Canadians Are Frequent Connectors

Many Canadians log on, log off, log on, log off, and log on again, according to research from The Yankee Group that finds 48 percent of the nation’s users access the Internet at least three times per day. Furthermore, 71 percent of those spend at least 15 minutes online during each session, and 5 percent of Canadians report they stay connected to the Internet throughout the day.

Most Canadian Internet users are accessing via a broadband connection: the Yankee Group found that DSL and cable modem subscribers eclipsed dial-up for the first time in 2002. Once connected, Statistics Canada found that while e-mail remained the Internet activity used by most of the regularly surfing households, e-banking usage has more than doubled, and online shopping has nearly tripled since 1998.

Activities of Regular Usage Households
Activity 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
E-mail 85.6% 91.7% 93.3% 94.7% 95.2%
Electronic banking 22.9% 27.7% 36.6% 44.4% 51.0%
Purchasing goods/services 10.9% 19.0% 23.8% 26.0% 30.5%
Medical/health information 54.5% 54.2% 57.1% 61.8% 63.9%
Formal education/training 29.9% 32.0% 47.3% 47.0% 47.3%
Government information 36.4% 44.1% 47.1% 52.5% 56.7%
Search for employment NA NA 30.5% 33.2% 35.0%
General browsing 78.1% 84.7% 90.1% 91.0% 89.6%
Playing games 34.3% 42.7% 45.3% 50.1% 50.0%
Chat groups 25.4% 26.2% 27.4% 28.0% 27.2%
Obtaining/saving music NA 27.1% 44.3% 47.9% 47.3%
Listening to radio NA 17.5% 23.2% 25.3% 24.0%
Find sports-related information NA NA 43.2% 45.3% 46.3%
Financial information NA NA 46.1% 46.8% 45.7%
View the news NA NA 50.8% 53.8% 52.9%
Travel information/arrangements NA NA 54.6% 56.3% 59.1%
Other Internet services 11.6% 34.7% 44.1% 43.3% 48.1%
Source: Statistics Canada

Cell phone ownership is on the upswing in Canada, according to findings from NFO CFgroup, particularly among Web-enabled phones. Incremental growth was measured from November 2001 when 57 percent of adult Internet users owned a cell phone, and 8 percent owned a Web-enabled phone, to February 2003 when 62 percent owned a mobile device, and 12 percent surfed the Web from the handheld.

David Stark, public affairs director of NFO CFgroup, observes that as more online content and services becomes available on mobile handsets, usage will grow. “The main reason people acquire these phones is for e-mail access, but an increasing number say they use them mainly for entertainment or information-driven needs, such as access to directories, news and financial and business information,” Stark commented.

The February 2003 NFO CFgroup survey of more than 1,000 adult Internet users also found that PDA cell phones appeal to 19 percent — up from 15 percent in November 2001 — and 30 percent are interested in videophones. Among those that are interested in either device, 70 percent would like them to be Web-enabled.

Participants in the Yankee Group study revealed that the initial cost of their wireless phone or device was the main reason they selected their current carrier. Once they choose a carrier, 52.4 percent said that improved coverage would be the main reason they would stay loyal to their provider, but less than half — 24.6 percent of respondents — indicated that a decreased service price would be their major reason for remaining loyal.

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