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Smartphone addiction grows in Canada: Google survey

A woman takes pictures with Nokia’s new smartphone, the Lumia 1020, with a 41-megapixel camera, after its unveiling in New York, July 11, 2013. Toronto-based Keek Inc. was an early entrant in what is now a sought-after corner of social media, the sharing of short videos. (A keek is a Scottish term for a quick peek.) Keek’s user base is soaring, with more than 45 million users worldwide as of last month.

SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS

Not only is smartphone ownership way up in Canada, users are getting increasingly addicted to their mobile devices, suggests a new report released by Google.

Based on online surveys with 1,000 Canadians earlier this year, the report estimates that 56 per cent of adults were using a smartphone, up from 33 per cent in early 2012.

About eight in 10 smartphone owners said they don't leave home without their mobile device. And two-thirds of them said they had used their phone every day in the past week.

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About 35 per cent said they'd become so reliant on mobile connectivity that they'd give up TV before having to part with their smartphone.

"Mobile has become a core part of how people live their lives today," said Google Canada's head of mobile advertising Eric Morris.

"The study shows people are using mobile to change all aspects of their life, whether it's their job, travel, shopping, the way they communicate with others, and specifically trying to understand the world around them."

About 78 per cent of the smartphone users said they connected to social media with their device and 52 per cent said they logged on daily.

Morris said he was struck by the number of users who reported they were watching video on their phone. About 75 per cent said they had streamed video on their small screen and almost one in five said they did it daily.

"People watch videos on the biggest screen they have available to them," said Morris.

"Sometimes that's your 50-inch TV at home, sometimes that's your tablet while you're on the couch or in bed, and sometimes that's the smartphone while you're on the couch or travelling or even in the office.

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"I think one of the interesting things from this survey is there is a lot of mobile consumption that's being done in the home...on home WiFi."

Other stats revealed in the report:

  • The average smartphone user had 30 apps installed on their device and had used an average of 12 in the past month. They had paid for an average of eight apps.
  • Just over one in four smartphone users had made an online purchase with their device. Of those users, about half had made a purchase in the past month and the same number said they shopped on their phone at least once a month.
  • About 77 per cent said they had searched for a product or business on their phone, and 27 per cent said they changed their mind about a purchase in a store after completing a mobile search.
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