11 percent of Canadians access digital content solely via mobile: comScore

Desktop is still a major force in Canada

Desktop may still play an important role in the digital lives of Canadians, but mobile consumption is growing at a rapid rate, especially among the youngest generations.

This and other insights were revealed at digital measurement and research company comScore’s recent presentation of statistics from the ‘Global Digital Future in Focus 2018 Canadian Edition.’

While the company’s global report on digital consumption (i.e. time spent on desktop and mobile devices) was released earlier this year, comScore delved deeper into Canadian insights, showing how the country mirrors international trends, and in some cases diverges from the common path.

One major instance of divergence is desktop usage. The report indicates that Canadians are still very attached to their desktops, much more than many other countries.

Canadians spend 41 percent of their digital time on desktops, while in the U.K. and the U.S., that number stands at 28 percent and 29 percent respectively.

That’s not to say the digital media audience isn’t growing on mobile — mobile-only users are growing in unique visitors at the pace of 59 percent year-over-year, according to comScore’s fourth quarter 2017 measurements. Still, desktop-only users remain a larger portion of the pie (roughly nine million Canadians), and both are outdone by multi-platform users (around 19 million Canadians).

“Canadians have a long legacy of high internet penetration and engagement — dating back to the start of comScore,” Bryan Segal, vice-president of sales at comScore, told MobileSyrup over email.

“That penetration up to several years ago used to be desktop only — before the advent of mobile devices. Over time we have seen an erosion of usage on desktop, with mobile growing significantly in engagement. That said, the audience is still there — and is not seeing drastic declines. The trend we are seeing is multi-platform usage (desktop and mobile) and mobile only growth.”

The majority of Canadians 18 and over — 69 percent — are multi-platform digital consumers.

Still, 11 percent of Canadians are now using mobile devices exclusively, says comScore, a figure that grew by 59 percent year-over-year.

And mobile brings with it some new consumption behaviours.

Mobile users consumer more than two times the digital minutes per person on average than desktop users — this is is true across a wide variety of countries (Canada being an outlier due to its larger demographic of desktop power users).

Additionally, video growth is being driven by mobile users. Data from Canada shows digital video consumption is growing across all platforms — but it grew eight times as quickly on mobile as it did on desktop over the past 10 months.

A look at the top apps across different age demographics in Canada shows where much of that digital video content is being viewed. For older Canadians in age demographics 35 to 44 and 55 and over, Facebook, YouTube, Facebook Messenger and Google Search reign supreme.

Canadians age 25 to 34 also use Facebook, YouTube and Facebook Messenger the most — but Instagram and Snapchat make an appearance on the list as well.

Young Canadians aged 18 to 24 spend time on YouTube, Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Apple Music, Google Maps and Gmail, in order.

comScore’s data is based on its audience measurement tools. That includes MMX Multi-Platform, which reports on more than 300,000 digital media entities and their audiences; Mobile Metrix, which captures mobile audience behaviour on browsers and apps; MobileLens Plus, which matches observed mobile behaviours with self-reported survey answers; and Video Metrix, which measures global online video activity.