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Smartphone adoption in Canada hits 55%, and usage maturation has evolved

18 March, 2014



TORONTO –– Smartphone adoption in Canada has grown to 55 percent, with usage activities by location evolving and becoming more defined, search marketing agency Catalyst announced today, citing research conducted by Catalyst Canada, together with GroupM Next.
The research provides a fresh view of smartphone adoption in Canada and a deeper understanding of behaviours, activities by location, and perceptions across English- and French-speaking users. (Download: “Acting on the Evolution of the Canadian Smartphone User” infographic and whitepaper)
While chatter debating the year of mobile or its value in an integrated marketing strategy may never settle, the research suggests the mobile revolution in Canada is complete – half of smartphone owners have owned one for at least two years, and 14 percent of users have owned a smartphone for more than five years.
“For brands and marketers, the story of smartphone growth is no longer about market penetration. It is about where and how consumers use them,” said Jeff Lancaster, CEO, Catalyst Canada. “We need to get further away from the notion of mobile marketing as a silo and understand that marketing, today, includes mobile, includes traditional, and includes digital. In this broader picture, brands can be more meaningful and valuable to consumers by better understanding the settings in which they’re using smartphones, and understanding the information consumers are seeking and activities they’re doing at that time. Brands can then implement strategies that more closely associate their business with those activities, increase their visibility, and ultimately, become the customer’s solution.”

Breakdown of activities in three key smartphone usage locations

Whether it is low-involvement tasks or more-involved activities, there are three key areas in which people use smartphones. Examples include:

• On the Go
o 41% of consumers use a smartphone as their primary device to check Twitter; of those users, 40% do it on the go
o 36% of consumers use a smartphone to find a new restaurant; of those users, 60% do it on the go


• At Home
o 10% of consumers use a smartphone to pay a bill; of those users, 73% do it at home
o 6% of consumers use a smartphone to purchase products; of those users, 67% do it at home

• At Work
o 30% of consumers use a smartphone to read emails; of those users, 21% do it at work
o 23% of consumers use a smartphone to check bank accounts; of those users, 12% do it at work

Behaviours and perceptions also paint a clearer picture of today’s smartphone user and enable brands to develop smarter strategies:

• Of smartphone users searching for product information, 65% do it while standing in line, 65% do it while eating, and 60% search for info during a commute
• Common frustrations among users include: load times, poor mobile websites, the need for too much typing, poor local business information, lack of product features available, poor mobile sites or functionality
• Consumers are twice as unhappy with brand queries as with general information queries
• Being featured in an app store and word-of-mouth are top factors that influence smartphone users to download an app
• Smartphone usage behaviours and sentiment among French- and English-speaking users are quite similar to each other. Interesting to note – French-speaking smartphone users are half as likely to have frustration typing on smartphones as English-speaking users.
The research was conducted by way of survey of 1,100 smartphone owners in Canada, both English- and French-speaking. Expanded data and additional insights are available in the published report and infographic.

For more information, contact:
Cindy Kerber Spellman  

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