Today we launched Digital 2021: Canada, part of our series of annual global digital reports (check out our global report, Digital 2021, if you haven’t seen it already). It’s a comprehensive report covering digital, social and mobile use in Canada. 

More Canadians have joined social platforms - the number of active social media users in Canada rose by 2.4 million in 2020, an increase of 8%. Canadian internet users aged 16-64 devote an average of 1 hour 46 minutes a day to social media, with YouTube, Facebook and Facebook Messenger being the most used platforms.

We’re generally spending more time online, a year-on-year increase from 5 hours 53 minutes to 6 hours 26 minutes, following a year that was largely spent in lockdown. This means we Canadians now spend half a day more a month using the internet compared to a year ago. 

The report also shows that the pandemic has impacted the activities cellphones are used for: Zoom, TikTok and Microsoft Teams were the three most-downloaded apps in Canada in 2020. Disney+, which launched in November 2019 and proved a lockdown godsend for many families with young children, was in the top-five Android apps for video streaming in terms of time and the biggest app in any category in terms of consumer spend.

Other key findings in Digital 2021: Canada include: 

  • Canada is experiencing an evolution in search behaviours. While 64% of internet users aged 16-64 use a conventional search engine to research brands, 32% now look on social media for brand information.
  • Smartphones are the most popular device for gaming for internet users aged 16-64, with just over half using them for this purpose. Home computers are the next most popular gaming device, used by 35% of internet users, followed by gaming consoles, with 33% penetration.
  • In terms of monthly active users, the most popular smartphone games in 2020 were Among Us and Pokémon Go, while Coin Master topped the ranking in terms of consumer spend.
  • Ecommerce spending on travel and accommodation was down by 51% year on year. With many Canadians stuck at home for an extended period, ecommerce spending in the food & personal care category was up 30%, while the value of online purchases of furniture & appliances rose 21%. Annual growth in the value of the consumer goods ecommerce market across the board was 18%.
  • The value of the digital ride-hailing market shrank by 42% year on year but at the same time demand for online food delivery rose, leading to a 25% increase in its value in 2020 compared to the year prior.
  • Snapchat’s tools show that its potential advertising reach increased quarter on quarter by 11% according to data from January 2021, representing an additional 1 million users.

Our managing director in Toronto, Coby Shuman, commented on the report’s findings: 

“It’s probably no surprise that in a year spent in lockdown, Canadians spent more time online, and more money on online shopping and food deliveries. What we didn’t necessarily anticipate was how our social media use is changing, with Canadians turning to it more frequently to find information on the brands they’re interested in – something that smart marketers will pay attention to in planning their campaigns in 2021.”

To get in touch with We Are Social Canada to discuss your digital marketing approach, email us at