Canadian Internet Use Continues to Grow

eMarketer predicts Canada will post double-digit compound annual growth in internet users through 2004. Electronic banking has shown the greatest surge in popularity among online activities.

By Nevin Cohen

According to recently released government data from Statistics Canada, more than 5.8 million Canadian households, representing 49% of the nation�s households, had at least one person regularly using the internet from home in 2001. This represented a 23% jump from 2000, when 4.7 million households reported using the internet. Some 7.2 million Canadian households — 60% of the household population — had one or more members who used the internet regularly from any location.

Based on data from the International Telecommunication Union and comparative estimates from several research firms, eMarketer estimates that 14.9 million individuals currently use the internet in Canada. With a forecasted 13.9% compound annual growth rate, the Canadian internet user population should grow to 21.4 million by 2004.

As in much of the world, the most common use of the internet in Canada is for e-mail and general browsing. However, as the following data from Statistics Canada illustrates, the activities that had the greatest growth since 2000 were electronic banking, the search for government information, online gaming and purchases of goods and services.

Online banking and e-commerce will continue to increase in popularity as Canadian internet users upgrade their connections to high-speed broadband. Indeed, the Statistics Canada survey found strong growth in cable internet connections since 2000. In 2001, an estimated 30% of all Canadian households, or 1.75 million households, accessed the internet regularly from home through a cable connection.

Nevin Cohen is a Senior Analyst with eMarketer. You can reach him at [email protected] with comments, question