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October 6 , 2009

NA youth can't get enough Internet, study finds
18-34 year olds online almost 30 hours a week

Americans like football, MySpace, and text messaging. Canadians like hockey, Facebook, and playing the lottery. And both just can’t get enough of the Internet. These are some of the findings from an Ipsos study that investigated the behaviors, lifestyles and habits of American and Canadian young adults ages 18-34, the emerging market of young consumers.

“Bombarded by changing technology and a barrage of marketing messages, North American young adults are living in a culture unlike anything we’ve seen before,” says Paul Lauzon, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid. “But when it comes to the way Americans and Canadians in the 18-34 year-old age group play, communicate, and use media, it is a sure bet there are cultural differences and nuances marketers need to understand to better reach this audience.”

When asked about their leisure activity time, Americans and Canadians have a clear affinity for the Internet and television. Young adults in both countries reported nearly an identical amount of time spent on the Internet each week: Americans reported being “actively connected to the Internet” an average of 28 hours per week; Canadians reported being connected one hour less over the same time frame.

On a daily average, Americans in the age group watch about an hour more television per day than Canadians. On weekdays, Americans reported watching an average of 5.9 hours per day, Canadians watched 4.8 hours. On weekends, Americans watched an average of 5.5 hours, Canadians watched 4.6.

Media usage

The Internet and mobile devices have revolutionized the way people connect and communicate and that is evident in the way people have engaged in communication through their devices and online social networks.

A marked cultural difference is noted in text messaging. Americans really like text messaging, sending and receiving an average of 129.6 text messages per week. That is nearly double the Canadian average of 78.7 messages per week.

Both groups enjoy online social networking, but do so quite differently. Canadians in the age group are big on Facebook with 81% having registered a profile compared to only 57% in the U.S. But Americans are more into MySpace – 54% have registered compared to 23% in Canada.

“What this is telling us is that young adults in North America are really plugged into their friends and technologies, but there are differences between Americans and Canadians in how and what they use,” adds McAra. “There are opportunities here for marketers to reach out to the emerging market through these media, as long as they understand how they are being used and who is using them. For those in the lottery and gaming sector, the interest in playing games on the Internet and the comfort with mobile and online communication are critical factors in determining and creating new and innovative product offerings.

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