of entertainment, too. According to Newzoo, around half of Canadians regularly use their device to play games on their phones, such as strategy games (like Clash of Clans), sports games, and slots at wildz. The popularity of smartphone-based games in Canada is evidenced by the range in age of the players; they’re played by 18-year-olds all the way up to those in retirement age. Indeed, according to Newzoo’s study, players aged between 45 and 64 make up some 20% of the market.
One of the biggest drivers behind the rapid ascent of smartphone usage is the ability to stay in touch with anyone, no matter where you are. Apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Zoom are among the most popular in the country, and social media apps also have a heavy presence. In the past, Facebook was nearly always on top, but things have changed in recent years. Today, TikTok, the video app favoured by Generation Z, is the most popular social network app in the country, with Instagram not too far behind.
According to a study commissioned by the Canadian government, Canadians are increasingly staying out of the kitchen, with fewer people than ever before taking the time to prepare their own meals. While this is partly driven by longer working hours that eat into the time that would historically be spent in the kitchen, the shift is largely down to the convenience of the food delivery apps available on smartphones. DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Skip The Dishes all feature in the top twenty downloaded apps in the country. Also, it should come as a surprise to no-one that Tim Hortons always ranks highly on the list of popular apps!
Getting Work Done
Canadians are increasingly likely to use their devices for work purposes, too, with Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, and wealth-building apps (such as cryptocurrency trading and investment apps) all ranking highly.
If one thing is clear, it’s that Canadians are engaged with their devices. With smartphone ownership expected to rise by around one million per year in the next half-decade, it seems that the future of how the population will have fun, stay in touch, and work will be in the hands of those little handheld devices.