Desktop still rules, but mobile-only Canadians on the rise: report

The “Global Digital Future in Focus" report from comScore analyzed data from 13 countries around the world to reveal digital trends.

Canadians still rely on desktops, according to comScore’s latest report, “Global Digital Future in Focus.”

Exploring trends across digital platforms including desktop, smartphone and tablet, the report was released during a webinar hosted on June 26 by Bryan Segal, VP sales at comScore.

The report analyzed 13 global markets including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K., Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, revealing how much time respondents in each country spends on their various devices.

In Canada, it’s largely desktop.

According to the report, 87% of Canadians use desktop computers, with 82% using mobile (which includes smartphones and tablets).

This contrasts with the U.S., where 83% use desktop and 91% mobile.

Canada’s mobile only audience grew by 59% between December 2016 and December 2017, now amounting to 22.6 million Canadians 18-years-old and over who access online using their smartphones and tablets.

The difference in how Canadians prefer to spend their digital time is seen in their online habits. While the U.S. and U.K. both favour smartphone apps, Canada has the highest composition of time spent on desktops (41%).  This compares to 29% in the U.S. and 28% in the U.K.

Canadians are particularly drawn to desktops for taxes and online trading, spending 99% and 87% respectively on desktops for those tasks.

Desktops are least popular within the realm of personal finance, where 41% of time is spent on mobile apps.

Canadians spend 38% of their time on Smartphone apps compared to 55% in the U.S. and 50% in the U.K.

However, the majority of Canadians are multi-platform users, with 59% logging into desktops, smartphones and tablets.

This trend is most notable among those aged 18 to 54, with 76% in the 18 to 34 range opting for multi-platform (versus 14% mobile only). In the 35 to 54 range, 73% opt for multi-platform (versus 17% mobile only).

For those 55-years-old and above, multi-platform is still the preference (57%) but desktop only is close behind at 37%.

According to the report, 11% of Canadians (22.6 million) are using mobile devices exclusively, something comScore predicts will only continue to grow.

On mobile, it’s all about apps.

In Canada, 85% of time spent on mobile browsers were spent on apps, slightly less than the 88% reported in the U.S. The highest instance was in Argentina where 95% of time spent on mobile was allotted to apps.

Facebook was ranked the top app by reach in Canada, followed by FB Messenger, YouTube, GoogleSearch and GoogleMaps.

While Canada’s digital population is made up of 48% women, 52% men, the mobile population skewes more female at 51%. It also skews younger with 42% of the population being between 35 and 44-years-old.

According to the report, video growth has largely been led by mobile devices, seeing a growth of 14% year-over-year among the 18 to 24-year-old demographic.

This has also been identified among the 45 and older demographic, where there has been a 46% growth in video year-over-year.

This was particularly present among French speaking audiences. With a 10% growth in French audiences between December 2016 and December 2017, the demographic was regarded as driving the largest growth in video in Canada.