Smartphone penetration in Canada set to top 80 percent by 2020
This is the age of the smartphone, and it is a truly global phenomenon. Recent projections by Amsterdam-based market research group Newzoo suggest that by 2020, around 50 percent of the world’s population will own a smartphone. Here in Canada, that figure was surpassed five years ago, and today, smartphone penetration stands at more than 70 percent. By 2020, that figure is expected to top 80 percent.
There is no larger single influence of Canadian society than the smartphone, and it is affecting the way we live our lives in more ways than you might think.
iOS the preferred platform
Two platforms dominate the smartphone market, with Android and iOS powering 97 percent of the world’s smartphones. But while on the global level, Android is the clear market leader at more than 70 percent, Canadians have a long-standing love affair with iOS, and more than half of Canadian smartphone owners use an Apple device. In fact, seven of the ten most popular handsets in Canada are made by Apple.
An app-driven world
One thing that everyone knows is that we use smartphones for much more than making calls. The increase in people using smartphones to surf the net is well known, but we do this in a different way on a mobile device than on a PC or laptop. Mobile search through Google and Bing certainly takes place, but more than 80 percent of smartphone activity is through apps.
Intuitively, this makes sense. Whether it is to check the hockey score or perform a bank transfer, a mobile user will click on a sports or banking app, not a mobile browser. Apps like these make life simple and provide instant information in our 24/7 online world. There are millions of apps downloaded every day, but one category is far more popular than any other. Around 25 percent of apps are games – the second most popular category, at less than 10 percent, is business apps.
Games for everyone
The fact that one in four apps downloaded is a game might come as the biggest surprise of all. After all, while some parents buy smartphones for their children, the market is largely an adult one. The fact is that the archetypal image of a gamer as being someone under 18 no longer holds true. Research by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) showed that 59 percent of Canadians play digital games, and the rise of the smartphone has played an enormous part in this.
The nature of gamers has shifted. The majority of game consumers are female and the average age bracket is 30 to 49, and so the types of game being downloaded have also changed. From the hugely popular and rapidly growing online casino market to social games like Farmville, developers have been quick to target this new market. Suddenly, we are as likely to play a mobile game to relax as we are to watch some television or pick up a book.
A changing landscape
The mobile age is here, but even as it continues to dominate, it also continues to evolve. New innovations in voice search using personal assistants like Siri and Alexa are changing the way we engage with technology, and the increasing use of virtual reality is set to change our online experience in ways we are only beginning to understand.