A lot of things can change in three years. In 2012, the average Canadian spent less than 3 hours on their smartphone. It was a decline from previous years and, something researchers concluded resulted from Canadians “maturing as mobile users.”
Fast forward to 2015 and Canadians had become addicted to their mobile screens. Not only was the country spending more time on devices than Americans but Canadians led the world on most times spent with gadgets.
Canada has since lost that title to China but researchers maintain Canadians still spend more time than they should on their devices. So, what’s the country doing online spending more than 5 hours using their phones every day?
85% on Apps
Canadians spend 85% of their smartphone time on Google Play Store or iOS apps. This is on par with US mobile users but slightly more than the 83% spent by UK-based mobile phone users. When broken further, Canadians spend more than 50% of the time on social media or gaming apps, with only a small fraction on reading apps.
This may soon change, however, as more and more online service replace game store apps with web apps. The casino industry, for example, no longer fancies downloadable mobile apps. Playing online casino games is now a web affair. No downloading needed. Simply search your favorite casino on your mobile web and that’s it.
The online shopping industry is also following a similar path. Gone are the days when shopping sites were competing on who develops the most beautiful mobile app. While most companies have apps, they’re putting a lot of focus on web apps.
Of course, this boils down to changing consumer needs. While people had no issues filling their smartphone’s storage space with apps, they would rather shop on web apps nowadays.
26 Hours Streaming per Week
This may come as a surprise to some, but senior Canadian citizens spend the highest amount of time streaming videos online. While seniors stream movies mostly on TV, they’re increasingly adopting smaller screens.
Millennials are the most likely generation to stream TV on smartphones. They're also the leading group in cutting cable in place of online TVs. Again, millennials lead generation 'Z' in streaming video games.
Overall, 10% of Canadians watch TV fully online. Streaming on smartphones lags behind TV streaming by some distance. But when it comes to watching video content in general, the gap is significantly reduced. More than 50% of the population that admit to watching online videos regularly do it on their smartphones.
50% Online Shopping
50% of Canadians who shop online do it using mobile devices. The other half use laptops and desktops. This is significant considering that about two-thirds of the country use laptops and desktops to access the Internet most of the time.
Still on mobile shopping, half of online shoppers use their mobile devices to search for goods. This is probably the same half that shop on their mobile devices. But what do Canadians buy on their mobile phones?
You'd think there is a difference between what people buy using laptops and what's bought on mobile devices. However, there's not. What some are usually buying on their laptops, others are buying on their mobile devices. It doesn't matter whether it is electronics, homes, clothes automobile or purchasing airplane tickets. Most things sold online can be purchased using a mobile device.
Just two years ago, 68% of Canadians were using their mobile phones for banking purposes. The figures have now jumped and three-quarters of the country's smartphone owners bank on their mobile devices. Surprisingly, nearly half the country was banking at ABM machines in 2004.
The research, done by the Canadian Bankers Association, however, found out that the majority of the country still prefers to bank on their laptops and desktops. Just 23% of the entire country bank on mobile devices while the rest either use traditional means or desktops.
20% Job Hunting
This is yet another good use of smartphones by Canadians. Because no one sends emails as a way of searching for jobs anymore, using smartphones to look for jobs may be the easiest way to do it. 20% of the country’s mobile users hunt for jobs on their phones, up for 17% back in 2016. What’s more, up to 600 job interviews in the country were done through cell phones in 2017.
Closely related to jobs, Canadians mobile users also use their phones to enroll in job training and learn new skills. 6% of users, in fact, use smartphones to create new content like social media posts, YouTube posts and take photographs.
Of course, mobile phones are significantly limited in what they can do compared to desktops but it’s intriguing they do some of the jobs done by desktops equally well. For simple tasks like photo editing, video trimming and creating social media posts, mobile phones are good at it.
And the Winner: 92% Email Reading
Nine out of 10 Canadians that own a smartphone use their devices to check emails regularly. At 92%, reading emails is done much more frequently than social media at 59% or watching videos at 36%. The fact that it takes a couple of minutes to check emails may be the reasons why this is the biggest use for smartphones in the country.
Smartphones are also easier to access than desktops. You can carry your phone anywhere. And while laptops are portable, they're just not as convenient at smartphones. Most people also reply to emails straight from their phones, even for professional emails.
Every day in Canada, smartphone owners spend at least one hour on their mobile devices. More than half the country spend over 5 hours on smartphones, mostly because they can multitask. Canadians do a lot of things on their phones.
Surprisingly, reading emails is the most common thing among smartphone users. Banking is the second common use of mobile devices online. Accessing social media and shopping come close. Watching videos, online chatting and hunting for jobs are also popular with Canadian device operators.