Canadians love online financial sites: surveys

Canadians are surfing business and financial sites more than ever before; suggest two Internet surveys released Monday.

A Media Metrix Canada survey reported that over the last six months 5.6 million Canadians visited a business/finance site from their homes. According to Media Metrix 43 per cent of Canadians on the Internet visited a business or finance site in February 2001 – an increase of more than 36 per cent, Media Metrix said.

Lisa Eaton, vice-president and general manager at Media Metrix said that Canada remains among the leaders in usage of online financial services and this is good news for the banks and financial sites.

Canada ranked just behind the United States where 44 per cent of Internet surfers where visiting financial sites, Media Metrix reported.

Vipul Patel, director and senior analyst with Jupiter Media Metrix, said that the results indicated that Canada’s traditional banks headed up the top of the list for financial sites visited and this was because Canadians had moved from just visiting sites for more information to using the Internet to manage their financial affairs.

According to Media Metrix each visitor to a business or financial related site spent an average of 39 minutes in the month on a site or about eight minutes on each of five different usage days. Demographically, business and financial site visitors were more likely to be adults over the age of 35. Business and financial site visitors were also more likely to have an annual household income greater than $100,000.

On average 13,072,000 Canadians visited Web sites or used digital media applications such as instant messaging services in the month of February remaining at a stable level versus the month of January, Media Metrix reported. On an average day, 5,677,000 Canadian unique visitors were posted. In total, Canadians spent 10.6 billion minutes surfing the Internet at home in the month of February. While the total number of visitors remained stable, usage intensity per visitor on the Internet decreased slightly in all measures including time spent, pages visited and usage days from the previous month, Media Metrix reported.

Meanwhile, the news release service, Canada NewsWire, released their Web site survey Monday and reported that 72 per cent of 6,500 Canadians surveyed said they were interested in business news first. Rounding out the top five categories in order of importance were investment news (50 per cent), high-tech news (44 per cent), government news (41 per cent) and banks & financial services news (32 per cent), Canada NewsWire said.

According to Canada NewsWire president and CEO Tom Enright visitors to his company’s site followed the pattern of activity of the stock markets. Enright said that there are definitive traffic peaks at the opening and closing of the market and during lunch hour.