What if the world around you was far larger than you ever imagined?
This is the reality for many internet users in Canada. For many people, the digital world is just as real and just as valid as the “real world.” Despite how much time we all spend online, though, there is much that we don’t know about Canadian internet usage.
Ready to figure out how many Canadians go online, how many are using the internet each year, and other important stats? Keep reading to discover the answers you are looking for!
How Many Internet Users in Canada?
Currently, there are 36.89 million internet users in Canada. To put that number in perspective, that means that 94% of Canada’s entire population uses the internet.
The high number of Canadian internet users has some major implications for businesses throughout the country. After all, any business that is not investing heavily in digital marketing is missing out on many potential customers.
On top of that, now is the perfect time for anyone with something to say to their fellow Canadians to begin blogging or even producing video content for Youtube or TikTok. With so much of the country online, you are sure to find an audience for whatever you have to say.
Closing the Technology Gap
How did the number of Canadians online grow over time? One of the biggest reasons is that Canada is helping to close the technology gap as a country.
For example, in 2018, 23.8% of Canadians identified as either basic internet users or non-users of the internet. By 2020, this number shrank to 18.9%. At the same time, the number of people who identified as advanced internet users grew by 4%.
What does this mean? For the most part, it means that more people and more groups are overcoming the technology gaps that previously kept them from using the internet as much. As these gaps close, online communities in Canada and beyond are able to flourish.
Smartphone Users on the Rise
It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that going on the internet required access to a desktop computer. Between the price of these computers back in the day and the lack of internet in remote areas, there was a hard limit to how many Canadians could go on the internet.
The smartphone helped to change that. Now, anybody who has a smartphone can hop online (just one more reason to make sure your website is mobile-friendly). And so long as you can receive a phone call, you can browse the information superhighway.
The result has been a startling change in how we use our smartphones. For example, 70% of smartphone users in Canada use internet browser apps on their phones each year.
Explosive Recent Growth
As you can tell, there are plenty of internet users in Canada these days. But what you might not know is how much of this Canadian internet usage is a very modern phenomenon.
For example, the number of Canadian internet users didn’t reach 36.89 million overnight. However, there was an explosive bout of growth in the last year that helped make using the internet more mainstream.
What kind of growth are we talking about? Between 2021 and 2022 alone, the number of Canadians using the internet grew by 312,000. With growth rates like this, we can’t help but wonder how many more across the nation will go online in the coming years.
A Focus on Social Media
It’s easy to speak in terms like “Canadian internet usage.” However, everyone uses the internet in a different way. It’s important, then, to know exactly how Canadians are using the internet.
One big example of this is the rising popularity of social media. In Canada, social media is now more popular than ever before. And it’s only going to get more popular over time.
How popular is “more popular?” Already, 94% of the country’s internet users engage with at least one social media platform. And by the year 2026, we can expect that number to grow to 96%.
The Most Popular Social Media Platforms in Canada
Obviously, social media is very popular with the average Canadian. But “social media” is a very broad umbrella. It’s worth asking the follow-up question: which social media platforms are the most popular throughout Canada?
By a very large margin, Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the country. Out of Canadians with social media accounts, 80% use Facebook.
Another popular social media platform is Youtube, which is used by 62% of users. Meanwhile, Instagram is used by 51% of users who just post content such as images and user reels.
Related: Instagram Usage Stats 2023 Canada
While Twitter is often seen as a competitor of Facebook, only 41% of internet users use that platform. LinkedIn is used by 37% of users while Snapchat is used by only 27%.
In terms of newer, video-centric platforms, the popularity hasn’t quite caught on. The popular app TikTok, for example, is only used by 26% of users. And Twitch is used by a mere 13% of users.
Related: Social Media Stats in Canada
Video Calls Become More Popular
Sometimes, data about Canadian internet usage reveals some interesting facts. For example, in recent years, video calls have become increasingly popular.
How much more popular? Between 2018 and 2020, the percentage of basic internet users who make video calls grew by 11%. Meanwhile, the number of intermediate users who make video calls grew by 19%.
Why the rise in video calls? The likeliest reason for the spike in video calls is the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people who would otherwise have been visiting friends and loved ones in person were unable to do so safely.
Video calls, however, allowed them to see the people they care about face-to-face while still socially distancing. And even as COVID restrictions have been relaxed since 2020, many still make video calls on a regular basis as a way of staying in touch.
The Elderly Embrace the Internet
It’s easy to imagine using the internet as something that younger people focus on. However, in recent years, we have seen more elderly Canadians going online. This mostly has to do with these older users adopting smartphone usage.
Back in 2015, smartphone adoption among older users was only 71%. By 2019, that had jumped to 83%. And experts who have studied this phenomenon note that we can only expect more older people to begin using smartphones in the coming years.
As time goes on, this increasing number of less-traditional internet users may change how we market certain products. And, of course, it is likely to change who we market to!
Rising Mobile Ad Spending
Speaking of digital marketing, that has been changing in Canada. Specifically, companies are spending more on things like mobile ads than they have in previous years.
As of 2019, companies spent over $5 billion in mobile ad spending in the country. This represents an increase of 37.5% in spending since 2017.
Another way of looking at this figure is that mobile ad spending accounts for over a third of advertising spending in Canada. And this helps to underscore the close relationship between smartphone usage and internet usage and the need to market to a demographic that is always on the go.
Surfing the Internet Faster Than Ever
It’s an open secret that since the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are using the internet. And internet service providers have responded by increasing internet speeds across the board.
In the 12 months leading to 2022, mobile internet speed increased by 11.1%. Meanwhile, fixed internet speeds have increased by a staggering 27.6%.
This means that wherever you go in Canada, you are surging the internet faster than you might have been, say, even two years ago. And when the internet is both more accessible and faster than it was before, it naturally increases the number of users.
Facebook Messenger Usage
Earlier, we gave a breakdown of the most popular social media platforms in Canada. Facebook dominates in that area (likely due to all that shareable user content). An offshoot of Facebook, the popular Messenger app, is also very popular within the country.
In general, messaging apps have been growing in popularity in Canada. And 66% of Canadians who use social media rely on one kind of messaging service or another.
If you drill down into this data, though, Facebook still comes out on top. When it comes to Canadians who use messaging apps, over 64% of people rely on Facebook Messenger. The next most popular app, WhatsApp, is used by over 38% of Canadians who use these apps.
Data Consumption Rising
People often joke about internet content seeming empty. In reality, it takes plenty of data to transmit that “empty” content. And just as we gain more internet users in Canada, the amount of average data consumption in the country has risen.
In 2019, the average Canadian consumed 2.9 GB of data per month. That is a 45% increase since 2017.
What is driving the increase in data? The most likely cause is the number of people streaming video. From Youtube tutorials to binge-watching Netflix, all of this streaming has increased how much data we consume.
Take Your Digital Marketing to the Next Level
Now you know important stats, including the number of internet users in Canada. But do you know who can help you market to all those users?
Here at HeyTony, we specialize in marketing, SEO, web design, site optimization, and more. To discover what we can do for you, just contact us today!