Weather more popular than social on mobile: study

New study finds communication still the most frequent activity, iPhones the brand of choice.

As smartphones continue to advance technologically, increasing in screen size and processing power, they have significantly impacted the ways in which people not only communicate, but also how they consume media.

Nine in 10 English-speaking Canadians own a cell phone, according to a new report from Media Technology Monitor surveying more than 4,000 Anglophones. In 2018, 82% preferred smartphones, largely comprised of students, those aged 18 to 34 as well as those from affluent households or homes with children. The brand of choice is an iPhone (50%) followed by Samsung (32%) with LG (5%) and Google Pixel (2%) trailing.

Smartphones are the most common device to carry out day-to-day activities like texting (75%), checking the weather (73%), social networking (68%) and reading news (53%). The report found 81% of users are heading directly to broadcaster news sites while 59% relying on social media and 28% consult newspaper sites. More than one-third of those who access the news via their smartphone are reading articles to completion.

Naturally, smartphone owners reported spending more time online, roughly three hours more per week than the average Anglophone.

As for what they’re doing, the survey found two-thirds are listening to radio or audio, 79% on YouTube and 67% on a streaming platform.

The largest percentage of users are in more populated areas, perhaps a result of more commuting or the prevalence of free wi-fi, which also contributes to an increase in video consumption. Seven in 10 Anglophone smartphone owners use their devices to access video content, 93% of whom head to YouTube while 76% use Netflix.

For all their capabilities, the MTM report found smartphone owners still use their device for its intended purpose – communication. Rogers, Telus and Bell dominate the service provider market with nine out of 10 cell phone users beholden to them and their brands. In Atlantic Canada, Bell provides service to nearly half of all cell phone users.