Canadian internet users looking more beyond Google and Facebook: report

Facebook, FB Messenger, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps top 5 most used apps

Google and Facebook continue to be the juggernauts that dominate how Canadians use the Internet but a new “non-duopoly” trend may be emerging, suggests a report by the measurement firm comScore.

When looking at how Canadians used the internet throughout 2017, growth in time spent with the Top 100 most popular online properties excluding Facebook and Google sites was consistently strong.

“What we’re starting to see in Canada is folks outside out those two are showing some increases … there’s a growth outside of the duopoly,” said Bryan Segal, comScore’s vice-president of sales, in advance of Thursday’s release of the Global Digital Future in Focus report.

“Time on the internet is not decreasing, it’s just you see there’s other channels (growing) and time is being proportioned (there). There’s definitely a shift.”

Earlier this year, Facebook reported that it saw its numbers of daily active users in the U.S. and Canada decline for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, the growing social media platform Snapchat was highlighted in the comScore report for its growth.

While Snapchat has not yet cracked the Top 5 apps used by the most Canadians — those are Facebook, FB Messenger, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps — it is No. 5 in the U.S. and U.K.

But among Canadian users, comScore reported that Snapchat accounted for over 10 per cent of the overall time spent on social media apps, more than Instagram and Twitter combined (although Facebook was still far and away the leader at approaching 80 per cent).

Segal said he wasn’t surprised by Snapchat’s growth and “significant slice” of the market, given the app’s younger base of users.

“The core population Snapchat goes after is a highly, highly digitized millennial audience that is severely app-focused … and they spend a lot of time (online),” he said.

“Canadians are definitely spending time on this entity and I think it’s encouraging to see additional players.”

The comScore report looks at digital trends in 13 markets, including Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S., and found that while there’s a global shift toward “mobile-only” consumers who have given up completely on using computers, Canadians were still keen users of laptops and desktops.

A little over 10 per cent of the Canadian market was mobile-only as of December 2017, which was an increase of 4.8 percentage points over the course of the year. Meanwhile, mobile-only users represented about 30 to 40 per cent of the markets in Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Spain, and nearly 80 per cent in India.

The report did find that Canadians spent almost twice as much time with smartphones (nearly 4,000 minutes in December, or a little over two hours a day) versus how long they were using computers (just over 2,000 minutes, or about an hour a day). The time Canadians spent on computers was the highest of all the countries studied, which Segal admitted he found a bit surprising.

“It’s not a mobile-only world, it might be a mobile-first world, but desktops are still really, really key,” he said.

When it came to online video consumption, Canada ranked third in most videos viewed per user, and second in most hours spent watching video content on computers.

Segal said when he talks to his international comScore counterparts about the Canadian market they find many of the stats linked to video streaming “quite eye-opening.”

“We’ll always get asked, ’Hey, was that a rounding error?’ And it’s like, ‘No, they’re pretty serious business.’”

Michael Oliveira, The Canadian Press

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