Description

Internet is an essential service that’s integral to the lives of nearly all Canadians. COVID-19 had highlighted the importance of affordable access to unlimited home internet, a service that most consumers report is crucial to maintaining their lifestyle. In recent years, the government has made great strides towards its goal of 100% access to high-speed internet among all Canadian citizens when we get home.

On the mobile front, Canadians are adopting 5G at a rapid pace. Faster and stronger mobile networks open up stronger capabilities for consumers to do things like game, download large files, or stream on mobile devices, as well as set-up and utilize stronger hotspots.”

Michael Lloy
Senior Tech & Media Analyst

Key Topics Analyzed

  • What internet-connected devices are people utilizing?
  • How extensive is 5G adoption?
  • What mobile network providers and ISPs are people utilizing and what might motivate them to switch?
  • What activities are consumers doing online and how do these inform what types of internet service and access levels that they need?
  • How are consumers engaging with mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi while out in public?

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Consumer trends
    • The pandemic has changed usage habits and needs
      • Figure 1: Attitudes towards unlimited internet (% agree), 2023
    • Consumers still aren’t up-to-speed on internet speeds
    • Network security is a growing concern for consumers
    • Competitive strategies
    • TELUS’s Tech for Good program ensures connectivity is accessible for everybody
      • Figure 2: TELUS Facebook ad, 2023
    • Internet access is expanding across Canada
      • Figure 3: TELUS Facebook ad, 2023
    • Canadians can look southward for a glimpse into the future
      • Figure 4: AT&T TikTok post, 2022
    • Market Predictions
    • A healthy economy remains distant as transportation costs rise
    • Household savings declined precipitously in Q1 2023
    • Wi-Fi 7 and 6G
      • Figure 5: Category outlook for accessing the internet, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Brands need to convince consumers how faster internet benefits them
    • Either flanker brands need more flexibility or larger brands need to be more affordable
  3. Market Factors

    • The inflation deceleration process has halted as prices rise more swiftly
    • A healthy economy remains distant as transportation costs rise
      • Figure 6: Canadian Consumer Price Index, 2020-23
    • Household savings declined precipitously in Q1 2023
      • Figure 7: Canadian household savings rate, Q1 2019-Q1 2023
    • Canada’s aging population will likely put pressure on younger Canadians
      • Figure 8: Canadian population age projections, yearly, 2000-40
    • Diversity among future generations is projected to increase
      • Figure 9: Proportion of visible minority in Canada, 1981-2040
  4. Competitive Strategies

    • TELUS’s Tech for Good program ensures connectivity is accessible for everybody
      • Figure 10: TELUS Facebook ad, 2023
    • Internet access is expanding across Canada
      • Figure 11: TELUS Facebook ad, 2023
    • Canadians can look southward for a glimpse into the future
      • Figure 12: AT&T TikTok post, 2022
      • Figure 13: TP-Link Wi-Fi 7 Product Launch Event, 2022
    • Data security is top of mind for consumers
      • Figure 14: Turn on Advanced Security for Rogers Ignite Internet Using the Ignite Wi-Fi Hub App, 2022
      • Figure 15: TELUS Online Security with Coach Katie: App set up, 2023
      • Figure 16: Bell Canada password Facebook post, 2023
  5. Fast Facts: Accessing the Internet

  6. Device Usage

    • Mobile devices are most commonly used to access the internet
      • Figure 17: Internet-connected devices used in the past 12 months, 2023
    • Age is a determining factor in device usage
      • Figure 18: Internet-connected devices used in the past 12 months, by age, 2023
    • Canada’s minority demographics have slightly different device access patterns
      • Figure 19: Internet-connected devices used in the past 12 months (select), by race, 2023
    • Newer Canadians are not using streaming devices
      • Figure 20: Internet-connected devices used in the past 12 months (select), newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
  7. Home Internet Providers

    • Bell is Canada’s top home internet provider
      • Figure 21: Home internet providers, 2023
      • Figure 22: Home internet providers, by region, 2023
    • Younger, lower income and newer Canadian consumers use Fido
    • A variety of cost-saving measures would entice consumers to switch ISPs
      • Figure 23: ISP switching motivations other than price, 2023
      • Figure 24: TELUS TikTok ad, 2022
  8. Mobile Network Providers

    • 5G usage has increased significantly since mid 2022
      • Figure 25: 5G activity, 2022 vs 2023
    • More consumers are more unsure of what 5G is than they let on
      • Figure 26: I am aware that the 5G connection option on some Wi-Fi networks is different from 5G mobile networks (% agree), 2023
    • Consumers are more open-minded about their mobile providers
      • Figure 27: Mobile network providers, 2023
      • Figure 28: TELUS Instagram post, 2022
    • Mobile network subscriptions also see different activity by region
      • Figure 29: Mobile network providers, by region, 2023
    • Younger consumers are driving flanker brand usage
      • Figure 30: Mobile flanker brands, by age, 2023
      • Figure 31: Lucky Mobile Instagram ad, January 2022
    • Fido is the top mobile brand for newer Canadians
      • Figure 32: Mobile flanker brands, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
      • Figure 33: Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund – Moksha Canada Foundation, 2022
    • Wireless consumers most interested in incentives and bundles
      • Figure 34: TELUS | Introducing Stream+, 2022
      • Figure 35: Motivations to switch mobile network providers, 2023
  9. Online Activities

    • Most consumers are accessing the internet for work and communication
      • Figure 36: Online activities typically participated in, 2023
    • Older consumers engage in activities that need less data
      • Figure 37: Online activities typically participated in, by age, 2023
      • Figure 38: Bell Instagram post, 2023
      • Figure 39: Bell Twitter post, 2023
      • Figure 40: TELUS Facebook post, 2022
    • Lower income Canadians still participate in high usage online activities
      • Figure 41: Online activities typically participated in, by household income, 2023
    • Over the course of the pandemic, unlimited home internet has become a necessity
      • Figure 42: Attitudes towards data and the internet (% agree), 2023
    • Younger consumers were significantly more likely to report needing unlimited internet
      • Figure 43: Attitudes towards data and the internet (% agree), by age, 2023
    • South Asian consumers place higher value on mobile data for their lifestyles
      • Figure 44: Unlimited data attitudes (% agree), Chinese and South Asian consumers vs overall, 2023
    • Consumers frequently engage in high-usage mobile activities and utilize data-tracking tools
      • Figure 45: Frequency of online activities (select), 2023
      • Figure 46: TELUS | Keeping your devices safe: downloading and installing apps, June 2022
    • Younger consumers are more likely to stream mobile video and download large files
      • Figure 47: Mobile usage activities (net any frequency), by age, 2023
      • Figure 48: Bell Instagram post, February 2022
  10. Wi-Fi Versus Hotspots

    • When on-the-go, public Wi-Fi usage surpasses hotspots
      • Figure 49: Wi-Fi and hotspot usage, 2023
    • Younger consumers are more avid hotspot users
      • Figure 50: Wi-Fi and hotspot usage (net any frequency), by age, 2023
    • Men are looking for wider network coverage at home
      • Figure 51: Using a wireless hotspot at home (net any frequency), by age and gender, 2023
      • Figure 52: Utilize mesh or Wi-Fi extension devices (net any frequency), by age and gender, 2023
    • Most Canadians agree extenders are effective, but can be frustrating to set up
      • Figure 53: Wi-Fi attitudes (% agree), 2023
    • Older and younger consumers both find smart home device set-up frustrating
      • Figure 54: Setting up and connecting new smart devices to home networks is frustrating (% agree), by age and gender, 2023
    • Consumers are starting to recognize the benefits of mobile hotspots
      • Figure 55: Hotspot attitudes (% agree), 2023
    • Younger men are more security-conscious when it comes to hotspot usage
      • Figure 56: I use mobile hotspots over public Wi-Fi for security reasons (% agree), by age and gender, 2023
    • Minority consumers are significantly more concerned with security than Canadians overall
      • Figure 57: I use mobile hotspots over public Wi-Fi for security reasons (% agree), by race, 2023
  11. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Mintel Trend Drivers
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

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