Only One-In-Five Canadians View Themselves As Expert Or Very Skilled With Technology: Ipsos Reid Survey

p class=”smallhead”>Vast Majority Of Canadians Feel They Are Barely Keeping Up To Technology, Or Are Falling Behind

March 14, 2007 Vancouver, BC – In partnership with The Massive Technology Show being held in Vancouver March 28, Ipsos Reid launched a new study through our ongoing Interactive Reid Report, with the objective of understanding the role technology plays in the lives of Canadians. The results showed that the vast majority of Canadians do not consider themselves to be an expert with technology and many feel the need to play catch-up just to keep pace with technological changes. To help them stay informed on high-tech issues, Canadians turn to two non-technical information sources – friends and family as well as newspapers.

Only a small number of Canadians consider themselves to be an expert with technology despite the significant role technology plays in today’s society. Specifically, when it comes to experience with the Internet, only one-in-three Canadians claim to be an expert or very skilled (32%), four-in-ten say they are fairly skilled (43%), and one-in-four feel they are not very or not at all skilled (25%). Even with the rate at which technology is evolving and consumers are adopting technology, the percentage of Canadians who view themselves as expert or very skilled with the Internet has increased only marginally by 5% (from 27%) since 2001.

Results are even less optimistic for technology in general. Only one-in-five view themselves as an expert or very skilled (22%), four-in-ten are fairly skilled (43%), and one-third are not very or not at all skilled (34%). Not surprisingly, men, younger adults, households with higher income, and those who have attained higher levels of education view themselves as more knowledgeable about technology, but the gap with other segments is not significant.

Though some Canadians claim to be experts in the high-tech space, the vast majority feel they need to work hard just to keep pace with technological changes. A very small percentage of Canadians feel significantly ahead of the curve (8%) and fewer than one-in-four say they are ahead of the game but have to work to keep up to technology (36%). Further, one-third feel they are barely keeping up to speed (34%) and one-fifth is falling significantly behind (19%). Even among self-professed ‘experts’, only 68% of this group feel they are significantly ahead of the curve, while 32% feel that they need to work just to keep up with all the changes.

Surprisingly, Canadians utilize two traditional non-digital sources of information to keep up-to-date with innovative technology news. Specifically, one-quarter of Canadians (25%) turn to friends and family as their number one source of information. At a close second, newspaper articles are preferred by 23% of people. Other sources include magazines and trade publications, online consumer reports/blogs, retail outlets, technology company websites and trade shows.

Steve Mossop, President of the Western region for Ipsos says, “Despite the massive technological advances of the past seven years and the significant increase in online access, high-speed and the number of hours Canadians are spending on various activities online, Canadians are still feeling like technology has run further ahead of them, and most feel grossly inadequate in terms of their competencies in this space.” He goes on to say, “Rather than relying on the Internet itself, it is surprising that Canadians lean towards non-digital sources of family, friends and newspapers to get the latest information on technology. This shows that Canadians are still grounded for the most part in the non-digital world, and they still have a lot of learning to do.”

The Massive Technology Show which will be held on March 28, 2007 in Vancouver, is the largest trade show of its kind in Canada and is a great source for technology information. Survey results show that nearly three-in-ten Canadians view trade shows as an excellent or good source of information for keeping them up-to-date on technology (28%). Technology experts feel even more passionate about trade shows as more than half view them as an excellent or good source (54%).

“The Massive Technology Show is an excellent way for Canadians to bridge the gap between their current level of knowledge of technology and what the leading-edge technological innovations in the market are,” says Danielle Vlemmiks Tortyna, Director of Operations for Massive. “It is crucial to the growth and sustainability of all businesses for people to understand what’s out there and how they can take advantage of it. At Massive, we highlight the best of the new technologies in a practical, user-friendly format.”

When asked to indicate their favourite technology device of all time, more than one-third of Canadians chose the computer (35%), followed by the television (16%) and cellular phone (15%). Access to the Internet plays a key role in which device Canadians choose as their favourite. Those without access to the Internet or rely on the Internet less (spending less than an hour online per week) tend to prefer the television over the computer as their all-time favourite technology device.

Regardless of the inadequacies Canadians feel towards their knowledge of technology, the Internet has truly integrated itself into the daily lives of Canadians. More than one-third of Canadians agree that using the Internet is an important part of their daily routine (35%). Some are motivated by fear, as 26% agree that if they don’t find out more about the Internet they will be left behind. Evidently, a few Canadians are incredibly dedicated to the Internet and strongly rely on technology – to the point where a small percentage of Canadians agree that they ‘don’t know how people before me lived without the Internet’ (16%) and a smaller minority agree that they prefer to talk to people via email than by any other method (13%).

The Canadian [email protected] Reid Report is the largest, most comprehensive and authoritative source of its kind about quarterly Internet trends in Canada. The results are based on two separate data collection instruments. In the first, 1,000 web users from Ipsos Reid’s Canadian Internet Panel are surveyed online. Results are complemented by a further 1,000 interviews via telephone with Canadian adults in order to verify results of the panel, and track issues among non-Internet users.

Telephone interviews for this release were conducted from January 24 to 31, 2007 while the online data was collected from January 25 to 30, 2007. These data are statistically weighted to reflect the population proportions of regular online users by online expertise and regional distribution. With a national sample of 1,000, one can say with 95% certainty that the overall results are within a maximum of � 3.1 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire population of Canada’s regular online users been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger for subgroupings of the survey population.

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader, the country’s leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid’s marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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