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October 19, 2010

Canada trails behind emerging markets
in many online behaviours

Massive digital research project reveals we're less "friendly" than we thought

Covering 88% of the world's online population through 50,000 interviews with consumers in 46 countries, including all of the BRICs ( Brazil, Russia, India and China), Digital Day by TNS reveals a number of very significant findings and provides indicators for the future of the world's online behaviour.

"This study covers more than twice the markets of any other research of this kind. So, it will really allow us to determine Canada's position in the online world." said Michael Ennamorato, TNS Canada's Managing Director. "Plus, we have taken the research to the next level by going beyond basic behaviour to provide more detailed data into attitudes and emotional drivers of that behaviour."

A main take-away is that when it comes to online behaviours, Canada, despite being a mature market with advanced infrastructure, is being hopscotched by the rapid growth markets:

Canada lags in digital engagement. When looking at behaviour online, rapid growth markets such as Egypt (56%) and China (54%) have much higher levels of digital engagement - that is, they are more active with the technology - than mature markets such as Canada (37%), Japan (20%), Denmark (25%) or Finland (26%).

Canadians aren't much for blogging. The research shows seven out of eight online users in China (88%) and over half of those in Brazil (51%) have written their own blog or forum entry, compared with only 27% in Canada and 32% in the US.

Canadians are average picture-sharers. The number of online consumers who have ever uploaded photos to social networks or photo sharing sites is 92% in Thailand, 88% in Malaysia and 87% in Vietnam. A much smaller 60% upload in Canada, although this compares favourably with the online populations of other countries. In Japan, less than a third (28%) and in Germany less than half (48%) have uploaded photos to such sites.

Canadians do less social networking, more email. In rapid growth markets such    as Latin America, the Middle East and China, the average time spent, per week, on social networking is 5.2 hours compared with only 4 hours on email. Online consumers in mature markets remain more reliant on email, spending 5.1 hours checking their inboxes compared with just 3.8 hours on social networking. Canadians are no exception, spending 4.6 hours on email and 3.8 on social networking.

Canadians also spend less time on social networking sites on their mobile devices. Logging only 1.8 hours on social networking sites and 1.7 hours emailing, Canadians are well-below global mobile users, who spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites, compared with just 2.2 hours on email.

Canadians will be slower to transition social networking on mobile phones. Perhaps fuelled by the need for instant gratification, consumers in rapid growth markets expect to use their mobile phones more often for social networking in the future. Indeed, the movement to social networking on mobiles will be fast and furious. In Turkey, well over half (56%) of online consumers expect their use of social networking on a mobile to increase in the next 12 months. It's 69% in Indonesia, 70% Vietnam and 77% in Brazil. In mature markets those numbers are much lower: 44% in Australia, 37% in Canada and 36% in the US.

It turns out, we're not that "friendly." When it comes to who has more online "friends," online consumers in Malaysia top the list with an average of 233 friends in their social network, closely followed by Brazilians with 231. The least social are the Japanese with just 29 friends and Tanzanians who have, on average, 38 in their circle of friends. Surprisingly, Chinese consumers only have an average of 68 friends in their networks despite being heavy users of social networking sites, indicating a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships. Canadians, with an average of 150 friends, fall behind Belgians, but ahead of Australians.

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