Close to Half of Canadians Now Own a Smartphone

Samsung a Rising Star for 2013, Now Tied with BlackBerry for Brand Preference

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toronto, ON – The Canadian population is nearing the tipping point of becoming a Smartphone majority. Key findings in Ipsos Reid’s most recent wave of Mobil-ology, a syndicated study of the mobile market in Canada, show that 47% of Canadians now report using a Smartphone, a significant increase over last year, when 34% of Canadians reported using such a device. Tablet device use has also jumped with 21% of Canadians reporting use of these devices, an increase from just 10% a year ago.

“When we began tracking in 2011, the market was still relatively young. However, with time we have observed the progressive broadening of the market beyond the leading edge adopter,” says Mary Beth Barbour, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid. “In the space of one year, we’ve seen significant upward momentum both in Smartphone and Tablet adoption. Tablet sales in particular, have taken off, no doubt thanks to the introduction of more affordable – and smaller – devices like the iPad Mini.”

On the brand preference side of the mobile equation, there is an interesting story developing in the Canadian Smartphone market.

“Apple remains the most commonly used brand of Smartphone, but Samsung has upped its game to tie with the once dominant BlackBerry,” adds Barbour. “In January 2013, iPhone use tops in at 32%, with both Samsung and BlackBerry tying at 23%. This is fantastic news for Samsung as they continue to build their brand and take a real shot at giving Apple a run for its money.”

That said, after a steady decline that began to show with the January 2011 wave of Mobil-ology, consumer intentions to acquire a BlackBerry Smartphone have rebounded somewhat amid the buzz of BlackBerry 10, increasing from 29% in the Fall of 2012 to 34% in the Spring of 2013. However, the challenge posed by the increasingly popular Samsung cannot be disregarded, as nearly one-half (48%) of Canadians in the market for a Smartphone are considering that brand.

While on the Smartphone front there are a number challengers eroding Apple’s market share, the brand remains the dominant force in Tablet devices, capturing 45% of the Canadian market. Despite many new players on the field, none to date have come close to Apple. But once again, Samsung is challenging BlackBerry. Samsung now claims 13% of the Canadian tablet market, while BlackBerry loses a few percentage points bringing its share to 16%.

“While heavy discounting in late 2011 essentially bought BlackBerry one-fifth of the Canadian Tablet market, it appears that the benefits from this strategy are beginning to wane, while strong and steady growth for Samsung is expected to continue,” says Barbour. “That becomes evident when we asked Canadians what brand of Tablet they were considering for the future.”

The study shows that while consideration of a BlackBerry Tablet is relatively close to the current market penetration (18%), consideration of a Samsung Tablet (35%) far exceeds current penetration (13%). Though not quite hitting levels of consideration enjoyed by Apple (43%), interest in Samsung is gaining, suggesting further growth on the horizon.

“It has been an interesting year for mobile device brands, indeed,” concludes Barbour. “With more Canadians adopting devices, in particular Smartphones and Tablets, and companies introducing new products all the time, there is never a dull moment. Change is constant and the choices are seemingly endless! The next few months will be critical for brands like BlackBerry to stay relevant, for brands like Apple to remain on top, and for brands like Samsung to keep their momentum.”

These findings are based on the fifth wave of research of Ipsos Reid’s Mobil-ology study, conducted in January 2013 among approximately n=40,000 adult residents of Canada via the Ipsos Opinions Online Panel, one of Ipsos Reid's national online panels. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual online Canadian population according to Census data. All Ipsos online surveys are measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the study is considered accurate to with +/- 0.6 percentage points had all Canadian adults been surveyed. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mary Beth Barbour
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

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Close to Half of Canadians Now Own a Smartphone


Mary Beth Barbour
Senior Vice President, Canada