Description

“The digital tech industry has been a focal point since the start of the pandemic, as digital tools quickly became household necessities. Now after more than a year, it is clear that the demand for digital tech has stabilized and that there are new opportunities emerging in the industry.
Demand for new smartphones will be the catalyst for 5G service adoption as those networks roll out, while video calls are poised to cement themselves as a common method of communication. Looking ahead, the increased dependence on digital tools will make mobile networks even more important once consumers take these connected behaviours outside the home and back into the world.”
– Scott Stewart, Senior Tech & Media Research Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Digital tech purchases made recently
  • What tech consumers would buy if they had extra savings left over
  • The proportion of consumers who have 5G service, devices or awareness
  • The digital security threats that consumers are most concerned about
  • What digital activities consumers have done during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic
  • A comparison of current attitudes towards technology to 2019 attitudes

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

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

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                • Impact of COVID-19 on digital tech
                  • Figure 1: Immediate, short and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on digital technology, 2021
                • Opportunities
                  • Tech purchases remained stable to start 2021
                    • There are more opportunities on the horizon, too
                      • Challenges
                        • Trust issues will be a barrier for some digital innovations
                          • Not all digital tech behaviours reached a wider audience during the pandemic
                          • The Market – Key Takeaways

                            • After a year of changes, more are on their way
                            • The Market – By the Numbers

                              • Electronics retail trade sales are increasing
                                • Figure 2: Retail trade sales: electronics and appliance stores, 2019-21
                                • Figure 3: Retail ecommerce sales, 2019-21
                              • Cellular services prices decline
                                • Figure 4: Cellular services price index, 2020-21
                            • Market Factors

                              • Household savings supported by government, but also lower expenditures
                                • Figure 5: Household saving rate, 2018-21
                                • Figure 6: Household saving rate metrics, 2018-21
                              • Chip shortages will impact digital tech sales
                                • Canadian government auctions the latest 5G frequency
                                  • Digital security threats are on the rise
                                    • Large Canadian businesses reported increases in cybersecurity incidents
                                      • Figure 7: Business cybersecurity incidents in 2020 compared to 2019, 2021
                                    • Canadians are being attacked individually, too
                                      • Figure 8: Internet security and privacy-related incidents experienced, 2018 and 2020
                                    • Impact of COVID-19 on digital tech
                                      • Immediate impacts (2020)
                                        • Short term (2021)
                                          • Recovery (2022-25)
                                          • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                            • Digital innovation is centred on mobile devices
                                            • Competitive Strategies

                                              • Smartphone brands are making 5G devices the new norm
                                                • 5G availability remains limited
                                                  • Mobile operating system improvements make security more important
                                                    • Video calls have become a strategic focal point
                                                      • Artificial intelligence is moving beyond digital voice assistants
                                                      • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                        • Recent digital tech purchases
                                                          • Tech categories where consumers spend extra money
                                                            • 5G awareness, devices and subscriptions
                                                              • Digital security and privacy
                                                                • COVID-19 tech behaviours
                                                                  • Attitudes towards digital tech
                                                                  • Recent Digital Tech Purchases

                                                                    • Smartphones were the leading purchase in the past six months
                                                                      • Figure 9: Digital tech purchases in the past six months, 2021
                                                                    • Younger consumers drive smartphone purchases
                                                                      • Figure 10: Purchased a smartphone in the past six months, by age, 2021
                                                                    • Income does not play a role
                                                                      • Figure 11: Purchased a smartphone in the past six months, by age and household income, 2021
                                                                    • Smartphone sales will drive 5G adoption
                                                                      • Figure 12: Samsung Canada Instagram post, 2021
                                                                    • PCs and tablets continued to perform after initial spike in demand
                                                                      • Younger consumers drove sales of both devices
                                                                        • Figure 13: Digital tech purchases in the past six months: PCs and tablets, by age, 2021
                                                                      • Young families are buying PCs and tablets
                                                                        • Figure 14: Digital tech purchases in the past six months: PCs and tablets, by presence of children in household, 2021
                                                                      • Television demand remained steady
                                                                        • New tech had good momentum, but still trails established devices
                                                                          • Figure 15: Digital tech purchases in the past six months: smart home devices and wearable technology, by age, 2021
                                                                      • Tech Categories where Consumers Spend Extra Money

                                                                          • Smartphones are the leading excess purchase
                                                                            • Figure 16: Most likely digital expenditures with extra savings, 2021
                                                                            • Figure 17: Would purchase a new smartphone with extra savings, by age, 2021
                                                                          • Interest in new smartphones is higher among multicultural Canadians
                                                                            • Figure 18: Would purchase a new smartphone with extra savings, by race, 2021
                                                                          • Smartphone interest is highest among those who may not be able to afford it
                                                                            • Figure 19: Would purchase a new smartphone with extra savings, by current financial situation, 2021
                                                                          • TVs and video games illustrate a divide across age groups
                                                                              • Figure 20: Most likely digital expenditures with extra savings: TVs and video games, by age, 2021
                                                                            • Service upgrades are an afterthought
                                                                              • Smartphones could be a tool to drive these expenditures
                                                                                • Figure 21: Most likely digital expenditures with extra savings: streaming subscriptions and mobile plan upgrades, by age, 2021
                                                                              • An opportunity for new tech to stand out
                                                                                • Millennial homeowners should be the key target for smart home devices
                                                                                  • Figure 22: Millennials’ most likely digital expenditures with extra savings, homeowners vs renters, 2021
                                                                                • Wearable tech can be targeted at dads with extra savings
                                                                                  • Figure 23: Would purchase wearable technology with extra savings, by parental status and gender, 2021
                                                                              • 5G Awareness, Devices and Subscriptions

                                                                                • Most Canadians are now aware of 5G
                                                                                  • Figure 24: 5G awareness, device ownership and subscriptions, 2021
                                                                                • Devices will be a key driver of service adoption
                                                                                  • Higher-income households are the most likely to subscribe to 5G
                                                                                    • Figure 25: 5G device ownership and subscriptions, by household income, 2021
                                                                                  • Younger consumers are more likely to use/own 5G
                                                                                    • Figure 26: 5G device ownership and subscriptions, by age, 2021
                                                                                  • Most consumers will get 5G, but many are not in a rush
                                                                                    • Younger consumers are the most interested in getting 5G soon
                                                                                      • Figure 27: Expectations for getting 5G, by age, 2021
                                                                                    • Quebec will pose a challenge for 5G
                                                                                      • Figure 28: Expectations for getting 5G, overall vs Quebec, 2021
                                                                                  • Digital Security and Privacy

                                                                                      • Online credit card theft is more concerning than in-store
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Credit card security concerns, by age, 2021
                                                                                      • Credit card security is an opportunity for large online retailers
                                                                                        • Two thirds worry about personal information being stolen
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Personal information concerns, by age, 2021
                                                                                        • More consumers are worried about a PC virus than a mobile device one
                                                                                          • Older consumers drive concerns about computer viruses
                                                                                            • Figure 31: Computer and mobile virus concerns, by age, 2021
                                                                                          • Mobile device security could be leveraged into more app usage
                                                                                          • COVID-19 Tech Behaviours

                                                                                            • Video calls will be the lasting tech legacy of the pandemic
                                                                                              • Figure 32: Video calls before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021
                                                                                            • Increases have been the biggest among groups who were not using video calls
                                                                                              • Figure 33: Group video calls before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, by age, 2021
                                                                                              • Figure 34: Group video calls before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, by race and origin, 2021
                                                                                            • Many digital activities were driven by existing users
                                                                                              • Figure 35: Digital activities before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021
                                                                                            • Restaurant apps had some momentum among older Canadians, but were generally consistent
                                                                                              • Figure 36: Order a restaurant meal via the restaurant’s mobile app before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, by age, 2021
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Order a restaurant meal via third-party mobile app before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, by age, 2021
                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Digital Tech

                                                                                            • Consumer attitudes towards new tech are settling
                                                                                              • Figure 38: Any positive impact of emerging tech on society (NET: % very/somewhat positive), 2019 vs 2021
                                                                                              • Figure 39: Neither positive nor negative impact of emerging tech on society, 2019 vs 2021
                                                                                            • Young men remain the most positive about new technologies
                                                                                              • Figure 40: Any positive impact of emerging tech on society (NET: % very/somewhat positive), 18-34-year-old men vs overall, 2021
                                                                                              • Figure 41: 18-34-year-old men: any positive impact of emerging tech on society (NET: % very/somewhat positive), 2019 vs 2021
                                                                                              • Figure 42: YouTube visit frequency, 18-34-year-old men vs overall, 2021
                                                                                            • Cryptocurrency is showing potential for wider acceptance
                                                                                              • Figure 43: Impact of cryptocurrency on society, 2019 vs 2021
                                                                                            • Consumers less confident in the capabilities of artificial intelligence
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Trust artificial intelligence to do tasks well, 2019 vs 2021
                                                                                              • Figure 45: 18-34s: trust artificial intelligence to do tasks well, 2019 vs 2021
                                                                                            • Thermostats can learn from other AI capabilities
                                                                                              • AI needs to tout convenience while assuaging security concerns
                                                                                                • Figure 46: Trust artificial intelligence to do tasks well, by concern about smart home hacks, 2021
                                                                                                • Figure 47: Trust artificial intelligence to do tasks well, by interest in home automation, 2021
                                                                                            • 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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