Nine in 10 Canadians are online, mostly on mobile: Comscore

Proportionally, more 18+ Canadians than Americans went online in September, according to the company's latest surveys.

More than nine in 10 Canadians went online in September, according to Comscore’s latest report that tracks the pandemic’s ongoing impact on online usage. The report also offers a glimpse at how audiences will likely change in the future.

Global Perspective: Digital and CTV trends to watch in 2021 focuses on desktop and mobile usage measured in September 2020 as part of a series of quarterly studies tracking global usage.

In Canada, 93% of of people over 18 went online in September — outpacing the U.S. rate of 89%. That time online is dominated by mobile devices, which accounted for 72% of total hours. (In the U.S., mobile accounts for 77%.) Perhaps surprising no one, ranked as the property that saw the biggest increase in usage on desktop over last year (among those properties measured by Comscore).

“In almost all countries the percentage of adults who went online (i.e., the digital population) went up,” the report says. “Remarkably, this holds true regardless of the level of penetration of digital services prior to the pandemic.”

While Canada and technologically modern nations enjoy a high level of digital adoption, the report says digitization is “far from complete, regardless of region” as new technologies are expected to further shape consumer behaviour.

Digitization “correlates with urbanisation (sic), which is still ongoing. (Countries with high levels of urbanisation, such as Singapore and Hong Kong have among the highest levels of internet activity.) More importantly, technology upgrades (such as 5G) and infrastructure investments – current and future – are set to change not just the numbers, but also how deeply people are connected.”

Generally, desktop computers appear to be Canadians’ work device of choice. The “services” category (including email, cloud storage and platforms like WebEx and DocuSign) topped the list for desktop use, accounting for 30.4% (globally) of time in September. Mobile, meanwhile, was dominated by social media at 32.2% of time spent. “Entertainment” destinations ranked second on both lists with 18.1% and 18.7%, respectively.

“One of the most important themes of 2020 is without doubt the work-from-home regime introduced for a large proportion of the world’s white-collar workers,” the report’s authors state.