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article imageQ&A: New report reveals Canadians increased use of digital tech Special

By Tim Sandle     Aug 5, 2019 in Technology
Simplii Financial has conducted a 'deep dive' into digital trends in Canada. Drawing on key statistics, the report shows on how reliant Canadians have become on digital technology. The study takes a critical look at the tech people are consuming.
Do Canadians prefer texting or talking? Connecting in person or online? Shopping online or in store? Do they prefer to buy more stuff or share more stuff? Ultimately are Canadians becoming tech-plicit? The new report from Simplii Financial digs deep into the digital habits of Canadians, revealing that around one in three Canadians online say they are using more digital tools or services this year than the previous year.
The report also examines which digital tools are helping to improve day-to-day experiences, Canadian state they are choosing digital is to help simplify their lives; to save time; and to be able to complete tasks anywhere, as the top three reasons. To understand more, Digital Journal spoke with Aayaz Pira.
Digital Journal: In general, how important is technology becoming to people’s lives?
Aayaz Pira: Unequivocally, technology is incredibly important to people’s lives. One of the key takeaways from the report was that digital is making a positive impact in our lives, and at the crux of our digital adoption is the desire to simplify our lives so that we can save time.
Beyond this need for efficiency and simplification, almost half of Canadians surveyed told us that technology helps them take better care of their physical and mental well-being and six in every 10 Canadians agree it has improved their connection with family and friends.
However, while we love technology and are eager to adopt it, the report revealed that going digital still comes with conflicting attitudes. For example, we found that there were aspects of our lives, like banking and paying by card, where Canadians preferred to embrace technology. But when it came to things like shopping or connecting with people, Canadians preferred to take the traditional, in real life, approach.
Ultimately, we can’t view our relationship with technology in isolation. It comes with the good and the bad, the efficiencies and the conflicts.
DJ: For businesses, how important is it for firms to interact with potential customers via technology?
Pira: As a digital-first, direct banking brand, technology is the main driver of our business and core to our service model. With 94 percent of Canadians online it’s important for all businesses to consider technology to interact and engage with their target market in ways that suits their lifestyles.
Looking at the banking industry in particular, our report showed us that four in five Canadians do their everyday banking online or using mobile. Furthermore, when asked about which digital tools or services were making the most positive impact in their lives, Canadians identified digital banking (45 per cent) as number one, ahead of GPS and online shopping. Knowing that our clients find the most value in the convenience of tech-driven banking we, as a business, can continue to innovate in this space, delivering valued services to the market.
DJ: As seen in the survey, has there been an increase in people using online tools?
Pira: Our report showed that 94 percent of Canadians are online and of these people online, nearly one in three say that they are using more digital tools or services this year, than the previous year.
When asked about motivations for using technology, 65 percent who reported using more technology over the past year also said they were highly motivated by the idea of being early adopters — the first one in their network to try out new things.
Beyond the increase in adoption of online tools, three in four Canadians truly believe that these digital tools have made a positive impact on their lives, empowering them to learn new things, helping them to stay informed and allowing them to stay organized.
DJ: Why has there been this increased use of digital tools?
Pira: Of course, we know that technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Not only are new apps popping up everyday, we’re seeing entirely new products and services created within the digital sphere.
And with the report, we wanted to understand how Canadians are not only consuming digital but how it weaves into their everyday lives and how their lives have changed – for better or worse – because of it.
What we uncovered is that the top three reasons Canadians go digital is to simplify their lives (43 per cent), save time (40 per cent) and be able to do things and complete tasks from anywhere (38 per cent). This need for efficiency can also be drawn to the growth of the sharing economy. 63 percent of Canadians want to share more things rather than make new purchases. The three areas of the sharing economy Canadians are most actively participating in are digital entertainment, like Spotify and Netflix, shopping resale platforms, like Ebay or Craigslist and using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.
DJ: Are there downsides with the increased use of digital technology?
Pira: While digital is making a positive impact in our lives, the report discovered that it does come with its own set of challenges.
Respondents noted that, at times, technology can create feelings of anxiousness, complications and emptiness. And, we learned that an abundance of digital tools doesn’t always leave us feeling satisfied. Further, when it comes to using technology, such as apps, nearly half of us agree that most of the apps we download are not actually useful.
However, a key takeaway from this tension was that if technology doesn’t make sense or create significant value, we quickly abandon it. There is room and desire for technology that can help simplify our lives but not for technology that has no value add or becomes a burden.
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