Broadband and Video Are Booming in Canada: eMarketer

Global online video leaders

OCTOBER 1, 2009 – Canada has some of the world’s most committed Internet users, who spend 45 hours and more online in one month alone. They are heavy users of social networks and love online video. And Internet penetration is growing faster than the general population.

eMarketer estimates more than 23 million people in Canada will go online at least once per month in 2009�nearly 70% of the population. By 2013, three-quarters of the country will be regular Internet users. In the same period, the overall population is projected to grow by less than 1% each year, according to the US Census Bureau’s International Database.

This high level of penetration puts Canada seventh in the world, behind the Scandinavian countries, South Korea and Japan, but ahead of Australia, the UK and the US.

“Data has shown younger people are most active and engaged with all things digital,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Canada Online: Users and Usage.” “However, there is plenty of room for growth in the senior Internet population.”

“Marketers should recognize that boomers are rapidly aging into tomorrow’s seniors and will represent a lost opportunity for those who do not figure out how to attract and engage them online,” she added.

More than nine in 10 Internet households in the country have broadband access, giving them the speed to take advantage of bandwidth-intensive content such as online video. In fact, comScore declared Canada the global leader in online video viewing in February 2009. Based on its Video Metrix data, 21 million people in Canada (88% of the total Internet population) watched more than 3.1 billion videos online that month.

Mobile phone ownership in Canada is on the rise, though mobile devices are not as important as they are in the US. Almost two-thirds (64.7%) of consumers in the country own a mobile phone, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), and 25% of mobile users have a smartphone, according to J.D. Power and Associates. In Q1 2009, Nielsen reported that 21% of mobile phone owners accessed the Internet from their device.

Despite strong consumer interest in smartphones, however, J.D. Power found wireless users were not as interested in subscribing to data packages. While some respondents cited cost as the issue, more said they had no need for Internet access on their phone.

“The attitudes of Canada’s mobile users, and the general population’s high priority on privacy, should give marketers pause,” cautioned Ms. Phillips. “For now, resources could be put to better use elsewhere in marketing budgets.”

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