Canadian Market Internet Usage Summary

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.




Canadian Internet Market - Digital Device Use Breakdown 2019

More and more Canadians are using the internet for instant messaging:

Compare 32% in 2016 - Up to 47% in 2019

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.

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About This Report

CIRA developed Canada’s Internet Factbook through an online survey conducted by The Strategic Counsel. The purpose of CIRA’s research is to identify trends in Canadian internet use. A total of 2,050 adult Canadian internet users (18+) were surveyed in March 2019, and the sample is proportionate-to-population for age, province and gender.