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Digital Lifestyles: A Breakdown of Canadian Consumers Online

The latest comScore report is in, and Canada, once again, is home to some of the most active Internet users in the world. For years, Canadians held the number one slot for most time spent online, and in 2012, they slipped to the number two slot, spending an average of 41 hours online each month. However, Canadians still lead the world in monthly page visits and views per visitor.

It’s obvious that the Internet is very popular among Canadians and that trend is only growing stronger. As a business, you can really benefit from all that time your customers spend online. The key is understanding what they do and where they spend that time, so you know how to digitally position your business.

Who’s online?

Counting traditional PC usage, there is a fifty-fifty split between genders. But looking at mobile devices, there is the slightest shift, 49% male and 51% female.

The largest user group by age is 35- to 54-year-olds, comprising 32% of the total online population. Second are the 18- to 34-year-olds at 27%. Individuals under 18 account for 22%, and the smallest population is seniors 55 and older with 19%.

The group with the largest household income bracket, $100,000+ annually, comprises the largest segment of the online population at 34%. The next largest segment makes $40,000 – $74,999 annually and comprises 30% of the total.

Ontario leads the country in online users with 39% of their population. Quebec comes in second with 22%. British Columbia ranks fourth at 14%, and the Atlantic region comes in last with only 7% per capita.

What do Canadians do online?

Canadians watch a lot of online video. In terms of hours, the average viewer spends 24.8 hours each month watching videos, which breaks down to about 291 videos watched per month per viewer. These numbers are a close second to the United Kingdom.

Business Insight: With such a large, active audience, creating a video about your business can be a smart way to reach Canadian consumers.

Canadians hang out on social networking sites. This year alone, Canadians clicked in with over 23.9 billion unique visits. Facebook leads the pack in terms of total users, but has the lowest growth rate at 8%. Pinterest, on the other hand, has the lowest number of users and a staggeringly high, 792% year-over-year growth rate.

Business Insight: With so many Canadians spending time on Facebook, running targeted display ads on the network may be a good way to reach new customers.


Canada has the fastest growth rate in the world for smartphone adoption, and boasts the third-highest penetration rate in the world. In 2012 alone, smartphone penetration grew 17% and it totals 62% of the total mobile phone population.

Business Insight: Increased smartphone usage means you have a way to reach more customers when they’re out and about. Smartphone coupons are a great way to get people in your doors.

Canadians are sharing their lives on the visual web. The fastest-growing social media platforms among Canadians are Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. The common thread among all these networks is photo sharing.

Business Insight: A social profile on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram is a great place to show off your business’s latest products and happenings. Not sure which one to try? Ask your customers what they’re using because that’s where you want to be, too.

Canadian business is growing online. In 2012, e-commerce increased 10% for a total of $22.3 billion in sales transactions. With this percentage, the quantity of sales increased 17% to over 100 million total transactions.

Business Insight: Consider adding an e-commerce component to your business website. With consumers spending so much time online, why not give them the chance to purchase your products or services while they’re browsing?

The age of the Digital Lifestyle is upon us, and every year, consumers grow increasingly adept at using Internet technologies for a variety of activities, from entertainment to finance to shopping. Catering to these emerging digital lifestyle trends can help your business solidify a favourable place among existing customers as well as help you attract new ones.