Internet usage in Canada - Statistics & Facts

With over 30 million internet users, Canada counts among the biggest online markets worldwide. Digital audiences in Canada are projected to grow to 32 million online users in 2022, reaching almost 85 percent of the Canadian population. In 2018, 88 percent of online adults used desktop or laptop computer to access the internet, while smartphones had a 72 percent usage rate. Desktops and laptops still accounted for the majority of online traffic in Canada, but the country is on the verge of change, with mobile and tablet devices making strong gains in digital traffic. Canada ranks among the countries with the fastest average mobile internet speeds worldwide.

In 2017, weekly online time amounted to 21.8 hours per week, up from 19.6 weekly hours in 2015. During a March 2018 survey, 73 percent of responding Canadian online users said that online banking was a typical activity for them. E-mail, social media and news were also among the most common ways to spend time online. When looking at mobile device usage, it was found that messaging, maps and video are the most popular mobile activities in Canada. Canadians also frequently use their mobile device while shopping in-store, usually to read product details or to compare prices online.

When talking about internet usage, it is hard to imagine a digital world without social media. The same holds true for Canada – overall, Canada has an active social media penetration rate of 68 percent. As of May 2018, 80 percent of internet users in Canada accessed Facebook. Other popular social networks in Canada include LinkedIn, GooglePlus and Instagram, although none of these have the reach of Facebook. During a survey of social media usage frequency in Canada, 79 percent of respondents stated that they used Facebook on a daily basis. Other social networks with a strong daily usage rate were Instagram, Snapchat and Reddit.

Online shopping is also very popular, with 78 percent of internet users in Canada having visited an online retail store and 57 percent having purchased a product or service online. In total, there were over 26 million digital buyers in Canada in 2018. Over half of Canadian online shoppers shopped domestically as well as cross-border, compared to only 27 percent of U.S. online shoppers who did the same. Retail e-commerce sales in Canada amounted to 22 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 and are projected to increase to almost 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.

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