Research has suggested that even within Quebec, digital habits can differ based on language preference. Data from the September 2013 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) “Communications Monitoring Report” points to fairly wide differences between the French- and English-speaking population of Canada as a whole when it comes to basic online activities.
The research found that as of 2012, English-speaking internet users in Canada spent over 20 hours online per week, compared to 13 hours among francophone internet users, a difference of more than 54.6%. And the gap between the two groups has actually widened—in 2008, French speakers were only a few hours behind their English-speaking counterparts in time spent online. As English-speaking users have increased their online time dramatically over the past several years, internet time for francophones appears to have stagnated.
The same research reported relatively little difference in overall penetration rates for internet usage among French vs. English speakers in Canada—except among the oldest portion of the population. In 2012, for example, 78% of English-speaking consumers ages 50 and older used the internet, compared to just 69% of French speakers in the same age group. Penetration for the under-50 set was virtually identical regardless of language use, but the spread among older users meant that on average, English speakers were 5 percentage points more likely than French speakers to be internet users.
eMarketer estimates that overall, 77.5% of consumers in Canada will use the internet at least monthly this year.
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