More and more Canadians are replacing their "dumb" phones for smart ones at an extraordinary rate.
According to an Ipsos Reid report, 31 percent of Canadians now own a smartphone—a jump of more than 50 percent since this time last year.
And ownership isn't the only metric rising: those who own the mobile devices are also spending more time using them, and using them for more things, too.
“For several years, smartphone growth was incremental at best, but in 2011, it’s been exponential” says Steve Mossop, President with Ipsos Reid’s Western Canada practice. “A combination of device enhancements, Android, and the explosion of apps has resulted in a significant uptake of smartphones among Canadians to the point where usage levels are competing television viewing and internet browsing in terms of hours spent.”
Not surprisingly, smartphone ownership is significantly higher amongst younger Canadians; in particular, 46 percent of those online Canadians aged 18 to 34 own a smartphone, and their usage (21 hours per week) is significantly higher than older Canadians.
And for the first time ever, the majority of smartphone usage (54 percent) is for activities other than talking (you know, the original purpose of a phone back in the 1900s). Smartphone users take photos (70 percent), send or read email (70 percent), check the weather (52 percent), and send or receive IM’s (52 percent) with their device. The most drastic increase in smartphone usage rates is connected with social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), with 48 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to check social networking sites, an increase of nearly twenty points since previously measured in the spring of 2010.
“This phenomenon is transforming the way Canadians interact with each other and with brands, offering businesses new and innovative ways to connect with their customers,” adds Steve. “Marketers need to consider how mobile fits into their overall plans of how to reach consumers if they are going to succeed in the digital marketplace”.