Much like in the US, further Internet expansion in Canada will occur slowly, as most interested users already have access, according to ComQUEST Research, which found expansion of the Canadian market is limited by indifference toward the Internet among those currently not using it regularly rather than by cost or difficulty.
The Winter 2000 CyberTrends report by ComQUEST found that 54 percent of Canadians have Internet access, and 44 percent use the Internet on a monthly basis. One-third use the Web on a weekly basis. Internet users in Canada remain young with high socioeconomic status. They are also increasing the amount of time they spend online each week, with the increase based almost entirely on home-based usage, not at-work usage. Canadian Internet users averaged 8.6 hours per week online in Dec. 1999.
E-mail, long the most popular Internet application in many parts of the world, is used by 36 percent of Canadians, according to ComQUEST. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of Canadians used email discussion lists in 1999, and 14 percent subscribe to opt-in email lists delivering targeted commercial email messages.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of Canada’s weekly Web users report seeing online ads in the past week, with 19 percent clicking at least one, according to ComQUEST. Banner ads enjoy the highest level of recall (67 percent), but affiliate ads generate a click-through rate comparable to that for banner ads (16 and 15 percent, respectively).
December of 1999 saw new highs reached in the fields of Internet purchasing and banking. Twelve percent of Canadians have made online purchases of products or services, while 11 percent of Canadians use online banking., according to the CyberTrends report. According to the Project Atlas report by International Data Corp. (IDC), 49 percent of Canadian Web users buy online from home. IDC also found that less than 50 percent of the money spent by home Internet shoppers in Canada is spent at Canadian sites.
A report by Ernst & Young found that Canadian online shoppers spent an average of $770 in 1999. That report also found that 15 percent of Canadian shoppers online made 10 or more purchases during the year, compared to 39 percent in the US. As in the US, Canadians named shipping costs and the selection of goods as the key factors impeding the growth of online sales. Online shoppers value full customer support services, online and offline, through voice, as well as more sophisticated personalization techniques.
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