Smartphone Use in Canada

by Cara Lynn Garvock, Blue Boat Social Marketing

mobile marketing CanadaA significant report studying the use of cell phones among Canadians gives us particular insight into how the cell phone is impacting our businesses. It is lengthy – almost 100 pages – but I’ve distilled below some of the more critical findings.

The upshot? If you’re targeting buyers who are between the ages of 18 and 34 you likely need a mobile site (but check your Analytics to see just how high this demand is), you’ll need social media accounts because that’s how many of this group connects, and you might want to think about whether you could develop an app to help you engage with this tech-savvy demographic. All figures are from the 2012 Cell Phone Consumer Attitudes Study, Prepared for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, April 23, 2012.

  • In the last year, smartphone usage has increased significantly from one third of Canadian cell phone users to nearly half (33% in 2011 to 48% in 2012).
  • The adoption of smartphones is significantly higher among Canadians 18 to 34 years old (69%), particularly among those 18 to 24 years old (72%).
  • Three in ten mobile phone users (32%) show interest in the idea of having a service that would send information or coupons to their cell phone based on where they are at the time. Interest in this service is similar to that reported in 2011.
  • Almost one in four (24%) cell phone users are interested in the idea of swiping or waving their cell phone at a point of sale terminal or scanner. Interest in mobile payments increased significantly from 18% in 2011 to 24% in 2012.
  • Seven in ten smartphone users say they have downloaded apps to their mobile phone, compared to 58% in 2011. Those who have downloaded apps to their phones, have downloaded 12 apps on average, of which roughly 2 were purchased (as opposed to downloaded for free).
  • About 79% of smartphone owners between 18 and 34 years old have downloaded apps. This represents a significant increase over 2011 findings (65%).
  • The younger respondents are, the more likely they are to use apps that link to social networks, IM, or blogs. Women (84%) and residents of Atlantic Canada (93%) are also more likely to use these apps.
  • One quarter of cell phone users (26%) access health and wellness, fitness, or nutritional tools through their device.
  • The most common health related tools used are calorie counters (16%), fitness, workout, and exercise tracker apps (11%), and recipes (10%).

Are you specifically targeting youth? Are you already considering how the smartphone can help you market your business? Leave me a comment over on the blog!

Cara Lynn Garvock is a social media marketing strategist and coach, and the owner of Blue Boat Social Marketing. She helps business owners to take their marketing messages online where they accelerate client attraction, engagement and conversion. If you need tools, tips, and strategies to boost your social media results, head over to to subscribe to her weekly blog.

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