CIRA Factbook points out digital divide

Canadians are a conservative folk that have taken slowly to the Internet. But when we do we show no loyalty to the country, according to a new report.

Two out of every three dollars Canadians spend online go south of the border, says the 2014 Factbook put out by the Canadian Internet Registry Authority (CIRA), which manages the .ca domain.

However, that number may have been influenced by the high Canadian dollar. With the loonie falling Canadians may be more willing to spend here.

The factbook also notes we lag the U.S. and the U.K. in terms of the percentage of our retail economy that is online (three per cent, versus seven and 23 per cent, respectively).

The study also notes the digital divide between high and low income earners.  Only 62 per cent of Canadians in the lowest income quartile have Internet access, compared with 95 per cent of Canadians in the highest income quartile.

Other facts include:

  • Only 45.5 per cent of Canadian businesses are online. This divide is particularly evident among small businesses, with only 41.1 per cent having a website, versus 91.8 per cent of large enterprises;
  • The percentage of smartphone users who use their device to watch video or television increased by 21 percentage points last year, to 37 per cent;
  • Almost 24 million Canadians, or 69 per cent of us, visited at least one social networking site last year;
  • The average Canadian visited 3,731 web pages per month last year, the highest in the world. We also ranked a close second behind the U.S. for the average number of hours spent online per user;
  • Canadians continue to be heavy consumers of online video, ranking second in the world behind the U.K., at 24.8 hours per month;

The annual factbook is a collection of data from CIRA research plus data from Statistics Canada, Ipsos Reid, ComScore, Websense, TNS Digital Life and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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