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Social Media Trends - Canada - June 2015

“Consumers are highly engaged on social media and the power of posts is seen to be influential on purchase decisions. Marketing efforts on these platforms that are done well should garner the attention of audiences that may be traditionally harder to reach, such as French speakers and older women.”
– Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyle Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Brands need to be actively engaged as Millennials are using social media to make purchase decisions
  • Gaining attention through the clutter
  • Leveraging the personal connection to appeal to women
  • Opportunities to reach the French speaking audience

Canadians are active social media users with 85% who visit social networking sites. Although this may decline with age, even seniors are on social platforms with 61% who visit these sites, including 34% who do so daily. Canadians use a wide range of platforms, though Facebook drives much of the social media activity.

Although many are using these platforms to keep in touch with family and friends, social media has a prominent role in product discovery and purchase: seen to be highly influential on purchase decisions with networkers consulting these platforms pre- and post-purchase and even leading to purchases of products that consumers were previously unaware of. However, higher engagement on the part of the consumer with brands is leading to an expectation that they will also be active on social media.

This report explores the usage habits of social media among Canadians, including the frequency they visit the sites, the platforms they use and the devices on which they access these sites. The report also explores the product discovery and purchase actions taken on social media, the responses to social media posts by companies and the attitudes towards engaging with brands on social media by lifestage and various demographic groups.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Methodology
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Population changes open new opportunities
                • Economic conditions garner more cost-saving behaviours
                  • The consumer
                    • Social networking sites are among the most commonly visited among Canadians
                      • Figure 1: Website usage, March 2015
                    • Usage led by Facebook with YouTube close behind
                      • Figure 2: Social media website usage, March 2015
                    • Laptops are the primary device used to access social media, smartphones play a more supplemental role
                      • Figure 3: Device used to access social media websites (any device), March 2015
                    • Social media plays a role in the research process
                      • Figure 4: Source of information, March 2015
                    • Just under half of networkers take purchase related actions on social media
                      • Figure 5: Actions on social media, March 2015
                    • Social media posts by companies prompt half of networkers to take further action
                      • Figure 6: Response to company posts, March 2015
                    • Younger networkers are more attuned to product/brand posts from family and friends and are actively interacting with brands on social media
                      • Figure 7: Attitudes towards social media, March 2015
                    • What we think
                    • Issues and Insights

                        • Brands need to be actively engaged as Millennials are using social media to make purchase decisions
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Gaining attention through the clutter
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Leveraging the personal connection to appeal to women
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Opportunities to reach the French speaking audience
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • Market Drivers

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Demographic overview
                                                    • Canadian population count
                                                      • Figure 8: Share of population of Canada, by territory/province, 2014
                                                    • Canada’s population is aging and will continue to do so in the coming years
                                                      • Figure 9: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
                                                    • Immigration and ethnic diversity in Canada
                                                      • Figure 10: Region of birth of immigrants, by period of immigration, Canada, 2011
                                                    • Economic overview
                                                      • Overall negative impact of lower oil prices on the Canadian economy
                                                        • Figure 11: Canada’s GDP (% change), by quarter, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
                                                        • Figure 12: Household disposable income and savings rate in Canada, Q4 2008-Q1 2014
                                                      • Wealth distribution in Canada
                                                        • Figure 13: Canada median net worth, by province, 2012
                                                      • Household debt in Canada
                                                        • Consumer confidence wavers with falling oil prices
                                                          • Figure 14: Consumer Confidence Index, monthly, January 2008-January 2015
                                                      • Trend Application

                                                          • Trend: Attention Economy
                                                            • Trend: Return to the Experts
                                                              • Trend: Access All Areas
                                                              • Leading Companies and Notables

                                                                • Major players
                                                                  • Facebook
                                                                    • Instagram
                                                                      • YouTube
                                                                        • Twitter
                                                                          • LinkedIn
                                                                            • Google+
                                                                              • Pinterest
                                                                                • A new Canadian player
                                                                                  • Hubub
                                                                                    • Some notables in the industry
                                                                                      • Line
                                                                                        • Snapchat
                                                                                          • Venmo
                                                                                            • Whisper
                                                                                            • Brands Leveraging Social Media

                                                                                                • Social media to drive consumer awareness and engagement
                                                                                                  • Using social media to change the conversation about product quality: A&W
                                                                                                    • Increasing engagement through information and application of science: 3M
                                                                                                      • Tapping into celebrity followers to gain consumer attention: Neutrogena
                                                                                                        • Expanding boundaries with social media: Chris Hadfield
                                                                                                          • Social media with a public focus
                                                                                                            • Raising awareness of mental health issues: Bell
                                                                                                              • Encouraging physical activity in the name of health: ParticipACTION
                                                                                                                • Keeping the public informed: BC Ministry of Transportation
                                                                                                                  • Leveraging connections during major disasters: Facebook
                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Usage of Social Networking Sites

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Social networking sites are among the most commonly visited among Canadians
                                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Website usage, March 2015
                                                                                                                      • Frequency of usage highlights popularity of social networking sites
                                                                                                                        • Figure 16: Website usage, selected websites, by visitation frequency, March 2015
                                                                                                                      • Moms are the most likely segment to be heavy users of social media networks
                                                                                                                          • Figure 17: Usage of social networking sites (those who visit multiple times per day), by gender and age, March 2015
                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Social Media Website Usage

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Usage led by Facebook with YouTube close behind
                                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Social media website usage, March 2015
                                                                                                                          • Facebook usage drives visitation to social media pages
                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Social media website usage (selected websites), by frequency, March 2015
                                                                                                                          • The personal connection draws users to Facebook, particularly among Millennials, women and French speakers
                                                                                                                            • Usage skews towards 18-34s, women and French speaking homes
                                                                                                                                • Figure 20: Percentage who visit Facebook daily, by gender and age, March 2015
                                                                                                                              • Facebook used primarily to connect family and friends first, then companies/brands
                                                                                                                                • Young men and parents drive daily usage of YouTube
                                                                                                                                  • Young men are active across numerous social media platforms
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Repertoire of social media websites used on a daily basis, March 2015
                                                                                                                                  • Young women and parents are also highly active on social media
                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Devices used to Access Social Media Websites

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Laptops are the primary device used to access social media
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 22: Device used to access social media websites (any device), March 2015
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 23: Repertoire of any device used to access social media websites, March 2015
                                                                                                                                      • Smartphones are more supplemental, with preference influenced by age
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Device used to access social media websites (most often), March 2015
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Device used to access social media websites (most often), by age, March 2015
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Informing the Research Process

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Social media plays a role in the research process
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Source of information, March 2015
                                                                                                                                        • Women, parents and French speakers are most likely to turn to social media for opinions
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Checked social media to see what other people thought, by gender, March 2015
                                                                                                                                          • Women are more likely to seek customer reviews and online discounts
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Source of information (select statements), by gender and age, March 2015
                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – Product Discovery and Purchase Actions on Social Media

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Just under half of networkers take purchase related actions on social media
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Actions on social media, March 2015
                                                                                                                                              • Millennial women and parents take advantage of deals
                                                                                                                                                • Social media contacts are influential for 18-34s and French speaking Canadians
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Actions on social media (select statements), March 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • Young men are most likely to contact brands pre- and post-purchase
                                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Responses to Company Social Media Posts

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Social media posts by companies prompts half of networkers to take further action
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: Response to company posts, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                      • Younger networkers, parents and immigrants will seek further information online
                                                                                                                                                        • Young men most likely to contact companies after seeing social media posts
                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Brand Engagement on Social Media

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Summary of attitudes towards social media
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Attitudes towards social media, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                            • Younger networkers are more attuned to product/brand posts from family and friends
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Select attitudes towards social media, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                            • Millennials and parents enjoy sharing information
                                                                                                                                                              • Brand interaction on social media is practised among young networkers
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Select attitudes towards social media, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                              • Millennials are most likely to be engaging with brands on social media
                                                                                                                                                                • Money saving opportunities from companies/organizations appeal to parents
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Selected attitudes towards social media, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Social Media and Chinese Canadians

                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                  • Chinese Canadians are using a wider variety of social media platforms
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Social media website usage (any frequency), Chinese Canadians versus overall population, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                                  • Social media posts are more influential on Chinese Canadians
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Actions on social media (select statements), Chinese Canadians versus overall population, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                                  • Chinese Canadian networkers see social media as a resource
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Agreement with attitudes towards social media (selected statements), Chinese Canadians versus overall population, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                    • Four target groups
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Target groups for social media trends, March 2015
                                                                                                                                                                    • Enthusiasts (36%)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Quasi-engaged Boomers (27%)
                                                                                                                                                                        • The Connectors (19%)
                                                                                                                                                                          • Disengaged (18%)

                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                          Social Media Trends - Canada - June 2015

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