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Smartphones Take the Lead in Canada

Smartphones in the hands of majority of consumers in Canada, while feature phones lag

Smartphones became the mobile device of choice in Canada in 2012. According to comScore, feature phones accounted for over half of the mobile phones in the hands of users in December 2011. By December 2012, smartphones had moved out front by a wide margin, with 62% of mobile phone users on the devices, compared with 38% on feature phones.

That is about 10 percentage points above eMarketer’s estimate of smartphone penetration in Canada, predicted to have reached 46% of mobile phone users in 2012.

Overall, comScore found that total mobile subscribers rose by 10 percentage points in the country, while smartphone subscriptions rose by 17 percentage points.

The highest concentration of mobile phone users was in the Ontario region, accounting for 41% of the market. Mobile phone use was also concentrated among adults. Teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17 accounted for only 7% of mobile phone users.

As mobile users take up smartphones, Google is taking the lead as the operating system of choice, reaching 40% of users last year, compared with Apple’s 35%. BlackBerry remains a market player as well, with RIM still operating on 20% of smartphone devices.

comScore also found that smartphone users were more likely than feature phone subscribers to own other connected devices. The smartphone acts as a kind of gateway to mobile internet use. As a result, smartphones will drive some of the biggest changes in internet activity.

Internet-enabled mobile activities like looking up weather, accessing bank accounts and getting entertainment news all became more popular among smartphones users in Canada between 2011 and 2012, as more subscribers grew comfortable relying on the mobile internet. The activities that made some of the biggest leaps on the smartphone were online retail and performing general searches on the devices.

As smartphones become more dominant in the mobile device market, they will begin to shape overall internet trends, accounting for more online traffic and changing the ways that users interact with the web.


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