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Global Consumer Mobile Survey Results 2018

Canadian Edition

Now in its 10th year, Deloitte has polled over 54,000 adults in 35 countries with dozens of questions on their mobile habits, devices, and preferences. Over 2,000 Canadians were part of this year’s survey, and we’ve pulled a list of the Top Five trends that stand out for Canadian consumers.

Now in its 10th year, Deloitte has polled over 54,000 adults in 35 countries with dozens of questions on their mobile habits, devices, and preferences. Over 2,000 Canadians were part of this year’s survey, and here is a list of the Top Five trends that stand out for Canadian consumers. These are only selected highlights, and the full report contains much more information, all able to be sliced and diced by age, gender, income and region.

November 29th, Duncan Stewart hosted a short webinar to discuss these highlights and stats. For more information, or to receive the recording and presentation, please email tmtcanada@deloitte.ca.

1: We live in a time of accelerating change…except when we don’t.

Across all ten most popular tech devices, the percentage of Canadians who own or have access to the devices in 2018 is either flat with 2017, or up or down no more than 1%. For the most ubiquitous devices (smartphones, computers and tablets) it looks like we’ve hit a ceiling, and for the more niche devices it looks like they are going to stay niches. As only one example, only 17% of Canadians have a fitness band in 2018, down 1% from last year. And one fifth of those with fitness bands haven’t used them even once in the last month, so the active use base is even more niche. In fact, smartphones and computers are the only devices that ¾ or more of Canadian use daily!

2: Keep an eye on the old folks.

Although overall device ownership levels seem to have plateaued, there is still headroom for the 55-75 year old market to grow. Not for every device (older Canadians are roughly as likely as other demographics to own computers, eReaders and tablets) but for all of smartphones, fitness bands and smart watches Canadians over 55 years of age have much lower device adoption. How big a deal is this? With 8.6 million of us in that age group, if smartphone adoption went from its current 64% level to the 90% average we see for other age groups, that would be over 2.2 million new smartphone owners, users and subscribers.

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3: The Canadian smartphone market is a tie between Apple and Samsung. In a way.

Across all Canadians 18-75, Apple (33%) has a one percentage point lead over Samsung in the smartphone horse race. But that number is an average, and a misleading one: For 18-24 year olds Apple is massively out in front (55% to 22%) and even for 25-34 year olds Apple has an eight point lead, but for each of the 35-44, 45-54, 55-64 and 65-75 decade breaks Samsung has the lead (by varying amounts, but up to 10 percentage points.) Talk about a mobile generation gap!

4: The smart entertainment home? Yes. Everything else? Not yet.

When it comes to connected home entertainment devices, 37% of Canadians have a smart TV in 2018, up from 22% in 2016 (but flat with 2017, in line with Trend #1.) Connected games consoles are only two points behind, and about one in five of us have a TV video streaming device (like the Chromecast) or wireless home speaker system without voice assistant (like Sonos.) But if it’s not entertainment, Canadians don’t want it, at least not yet. Across all of smart appliances, lighting, thermostats, connected cars or even surveillance systems, fewer than one in ten have these devices or systems. And when we say under 10%, sometimes we mean a lot under: only three percent of Canadians have a smart appliance, all the way up…from the same number the year before.

5: Speaking of speakers.

The big exception that (and straddling the line between entertainment and smart home hub) are smart speakers. Led by Alexa from Amazon and Google Home, we saw ownership of these devices go from zero in 2016 to 9% in 2018, with much bigger popularity for younger Canadians: 16% of 18-34 years olds had these devices this year. Smart speakers also vary by region: although the national average was 9%, 13% of Ontarians had one but only 4% of those from Atlantic Canada. Smart speakers will be one of Deloitte’s 2019 TMT Predictions topics, with Global report launch date of December 9, 2018, and a Canadian road show in eight Canadian cities in January 2019.

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As we said in the opening paragraph, the GMCS Canadian cut has many other findings beyond the five mentioned in our list. Just a sample of factoids:

  1. Although buying phones online is growing, nearly 60% of Canadians still buy new phones from a physical store.
  2. Not just new phones: a third of Canadians have been to an operator store in the last year for technical help.
  3. Instagram is the fastest growing app in terms of daily use – up three points in 2018 to 29% of us using it daily (and 8% using it hourly!).
  4. The number one device for both browsing shopping websites and buying foods for 18-24 year olds is not the smartphone – it is still the computer.
  5. 80% of Canadians say that cost is very important when it comes to picking a wireless provider…more than any other factor.

For more information, or to receive the recording and presentation, please email tmtcanada@deloitte.ca.

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