Canadian Net Demographics Quickly Shifting

[Toronto, CANADA] While early adopters have dominated the Canadian
Internet scene until now, a new influx of mainstream consumers are
about to change the rules of the game.

So say David Ellis, president of Omnia
Communications
, and Duncan McKie, president of POLLARA, in A View from the
Living Room: the Broadband Internet as a Mass Market
.

The new report is based on extensive research combining demographic
data about onliners with indepth interviews of company executives and
five-year penetration forecasts.

The report is supported by analysis based on the authors’ wide
experience working with clients in all areas of conventional and new
media.

Results of the research include a breakdown of onliners into four
major segments, and argues that the current boom in the Internet
population is going to create as many headaches as opportunities for
service and content providers.

“While service providers have previously targeted what we call
the ‘Savvies’ and ‘Trendies’ — the two technology-savvy groups —
it’s the ‘Newbies’ and ‘Mainstreamers’ that will boost the demand for
user-friendly broadband applications centred in the household,” said
POLLARA’s McKie.

Other key findings include:

  • Canada is way ahead of the U.S. in the deployment and adoption of
    next-generation broadband services. By the end of this year nearly
    17% of Canadian online homes will have a broadband connection
    compared to 8.6% in the U.S.

  • 80% of North American households will be online by 2005 with the
    holdouts finding themselves hooked up to various IP-based platforms
    anyway, even for basic services like TV and telephone.

  • The number of households using a broadband connection to the
    Internet will overtake the number of homes using a plain-old dial-up
    connection by 2005.

  • Ironically, the very success of the cable industry has helped
    raise awareness of and demand for DSL, the telco high-speed
    technology.

  • Just as women are getting on the Internet bigtime, their male
    counterparts are now embracing broadband technologies nearly twice as
    quickly.

“Contrary to the myth of how the Digital Divide may be closing, the
newest onliners are not under-privileged and under-educated, but
middle-class consumers with disposable income,” said Omnia’s Ellis.

“The Newbies and Mainstreamers, who now form almost two-thirds of
Canada’s adult online
population, are the least comfortable with digital technologies of
all kinds. They’ll need a whole new level of user-friendliness and
customer care from online service and content providers”.

Omnia Communications is a new media research and consulting firm
tracking consumer
behavior, technology developments, business strategies, and
regulatory affairs for high-tech, media, and communications firms.

POLLARA is Canada’s largest domestically-owned public opinion and
market research firm, with offices nationwide.

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