According to recent cell phone statistics, Canada is one of the world’s best connected countries in terms of mobile communication. In certain age groups, almost everyone has a smartphone, and many don’t use a landline service at all anymore. Even the most senior population is showing steady smartphone adoption rates.
At the same time, the mobile plan pricing in Canada is among the highest in the world, showing no sign of potential decrease to match that of other countries. The major telecommunication companies’ revenues continue to skyrocket while Canadians wonder why they’re paying so much more than the Americans, the Brits or the French, for example.
Do you want to know the reasons? Keep on reading, we’ll get there.
Smashing Smartphone Usage Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- There were 33 million mobile subscribers in Canada in 2019.
- 86.1% of Canadian households have at least one smartphone.
- There will be 31.88 million smartphone users in Canada in 2021.
- 95% of Canadian Millennials own a smartphone.
- For 56.1% of Canadians, checking their phone is the last thing they do before falling asleep.
- 73% of Canadians spend almost four hours a day online.
- 26% of car accidents happen due to phone usage.
- Young Canadians have around eight phone accessories on average.
- Rogers Wireless dominates the market with a 32.4% market share.
- Apple held seven spots on the top ten best selling smartphone list in 2020.
Cell Phone Use In Canada
1. There were over 33 million mobile subscribers in Canada in 2019.
(Source: Statista, Statista)
The number of subscribers and mobile phones in Canada has constantly been rising over the last decade and pushing landline usage to the background. Cell phone statistics for Canada in 2019 reveal that during the year, over 33 million people had a wireless service subscription with one of the top phone carriers in Canada – Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless, or Telus Mobility.
Altogether, there were 92.53 mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2019, data from November 2020 reveals.
2. Only one in five households used a cell phone as their only communication device in 2013.
(Source: Wireless Warehouse)
Cell phone statistics show only around 21% of Canadians were using a cell phone as a sole communication tool in 2013. The same year, up to 60% of Canadians under 35 reported using only a cell phone in their household. This percentage rose from 26% in 2008.
3. 86.1% of households in Canada have at least one smartphone.
(Source: Statistics Canada)
Data on average phone usage in Canada shows that around 86.1% of households own a smartphone, while only 71.9% have a landline telephone service.
Let’s have a look at the Canadian smartphone ownership rate by province:
- Alberta 93.4%
- Saskatchewan 91.1%
- British Columbia 88.5%
- Ontario 88.1%
- Newfoundland and Labrador 86.4%
- Manitoba 85.1%
- New Brunswick 82.8%
- Nova Scotia 83.2%
- Prince Edward Island 83.8%
- Quebec 79%
And the percentage of households with a landline phone, by province:
- New Brunswick 84.1%
- Newfoundland and Labrador 83.6%
- Prince Edward Island 77.3%
- Quebec 77%
- Manitoba 76.1%
- Nova Scotia 75%
- British Columbia 70.7%
- Ontario 69.2%
- Saskatchewan 68.7%
- Alberta 65.2%
4. In 2020, there were 29.83 million mobile internet users in Canada.
(Source: Statista, Statista)
This number is expected to reach 33 million by 2025.
Mobile internet user penetration is higher than ever at 79%. And it’s expected to grow to 86.1% in 2025, as Canadians are increasingly turning away from desktop usage for both work and private life communication. As a result, the share of internet traffic from mobile devices has jumped to 47%.
5. Mobile ad spending surpassed the $5 billion mark in 2019.
The term “mobile first” is growing increasingly popular in the marketing sector, as professionals recognize the need to shift the flow of advertising budgets to cater to the continually increasing number of smartphone users.
Thus, over a third of Canada’s advertising money in 2018 was spent on mobile. And by 2019, mobile ads’ spendings went over $5 billion – a whopping 37.5% rise from 2017.
Interestingly, messaging apps and mobile games have emerged as essential advertising channels, just next to social media and web browsers.
6. Canadians consumed 2.9 GB of data per month on average in 2019.
This figure marked an impressive 45% increase from 2017. Additionally, around 56.5% of Canadians had mobile data plans 5GB or larger in 2019.
Good user experience may be behind that trend, and the numbers support it. Last year, Canada’s unlimited data plans ranked first among the G7 plus Australia countries, prized for their speed, access, price, and latency.
7. 31.88 million Canadians will use smartphones in 2021.
This would represent a steady rise from the 31.38 million recorded in 2020 and 29.88 million in 2018.
The predictions, published in December 2020, are that the number will grow to 32.3 million in 2022 and 32.67 in 2023 before reaching 33 million in 2024.
8. Canada still hasn’t reached a smartphone adoption plateau, as older Canadians increase usage by 6% year over year.
After a certain point, the cell phone adoption rate starts to plateau in most countries. Canada hasn’t reached that point yet, though. For example, in the United Kingdom, that plateau happened at 88%.
While other devices have already reached that stage, smartphone usage was still on the rise in Canada in 2019, standing at 83% after a 5% increase from 2018 to 2019. According to cell phone use statistics for Canada, the growth is even more visible compared to that recorded in 2015 when the adoption rate was just 71%.
Researchers witnessed a significant rise in mobile usage in the group of Canadians aged 55 to 75, where the adoption rate increased by 6% in 2019 to reach 69%.
9. 40% of Canadians spent more money on smartphones during the Covid-19 pandemic, cell phone statistics for Canada from 2020 reveal.
(Source: Mobile Syrup)
Around 44% of Canadians report spending more money online on technology during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, 40% of consumers have been spending more on smartphones.
Poll respondents also admitted to paying more money for video streaming services and home and mobile internet. Meanwhile, up to 96% of Canadians said they had spent less on short-term rentals and travel during this time.
Canadian Internet Usage Statistics – Habits, Age, and Gender
10. Canadians spend 52% of their digital time on mobile devices.
(Source: Eye In)
Studies on smartphone usage in Canada show Canadians spend just over half of their digital time on mobile devices. While that may sound like a lot, Americans spend more time on mobile devices – 61%.
Cell phone ownership statistics for Canada further reveal that three out of four people own a smartphone.
11. 95% of Canadian Millennials own a smartphone.
(Source: Eye In)
According to cell phone usage statistics by age, Canada has a high rate of smartphone ownership rate among the younger population. Virtually all Millennials have smartphones. The group aged 18 to 34 also spends around 60% of its digital time mobile.
Data also reveals that Millennials in Canada spend around 3.2 hours a day using their mobile devices, which amounts to almost a full day out of the entire week.
12. Up to 45.4% of Canadians check their phone at least every 30 minutes.
(Source: Statistics Canada)
Here are some widespread smartphone habits of Canadians older than 15, according to research data from 2018:
- 58.8% own a smartphone
- 56.1% of smartphone users in Canada check their phone right before going to sleep
- 53.6% say they use their while watching television
- 20.6% admit they use their smartphone during dinner
13. Up to 73% of Canadians spend from three to four hours a day online.
A lot of that time is spent on mobile devices. The preferred activities change over time. For instance, instant messaging went from 32% in 2016 to 47% in 2019.
Here’s more insight into Canadians’ online activity:
- 90% check or write emails
- 71% do online banking
- 60% spend time on social media
- 58% read news
- 50% shop online
- 48% browse the internet
- 47% instant message
- 45% research travel options
- 44% research products
- 40% watch videos, movies, or TV
14. Women are more likely to do online banking, while men are twice more likely to trade in stocks.
It’s very common for Canadians to use their smartphones for financial activities, but there are certain gender divides.
Here’s the scoop:
Women are 6% to 8% more likely to check their balance and do online banking but 5% less likely to manage their insurance or investments. They’re also 11% less likely to trade in stocks over the phone.
In contrast, men are twice as likely to buy and sell stocks and shares. They’re also more likely to gamble online – 19% of Canadian men do it, compared to 10% of women.
15. Around 70% of Canadians under 34 play games on their smartphones.
The total percentage across all age groups is 57%.
What’s more:30% of Canadian mobile gamers spend money on games, and 6% of those users spend over $250 a year. Click To Tweet
16. The youngest age group prefers Apple over Samsung by 43%.
All age groups in Canada used Apple 5% more than Samsung in 2019. This average doesn’t paint an accurate picture when it comes to preferred brand and age, though.
18-to-24-year-olds favour Apple by far, 43% more than Samsung, with 62% of Millennials using an Apple device and only 19% using Samsung.
In the next age group, 24 to 34, Apple is still ahead by 12%, while it levels out in the next age bracket. After that, with each new age group, Samsung takes the lead in some groups by as much as 12%.
17. 45% of Canadian women buy Apple, while 31% choose Samsung.
When it comes to gender, women go for Apple more often – 45% opt for it, while 31% buy Samsung.
Regionally, Atlantic Canada uses Samsung more, some 42% compared to Apple’s 30%. In British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the numbers are reversed – 42% for Apple and 30% for Samsung.
18. Young Canadians have eight smartphone accessories on average.
The global smartphone accessories market was expected to reach US$75 billion in 2020.
Cell phone facts and stats show Apple users are more likely to have accessories such as earphones, screen protection, and phone cases.
Age plays a big role when it comes to the number of phone accessories one buys:The age group from 18 to 24 has eight accessories on average, while those between 65 and 75 have half that. Click To Tweet
19. Cell phone usage trends show 26% of car accidents are related to phone use.
A word of warning:
Cell phone statistics for Canada confirm 47% of people admitted to typing or using voice memo while driving. That’s quite alarming, as 26% of all car accidents are related to phone use even when hands-free sets are involved.
Texting takes one’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds, which allows for crossing a distance of a football field without paying any attention. Over one-third of Canadians admit they have texted while standing at a red light.
Canadian Mobile Providers
20. The wireless telecommunications market in Canada is worth $31 billion.
(Source: Ibis World)
The average industry growth for the period from 2015 to 2020 is 3.9%. The number of subscriptions was expected to rise by 4% by the end of 2020, while the number of fixed broadband connections was set to increase by 2.7%.
Additionally, a 2.4% rise in revenue was forecast, as Canadians switch from landline to mobile in greater numbers every year. There are 491 companies with 33,597 workers in this sector.
21. Three major providers own all phone carriers in Canada.
(Source: Moving 2 Canada, Statista)
There are only three big mobile phone companies in Canada – Bell, Telus, and Rogers. These are the Canadian phone providers that own all other brands you might have heard of (Fido, Virgin, Koodo, Public Mobile).
In addition to that, there are only a couple of mobile networks in Canada, infrastructure-wise. Even Telus and Bell share one. This makes it very hard for any competition to emerge on top without astronomical investments. In turn, this allows the three to maintain the current pricing levels.
Check this out:
Cell phone statistics for Canada show that in 2019, Bell Mobility had 9.96 million mobile subscribers, Rogers Wireless 10.84 million, Telus Mobility 8.73 million, WindMobile 1.7 million, Videotron 1.3 million, and SaskTel Mobility around 609,000.
22. Rogers Wireless dominates Canadian mobile communications, with a 32.4% market share.
(Source: Ibis World)
As mentioned above, the Canadian telecommunications market Rogers, Telus, and Bell.
Let’s take a close look at Canada mobile operators market share:
- Rogers Wireless 32.4%
- Telus Mobility 28.9%
- Bell Mobility 21.2%
- Shaw Communications Inc. 3.6%
- Quebecor Inc. 1.9%
- Other 4.4%
23. 85% of Canadians say the mobile subscription plan they would like to have is too expensive.
Looking at the average cell phone bill, Canada has some of the most expensive plans out there.
They’re 138% more expensive than the equivalent plans in the UK and 156% than those in France.
Mobile users statistics revealed that only 15% of Canadians are able to find a plan that suits them at a price they can afford. The remaining 85% said one of the problems with getting the plan they need was its high price.
24. Apple dominates the Canadian smartphone vendors market, with a 52.93% market share.
(Source: Stat Counter)
Mobile vendor market share in Canada in January 2021:
- Apple 52.93%
- Samsung 28.16%
- Huawei 6.86%
- Google 2.86%
- LG 2.76%
- Motorola 1.4%
25. Apple iPhone sales statistics show Apple held seven spots on the top ten best-selling list in 2020.
(Source: CounterPoint Research)
Apple iPhone 11 was the best selling smartphone in Canada in the first half of 2020. The company had seven devices on the top ten list in Q2.
The other three spots went to Samsung, with Galaxy S10 doing better than the newer Galaxy S20 series. The latter recorded a rise in cell phone sale in Canada as late as June, thanks to increased marketing efforts.
Shockingly, LG recorded a 60% year on year decline, while Motorola diversified its offers through Freedom and Videotron.
26. Motorola is a fan favourite in every price range, from $150 to $550.
(Source: Whistle Out)
Looking at smartphone prices in Canada, here’s what’s trending in different price categories.
- under $150 – Alcatel 1, Samsung Galaxy J2 Core, Motorola Moto E5 Play
- under $300 – Motorola Moto G7 Play, Motorola Moto E6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy A10e
- under $400 – Nokia 6.1, Motorola One Action
- under $550 – Google Pixel 3a, Moto G8 Plus, OnePlus 6T
The Bottom Line
Cell phone statistics for Canada show that mobile gaming is getting increasingly popular. More and more Canadians are playing games on their mobile devices, nudged by the lockdowns and social distancing.
With social networking not slowing down and the steadily growing BYOD trend in the workplace, smartphones have come to be an integral part of our everyday lives to the point of addiction.
And that’s not all:
Smartphone usage statistics reveal a significant number of people spend almost a full day a week on their phones, even for activities such as watching television and movies. It seems smartphone time has surpassed TV as a Canadian favourite screen-related pastime.
iPhone 11 remains the most solved device in 2020. Apple holds seven places in the top ten list of best selling smartphones. Looking at popular Android devices, Samsung Galaxy S9 had a 6.2% market share in Canada last year. Samsung Galaxy S10 and S8 also made it to the top ten most used cell phones in Canada.
When it comes to subscription plans, the average cell phone bill in Canada is $101 a month. Even with the decline of prices from 2016 to 2018, the charges are still higher than in many countries, including the US.
The reason cell phone rates are so high in Canada is simple yet frustrating – there just isn’t enough competition on the market for the three major players to be forced to lower the price in order to be competitive. The cost of infrastructure needed for a potential new provider to enter the market is still too high, and foreign investors are prohibited by law.
Smartphone usage statistics show Canada has outrageously high data prices compared to other wealthy countries. Provinces that do have a stronger fourth carrier already have lower rates. However, cell phone statistics for Canada indicate that with the current prices, Canadian telecom companies are among the most profitable in the world. This leaves them with little or no reason to change the pricing, not without proper competition.
- Ibis World
- Statistics Canada
- Whistle Out
- Global News
- Moving 2 Canada
- Yahoo! Finance
- Statistics Canada
- Counterpoint Research
- Ibis World
- Eye In
- Cell Phones
- Stat Counter
- Wireless Warehouse
- Statistics Canada
- CounterPoint Research
- Mobile Syrup
- National Post
- Whistle Out