87% CANADIAN households are connected to the internet

Internet access, speed, price and usage

Canada continues to be one of the most wired countries in the world. With nearly 87 per cent of Canadian households connected to the Internet, Canada ranked 16th globally for Internet penetration in 2013. This is up from 80 per cent in 2010. Among its G8 counterparts, Canada ranks second in Internet penetration, behind the United Kingdom.

Canada ranked 13th out of 92 countries on the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society’s Internet Monitor access index. The index ranks countries across a series of indicators, including adoption, speed, quality and price of Internet, as well as more generic factors like literacy and gender equity.

Global Internet penetration

Global Internet penetration

Source: Wikipedia. Most recent data available.

Canada is one of the most connected countries on the planet. Connectivity within Canada is not equally dispersed, however, and there are several persisting divides that exist across the country.

There is not an equitable distribution of higher-speed broadband across Canada and there is a wide disparity in access to 25-100 Mbps connections between provinces (with British Columbia and Alberta leading the pack). Nunavut has particular challenges in terms of higher-speed services.

Generally speaking, there is an urban/rural divide in terms of connectivity, which becomes even more striking at higher connection speeds. 77per cent of large population centres in Canada have access to download speeds of over 100 Mbps, while only 18 per cent of rural areas can expect the same service.

The Government of Canada’s Digital 150 plan recognizes this challenge – including a $305 million investment to bring high-speed, 5 megabits per second to 280,000 households in rural and remote areas.

Among its G8 counterparts, Canada ranks second in Internet penetration, behind the United Kingdom Among its G8 counterparts, Canada ranks second in Internet penetration, behind the United Kingdom

There is an urban/rural divide in connectivity, which becomes more striking at higher connection speeds There is an urban/rural divide in connectivity, which becomes more striking at higher connection speeds

Canadians are generally satisfied with the level of services they can access and are pleased with the data services included in their plans Canadians are generally satisfied with the level of services they can access and are pleased with the data services included in their plans

Households with home Internet access

Households with home Internet access

Most recent data available

Broadband availability at a glance

Broadband availability at a glance

Source: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Communications Monitoring Report 2014: Telecommunications Sector

The Canadian telecom market continues to evolve and shift based on new technologies and market demand. CIRA’s tracking research shows that Canadians are generally satisfied with the level of services they can access and that they are pleased with the data services included in their monthly plans.

There is a degree of confusion among Canadians when it comes to their home Internet services and nearly half of Canadians polled by CIRA did not know how much data was included in their monthly plan.

Of those who were aware of their data limits, 76 per cent reported satisfaction in the amount of data that their package included (only 7 per cent were dissatisfied).

Canadians' satisfaction with home Internet connection speed

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Data included in monthly home Internet package, self-reported by number of people in household

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014. Note: click to interact with this chart.

Canadians' satisfaction with amount of data in home Internet plan

Canadians with more than 200GB of data included in their month plans were very likely to be satisfied with their service.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Perception of value for money of home Internet package

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tracks broadband speed and cost by member nations. Canada’s ranking has steadily declined in OECD reports for more than a decade, with minor improvements in the past few years (ranking 23rd in 2012 and 19th in 2013). In 2014, Canada remained steady in 19th position, with minor improvements in speed.

Broadband speed and price are important to both the end user (in terms of cheaper, faster service) and Canada’s digital economy, as they comprise a nation’s ‘digital currency’ making it a more attractive place for start-ups and investment.

Internet speeds and costs around the world

Source: OECD and Teligen

Internet Use in Canada

Canadian Internet use is shifting from desktop Internet to mobile devices. According to ComScore, Canada no longer leads the world in average monthly pages per visitor on desktop connections, with Brazil notably now leading in this category (reaching 3,818, up from 2,345 previous). Average monthly hours per visitor from personal computers in Canada also declined to 34.6 from 41.3 the year previous.

Canadian Internet users shift to mobile.

Three out of four Canadians own smartphones, according to comScore. Almost half of Canadians’ time online is now spent on mobile devices.

Global online Internet activity and engagement (from personal computers)

Geography Average Monthly Pages per Visitor Average Monthly Unique Visitors (000) Average Monthly Hours per Visitor Average Monthly Visits per Visitor
Flag of Brazil Brazil 3,818 66,472 32.5 73
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 3,269 39,272 36.0 81
Flag of the United States United States 3,162 196,498 36.2 82
Flag of France France 3,026 42,604 30.4 76
Flag of Canada Canada 3,001 25,181 34.6 88
Flag of Russia Russia 2,590 66,888 32.6 65
Flag of Italy Italy 2,473 30,105 25.4 56
Flag of China China 2,330 353,368 22.9 61
Worldwide 2,238 1,619,641 24.2 58
Flag of Germany Germany 2,015 53,254 20.1 52
Flag of Japan Japan 1,898 73,656 19.2 49

Source: comScore, Canada Digital Future in Focus, 2014

What Canadians are doing online

As Canadian Internet use has shifted to mobile devices, and the uses of mobile broadband continue to expand, Canadians are opting to use different devices for different activities. Social media is the top activity performed on portable devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, and represented a major use of all platforms in 2014. Tablets have overtaken desktop computers as the preferred gaming platform.


What Canadians are doing online

Source: .CA Tracking Research, March 2014. Note: Email is nearly universally used of all platforms and was removed from the survey to motivate additional responses.

Malicious online activity

Malicious activity continues to proliferate online and the Canadian Internet is no exception. Canada moved into the top ten bot hosts listing in the Symantec Internet Threat Report, moving from 11th to 10th place. Canada also moved up in the ranking as a phishing host, although there was a slight decrease in the percentage of attacks originating in Canada.

In May of 2014, .CA dropped one place in the NameSentury Namespace Quality Index, which evaluates abuse levels in the domain industry. .CA remains in the “good” category and only two TLDs, .ch and .tel, hold an “excellent” ranking.


Country/Region 2013 Phishing
Hosts Rank
2013 Phishing
Hosts Percentage
2012 Phishing
Hosts Rank
Average Monthly Visits
per Visitor
Change
United States 1 39.40% 1 50.00% -10.60%
Germany 2 6.50% 2 6.20% 0.30%
United Kingdom 3 3.80% 3 3.90% -0.10%
Canada 4 2.80% 6 2.90% -0.10%
France 5 2.60% 7 2.70% -0.10%
Netherlands 6 2.50% 9 2.30% 0.20%
Russia 7 2.50% 8 2.40% 0.10%
Brazil 8 2.20% 4 3.60% -1.40%
China 9 2.20% 5 3.20% -1.10%
Poland 10 1.80% 10 1.60% 0.20%

Source: Symantec, INTERNET SECURITY THREAT REPORT, 2013 Trends, Volume 19, Published April 2014

Country/Region 2013 Bots Rank 2013 Bots
Percentage
2012 Bots
Rank
2012 Bots
Percentage
Change
United States 1 20.00% 1 15.30% 4.70%
China 2 9.10% 2 15.00% -5.90%
Italy 3 6.00% 5 7.60% -1.60%
Taiwan 4 6.00% 3 7.90% -1.90%
Brazil 5 5.70% 4 7.80% -2.10%
Japan 6 4.30% 6 4.60% -0.30%
Hungary 7 4.20% 8 4.20% 0.00%
Germany 8 4.20% 9 4.00% 0.10%
Spain 9 3.90% 10 3.20% 0.70%
Canada 10 3.50% 11 2.00% 1.50%

Source: Symantec, INTERNET SECURITY THREAT REPORT, 2013 Trends, Volume 19, Published April 2014

These metrics assess the sources from which the largest amount of malicious activity originates. To determine malicious activity by source, Symantec has compiled geographical data on numerous malicious activities, namely: malicious code reports, spam zombies, phishing hosts, bot-infected computers, network attack origins, and web-based attack origins. The proportion of each activity originating in each source is then determined. The mean of the percentages of each malicious activity that originates in each source is calculated. This average determines the proportion of overall malicious activity that originates from the source in question, and the rankings are determined by calculating the mean average of the proportion of these malicious activities that originated in each source.

Three out of four Canadians own smartphones and 49 per cent of Canadians’ time online is now spent on mobile, reports comScore Three out of four Canadians own smartphones and 49 per cent of Canadians’ time online is now spent on mobile, reports comScore

Social media and online video

Canadians are voracious consumers of online media, watching 43 per cent more minutes of video per viewer online than their American counter-parts. The breadth of options available to Canadians from streaming media is growing. Incumbents like Netflix and rdio now have competition with the more recent launches of Shomi and Spotify in Canada.

Nearly four in 10 Canadians spend more than five hours per week streaming TV, movies or video. Age matters when it comes to video streaming. Eighty-six per cent of younger Canadians, ages 18-34, report some time spent streaming video, but only 53 per cent of Canadians over 55 said they did the same. The majority of Canadians, all ages, reported streaming some radio online.

Percentage of population streaming online video

Canadians are more likely than Americans to watch online video and spend more time doing so. In Canada, 74 per cent of the population stream video versus just 63 per cent of people in the United States.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Hours watching online videos

Among Canadian Internet users, those ages 18-34 spend more hours streaming TV, movies or video than any other age group.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Population's time spent watching online videos - Canada vs USA

Canadians are more likely to watch online video and spend more time doing so.

Source: comScore, Canada Digital Future in Focus, 2014

Understanding Canada’s Cord-Cutters

Proliferation of online content as a factor in the decision not to subscribe to cable

According to .CA’s tracking research, the proliferation of online video and media is causing some Canadians to question the need for traditional cable services.

Click to interact with this chart. Note: Respondents were Internet users who do not subscribe to cable.

Canadians considering cancelling their cable subscription by age

Of those who have cable, younger Canadians, ages 18-34, are much more likely to consider cancelling their subscriptions.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014. Note: Respondents were Internet users who have a cable subscription.

Cable consumers’ likelihood of cancelling their cable package

Although it seems that Canadians are actively considering their need for cable, a relatively small number report that they are “very likely” to cancel in the immediate future.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Nearly four in ten Canadians spend more than five hours a week streaming TV, movies of video Nearly four in ten Canadians spend more than five hours a week streaming TV, movies of video

The proliferation of online video and media is helping some Canadians question the need for traditional cable services The proliferation of online video and media is helping some Canadians question the need for traditional cable services

e-commerce in Canada

The Canadian e-commerce sector continues to grow. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian enterprises sold more than $136 billion in goods and services over the Internet in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier.

The majority of e-commerce in Canada is driven by large enterprises, which generated $87 billion in online sales, and represented 64 per cent of the total value of online sales in 2013.

Among enterprises that sold both on the Internet and offline in 2013, almost a quarter of their collective sales value came from online transactions. Eighty per cent of online sales from Canadian companies are to Canadians; 15 per cent of sales are to customers in the United States and the remaining are to other countries. Most of this activity, (64 per cent), is driven by businesses-to-business transactions, rather than sales to individual customers.

Canadian small businesses have remained reluctant to embrace the web. Just 42.3 per cent of small businesses in Canada currently have a website, compared with 91.4 per cent of large companies. The lack of an online presence for small businesses may have an impact both online and offline.

Canadian online retail is growing

  • Younger Canadians are starting to purchase online using mobile devices, making mobile-friendly e-commerce implementations critical.
  • Canadians who are buying online report spending more on transactions through Canadian websites than they do on international sites. Selling to Canadians through Canadian websites, therefore, may be an effective sales strategy.
  • A strong web presence affects retailers looking to drive sales in-store. Many Canadians report browsing online for goods that they will eventually purchase in-store.

Top six goods or services purchased by individual Canadians

Top five types of good or service purchased by Canadians

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Online shopping: Canadian versus U.S. websites

Canadian online shoppers reported average annual spending of $375 on purchases made through Canadian websites versus $150 transacted through U.S. websites.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Online shopping on personal computer versus mobile device by Internet user and age

The majority of purchases online were made on personal computers, but it is important to note that two in ten 18-34 year olds made a purchase on a mobile device.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Links between online and in-store purchases

Consumers frequently use websites to research purchases they will make in-store, but few Canadians browse in-store to buy online.

How often, if at all, do you...? Almost always Often Sometimes Rarely Never
Look online, buy in-store 13% 28% 42% 10% 5%
Look in-store, buy online 4% 11% 33% 9% 21%

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Number of Canadian businesses with websites

There was little change in the number of Canadian businesses with websites, year-over-year, regardless of size. The number of small businesses with websites increased moderately, while the number of large and medium-sized businesses with websites remained static.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table  358-0193 -  Survey of digital technology and Internet use, enterprises with a website, by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and size of enterprise, occasional (percent),  CANSIM (database)

Canadian enterprises sold more than $136 billion in goods and services over the Internet in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier Canadian enterprises sold more than $136 billion in goods and services over the Internet in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier

Canadian small businesses have remained reluctant to embrace the web. Just 42.3 per cent have a website Canadian small businesses have remained reluctant to embrace the web. Just 42.3 per cent have a website

Younger Canadians are starting to make online purchases with mobile devices Younger Canadians are starting to make online purchases with mobile devices

Mobile use in Canada

The June 2014 Ericsson Mobility Report predicted there could be as many as 5.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally by the end of 2019. This shift to mobile has taken hold in Canada. Internet analytics firm comScore reports 1.3 million Canadians use only mobile devices to access the Internet.

Mobile Internet adoption has been quicker for young Canadians, who report high rates of mobile-broadband penetration and a growing propensity to engage in mobile e-commerce. The majority of mobile devices are now smartphones; the percentage of Canadians using feature phones continues to decline.

Users who “typically access” the Internet via mobile, by age

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 report accessing the Internet with mobile devices, compared with just 11 per cent of those over 55.

Source: CIRA Tracking Research, March 2014

Smartphone market penetration by percentage of mobile subscribers

Canadians continue to embrace more full-featured smartphones. Three-quarters of mobile subscribers now choose smartphones over feature phones.

Source: comScore, Canada Digital Future in Focus, 2014

Top 10 Mobile Content Categories by number of mobile subscribers (1000’s)

There was a 46 per cent growth in photo and video sharing, likely due to the popularity of Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and related services. Sports content saw a 39 per cent increase and mobile banking and Maps/ Directions increased 38 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

Category December 2012 December 2013 % Growth
Weather 8907 11864 33%
Social Networking 9014 11088 23%
Search 8362 10577 26%
Instant Messaging Service 7826 9762 25%
Maps/Directions 6318 8653 37%
Local/World News 5927 7499 27%
Bank Accounts 4886 6731 38%
Photo/Video Sharing 4558 6667 46%
Entertainment News 4613 6156 33%
Sports 4001 5575 39%

Source: comScore, Canada Digital Future in Focus, 2014

Young Canadians have adopted mobile Internet more quickly than older Canadians Young Canadians have adopted mobile Internet more quickly than older Canadians

Photo and video sharing on mobile devices increased by 46 per cent from 2012-2013 Photo and video sharing on mobile devices increased by 46 per cent from 2012-2013