April 14, 2010 08:15 ET

Canadians Lack Smartphone Savvy

Delvinia Digs into the reality of mobile in Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) - The number of Canadians purchasing smartphones may be rising, but an overwhelming number of Canadians continue to use their mobile devices for the most basic functions – texting and taking pictures, according to Delvinia Dig, a quarterly report on the digital behaviours and attitudes of Canadian consumers. 

In fact, according to Managing the Hype: The reality of mobile in Canada, the most mobile savvy group – NetGeneration (18-30), do not fully leverage mobile applications including Facebook mobile (22%), GPS/mapping services (21%) and Twitter (6%). Even Canadians with smartphone devices (Blackberry, iPhone and others) keep it simple when it comes to features and functionality.

"While the number of smartphone users in Canada is exploding, an astounding number of Canadians continue to rely on the more traditional features of their mobile device," said Adam Froman, CEO of Delvinia. "Mobile is definitely an emerging platform, but before it can be fully leveraged, it's imperative to understand how Canadians are using their devices before building applications and mobile campaigns." 

Marketers hoping to reach a wide audience with new mobile campaigns should take a closer look at their target audiences beforehand or they could be very disappointed, as a large number of Canadians don't use more than basic functions like sending and receiving text messages and taking photos.

Delvinia's 2009-2010 study of Canadian mobile behaviours conducted through AskingCanadians™ revealed a number of insights companies should consider before falling victim to the mobile hype.


GPS awareness and usage on smartphones is still relatively low among Canadians and across generations:

  • Some 38% of NGen don't know or aren't sure whether their smartphones are GPS-equipped.
  • 41% of NGen and 52% of GenX have never used the GPS feature at all.


Responses from those surveyed seem to indicate confusion over what a mobile application is: 

  • 50% of those surveyed never downloaded a mobile application; even among the highest app users – Ngen and GenX – over 30% had never downloaded a mobile application.
  • Among those that are downloading apps, Canadians prefer fun and relatively basic experiences as identified by their top application types – gaming (32%), social networking/instant messaging (22%), music (21%) and entertainment (21%).


Well-used by all Canadians the mobile camera is a straight-forward, easy-to-use feature used often by consumers. Interestingly, while the majority of smartphone owners are taking pictures with their mobile devices, most are not using the more complicated functionality for sharing the pictures they take. 

  • A very small number of Canadians use MMS (18%), Facebook (15%) and Twitter (1%) to share mobile photos. 
  • 60% show their mobile pictures to others in person, while 30% don't share the images at all. 
  • The majority of smartphone owners (70%) do not consider the camera on their mobile device as their primary camera.


Primarily adopted by younger Canadians, mobile gaming is especially prevalent with NGen and GenX groups who grew up with video games. And while there are opportunities for companies to create augmented-reality or location-based games, Canadian users may not be ready:

  • 65% NGen and 54% GenX play mobile games alone.
  • Only 2% NGen and 1% of GenX play networked games with other users.

"The insight uncovered in Managing the Hype: The reality of mobile, is just one example of the commitment we have to thought leadership at Delvinia, " added Froman. "Our unwavering dedication to and direct access to Canadians through our proprietary tools is what sets us apart from other digital agencies and can give a company an edge over their competitors in today's challenging economy."

Delvinia Interactive focuses on creating and integrating insight-driven Digital Customer Experiences within the context of the total customer experience. And it's Delvinia's proprietary insight tools – their AskingCanadians™ consumer research panel and its Insight Engine of consumer attitudes and behaviours – that allow them to keep a finger on the pulse of the needs and behaviours of Boomers, NGen, and other Canadian consumer groups.

Delvinia DIG is a quarterly report prepared by Delvinia Interactive based on data generated by AskingCanadians™ and its French counterpart Qu'en pensez vousMC  a proprietary online consumer research panel. In October/November 2009 Delvinia conducted its annual re-profiling of AskingCanadian panellists and extracted a statistically representative subset of 5,680 responses (50/50 gender split, age and province breakdown per Stats Can) and discovered high mobile phone ownership in Canada, but relatively basic mobile phone feature use. A follow-up survey was conducted in January 2010 with 1,000 statistically representative AskingCanadians smartphone users to uncover further insights. 

To download the complete Delvinia Dig quarterly report on mobile or any previous insight reports visit

About Delvinia Interactive

Established in 1998, Delvinia is dedicated to creating effective and innovative digital customer experiences for its clientele. A pioneer and authority on interactive design and digital marketing solutions, Delvinia's unique Insight Engine and proprietary research tools provide unmatched knowledge into how people use new digital technologies and how best to reach, influence and inspire them. Delvinia's Insight Engine is continually updated through quarterly and adhoc profiling surveys through its AskingCanadians™ online panel, which is managed by Delvinia Data Collection. For a decade, Delvinia's interactive expertise includes designing innovative digital solutions that focus on its understanding of the customer first and implementing truly integrated, and frankly, better digital customer experiences. For more information, visit

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