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Press Release


Canada NewsWire

Canada trails emerging markets in many online behaviours

Canadians will be slower to adopt mobile devices for social networking on the go

Canadians are less "friendly" than we thought

TORONTO, Oct. 10 /CNW/ - The largest ever global research project into people's online activities and behaviour - Digital Life - was released today, Digital Day, by TNS, the world's largest custom research company. Covering 88% of the world's online population through 50,000 interviews with consumers in 46 countries including all of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the study reveals a number of very significant findings and provides indicators for the future of the world's online behaviour.

Core data from the study is being made publicly available via an interactive website -, with TNS providing more detailed reports and breakdowns to its clients. 

"This study covers more than twice the markets of any other research of this kind. So, it will really allow us to determine Canada's position in the online world." said Michael Ennamorato, TNS Canada's Managing Director. "Plus, we have taken the research to the next level by going beyond basic behaviour to provide more detailed data into attitudes and emotional drivers of that behaviour."

A main take-away is that when it comes to online behaviours, Canada, despite being a mature market with advanced infrastructure, is being hopscotched by the rapid growth markets:

  • Canada lags in digital engagement. When looking at behaviour online, rapid growth markets such as Egypt (56%) and China (54%) have much higher levels of digital engagement - that is, they are more active with the technology - than mature markets such as Canada (37%), Japan (20%), Denmark (25%) or Finland (26%).

    • Canadians aren't much for blogging. The research shows seven out of eight online users in China (88%) and over half of those in Brazil (51%) have written their own blog or forum entry, compared with only 27% in Canada and 32% in the US.

    • Canadians are average picture-sharers. The number of online consumers who have ever uploaded photos to social networks or photo sharing sites is 92% in Thailand, 88% in Malaysia and 87% in Vietnam. A much smaller 60% upload in Canada, although this compares favourably with the online populations of other countries. In Japan, less than a third (28%) and in Germany less than half (48%) have uploaded photos to such sites.

  • Canadians do less social networking, more email. In rapid growth markets such    as Latin America, the Middle East and China, the average time spent, per week, on social networking is 5.2 hours compared with only 4 hours on email. Online consumers in mature markets remain more reliant on email, spending 5.1 hours checking their inboxes compared with just 3.8 hours on social networking. Canadians are no exception, spending 4.6 hours on email and 3.8 on social networking.

    • Canadians also spend less time on social networking sites on their mobile devices. Logging only 1.8 hours on social networking sites and 1.7 hours emailing, Canadians are well-below global mobile users, who spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites, compared with just 2.2 hours on email.

  • Canadians will be slower to transition social networking on mobile phones. Perhaps fuelled by the need for instant gratification, consumers in rapid growth markets expect to use their mobile phones more often for social networking in the future. Indeed, the movement to social networking on mobiles will be fast and furious. In Turkey, well over half (56%) of online consumers expect their use of social networking on a mobile to increase in the next 12 months. It's 69% in Indonesia, 70% Vietnam and 77% in Brazil. In mature markets those numbers are much lower: 44% in Australia, 37% in Canada and 36% in the US.

  • It turns out, we're not that "friendly." When it comes to who has more online "friends," online consumers in Malaysia top the list with an average of 233 friends in their social network, closely followed by Brazilians with 231. The least social are the Japanese with just 29 friends and Tanzanians who have, on average, 38 in their circle of friends. Surprisingly, Chinese consumers only have an average of 68 friends in their networks despite being heavy users of social networking sites, indicating a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships. Canadians, with an average of 150 friends, fall behind Belgians, but ahead of Australians.

About Digital Life

Digital Life is the world's largest study into consumers' digital behaviours and attitudes ever conducted. The study seeks to go beyond behaviour to understand the core emotional drivers behind what consumers do online.

TNS completed analysis of the results of its 46-country study into online behaviour and perspectives around the world in September 2010. A total of 48,804 people aged 16 to 60 years old were interviewed in the following countries: Argentina , Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, UK, USA and Vietnam.

A highlight of the study is being brought to life online via an interactive data visualization. This has been created by Digit:, a WPP partner company that specializes in design and interaction. The visualization will be made available for anyone to sample at

About TNS

TNS is the world's largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 75 countries, TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest research, insight and consultancy network. Please visit for more information.

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 95 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group's services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. For further information, please visit us at

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