Description

Despite some monumental developments in the tech space over the past few years, like the widespread adoption of 5G and exciting developments in the AR/VR space, there really hasn’t been much disruption in the smartphone space. The “Big 3” still dominate market share under their brand umbrellas that include flanker and budget options for consumers, while Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the smartphone market having captured nearly 80% of consumer business.”

Michael Lloy
Senior Tech & Media Analyst

Key issues covered in this Report

  • What mobile service providers are consumers using.
  • What smartphone brands do consumers own. What brands have they bought in the past 12 years.
  • What types of mobile service plans do consumers subscribe to.
  • Reasons consumers changed their mobile service plans in the past 12 months
  • What smartphone hardware or service-related actions consumers take to save money
  • Factors consumers consider when purchasing a mobile phone.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

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

    • Top takeaways
    • Consumer trends
    • Nearly half of consumers subscribe to “the Big 3”
      • Figure 1: Primary mobile service provider, 2023
    • Consumers generally aren’t open to switching smartphone providers
      • Figure 2: Motivation for mobile provider switch vs actual reason for switch, 2022 vs 2023
    • Apple and Samsung corner the smartphone market, but Google is creeping upwards
    • Competitive strategies
    • TELUS’ Tech for Good program ensures connectivity is accessible for everybody
      • Figure 3: TELUS Facebook ad, June 2023
    • Data security is top of mind for consumers
      • Figure 4: Google Twitter post, September 2022
    • Canadians can look southward for a glimpse into the future
      • Figure 5: AT&T TikTok post, February 2022
    • Market Predictions
    • High mortgage interested rates and food inflation are squeezing consumers
    • Household savings declined precipitously in Q1 2023
    • With more affordable data, the future is bright for mobile service providers
      • Figure 6: Category outlook for smartphones plans and hardware, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Newer Canadians are a key growth target
    • Brands currently aren’t serving the desire for unlimited data plans
  3. Market Factors

    • Inflation deceleration resumes after a spike in April 2023
    • High mortgage interested rates and food inflation are squeezing consumers
      • Figure 7: Canadian Consumer Price Index, January 2020-June 2023
    • Household savings declined precipitously in Q1 2023
      • Figure 8: Canadian household savings rate, Q1 2019-Q1 2023
    • Canada’s aging population will likely put pressure on younger Canadians
      • Figure 9: Canadian population age projections, yearly, 2000-40
    • Diversity among future generations is projected to increase
      • Figure 10: Proportion of visible minority in Canada, 1981-2036
  4. Competitive Strategies

    • TELUS’ Tech for Good program ensures connectivity is accessible for everybody
      • Figure 11: TELUS Facebook ad, June 2023
    • Canadians can look southward for a glimpse into the future
      • Figure 12: AT&T TikTok post, February 2022
      • Figure 13: TP-Link Wi-Fi 7 Product Launch Event, November 2022
    • Data security is top of mind for consumers
      • Figure 14: Google Twitter post, September 2022
      • Figure 15: Turn on Advanced Security for Rogers Ignite Internet Using the Ignite Wi-Fi Hub App, January 2022
      • Figure 16: TELUS Online Security with Coach Katie: App set up, March 2023
      • Figure 17: Bell Canada password Facebook post, May 2023
    • Can Apple solve some of the more widespread issues with foldable smartphones?
    • The expansion of mobile cash registers highlight the importance of payment app functionality in smartphone devices
      • Figure 18: Samsung Facebook post, February 2023
  5. Fast Facts: Smartphones – Plans and Hardware

  6. Mobile Service Providers

    • The “Big 3” continue to lead the market
      • Figure 19: Primary mobile service provider, 2023
    • Income plays a pivotal role in provider choice
      • Figure 20: Primary mobile service provider, by household income, 2023
      • Figure 21: Bell Canada paid Facebook ad, March 2023
      • Figure 22: Chatr paid Facebook ad, July 2023
    • Region also plays a significant part in provider choice
      • Figure 23: Primary mobile service provider, by region, 2023
    • Larger providers face fiercer competition in urban and suburban locations
      • Figure 24: Primary mobile service provider, by location type, 2023
    • Newer Canadians gravitate towards budget and flanker brands
      • Figure 25: Primary mobile service provider, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
      • Figure 26: Fido as primary mobile service provider, by race, 2023
      • Figure 27: Fido paid Facebook ad, May 2023
  7. Mobile Service Plan Choices

    • Post-paid wireless plans better serve the majority of Canadians
      • Figure 28: Wireless plan type, 2023
    • Younger Canadian price consciousness drives plan choice, but the allure of the newest devices remains
      • Figure 29: Wireless plan type, by age, 2023
    • Pre-paid plans are specifically popular among lower-income younger consumers
      • Figure 30: Pre-paid wireless plan ownership (NET), by age and income, 2023
    • Brands should consider diverse marketing when promoting pre-paid mobile service plans
      • Figure 31: Wireless plan type, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
      • Figure 32: Chatr online banner ad, September 2022
    • Promote BYOD options to Chinese Canadians
      • Figure 33: BYOD wireless plan ownership, Chinese Canadians vs overall, 2023
    • Opportunities exist to expand unlimited plan subscriptions
      • Figure 34: Data plan type, 2020 vs 2022 vs 2023
    • Lower income and younger Canadians eschew unlimited plans for cheaper options
      • Figure 35: Unlimited data plan ownership, by age, 2023
      • Figure 36: Unlimited data plan ownership, by household income, 2023
  8. Switching Plans

    • Churn remains very low for mobile service providers
      • Figure 37: Changed mobile service provider in past 12 months, 2023
    • Younger men are specifically susceptible to consumer siphoning
      • Figure 38: Changed mobile service providers in the past 12 months: yes, by age and gender, 2023
    • Many Chinese consumers who considered switching in 2022 did not pull the trigger
      • Figure 39: Changed mobile service providers in the past 12 months: yes, by race, 2023
    • Newer Canadians may try multiple providers while they find their footing
      • Figure 40: Changed mobile service providers in the past 12 months: yes, newer Canadians vs overall, 2023
    • Price-related concerns are the top reasons for switching
      • Figure 41: Motivation for mobile provider switch vs actual reason for switch, 2022 vs 2023
    • Brands should offer consumers the ability to downgrade throughout retention efforts
      • Figure 42: Plan-related cost-saving measures, 2023
    • South Asian consumers are prime targets for flanker and budget brands
      • Figure 43: Switch to a different provider to save money, by race, 2023
    • Younger men are more open to switch to pre-paid service
      • Figure 44: Would shift to a pre-paid plan to save money, by age and gender, 2023
    • Canadians want the government to regulate mobile plan prices
      • Figure 45: Mobile service plan attitudes, 2023
  9. Device choices

    • Apple edges out over Samsung in share of device ownership and purchases
      • Figure 46: Brand of smartphone currently used, 2023
      • Figure 47: Smartphone brands purchased in the past 12 months, 2023
    • Women are driving Apple device ownership, but younger men rival them in purchase rates
      • Figure 48: Apple brand usage and purchases, by age and gender, 2023
      • Figure 49: Google Pixel Facebook post, October 2022
    • Affluent consumers lean into Apple ownership
      • Figure 50: Apple and Samsung usage and purchases, by household income, 2023
    • Samsung needs to work harder to engage younger consumers
      • Figure 51: Samsung brand ownership, men vs women, by age, 2023
    • The Google Pixel is making waves among younger consumers
      • Figure 52: Google brand usage and purchases within the past 12 months, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 53: Google Pixel TikTok post, December 2022
    • Consumers generally aren’t willing to compromise on brand
      • Figure 54: Hardware cost-saving measures, 2023
    • South Asian consumers are most likely to explore different brand options
      • Figure 55: Buy a lesser-known smartphone brand as a cost-saving measures, by race, 2023
  10. Smartphone Purchase Motivations

    • Price is the top concern for consumers when choosing a smartphone
      • Figure 56: Smartphone purchase factors, 2023
    • Security is important to all consumers
      • Figure 57: Google Pixel Facebook video, October 2022
      • Figure 58: Importance of smartphone security, by race, 2023
    • Niche and entertainment-related device features are ranked less important than security and affordability
    • Younger consumers are more interested in non-price related smartphone features
      • Figure 59: Smartphone device purchase factors (% very important), by age, 2023
      • Figure 60: Google Pixel Fold Facebook post, May 2023
    • Brands should promote camera quality to younger women
      • Figure 61: Smartphone camera quality (% very important), by age and gender, 2023
      • Figure 62: Google Pixel Instagram post, April 2023
    • Canadians are waiting longer to upgrade, so brands need to ensure they meet consumer standards
      • Figure 63: Smartphone purchase attitudes, 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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