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From wireless earbuds to 5G: Canadians are enthusiastic about tech, says CTA

In the year ahead, 30% of Canadian households plan to buy a smartphone, 26% expect to purchase either wired or wireless earbuds and 17% expect to buy a TV


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The Consumer Electronics Show will be held Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. PHOTO: CES

TORONTO — Canadians are enthusiastic about technology, from current ownership of products such as smart speakers and smart watches to broader innovations still coming to market like 5G and drones. This is according to two new reports from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), owners and producers of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which will be held Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CTA’s 4th annual “Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study: Canada”, examines Canadians’ household ownership and intent to purchase across 59 consumer tech products. The study says ownership of the three screens — televisions (owned by 93% of Canadian households), smartphones (85%) and laptops (74%) – remain Canadians’ most owned tech devices.

In the year ahead, 30% of Canadian households plan to buy a smartphone, 26% expect to purchase either wired or wireless earbuds and 17% expect to buy a TV. Canadians also have a strong interest in streaming content, whether first-time or repeat owners. Greater than one in ten expect to add a smart TV (12%) or digital media streaming device (11%) to their households in the next 12 months.

“From east to west, CTA’s research shows Canadians value making technology part of their daily lives for work and play,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director, market research, CTA, in a prepared statement. “We are seeing differences in tech ownership and purchase intent at the provincial level, mostly driven by population density and economic factors.”

The type of tech devices Canadians own most frequently varies by province. Among the findings:

  • While nine-in-ten of those living in Ontario (90%) and Alberta (91%) own a smartphone, Quebec (79%) and Atlantic Canada (78%) have lower ownership rates.
  • Household ownership of videogame technologies – console, portable or retro devices – is highest in Ontario (58%) and lowest in British Columbia (38%) and the Atlantic region (37%).
  • The highest ownership rates of wearable fitness trackers are in Ontario (29%) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (23%), and smart watches in Ontario (20%) and Alberta (17%).
  • Ownership of wireless earbuds is high in Ontario (31%) and Quebec (35%), compared to the other regions where the ownership rate is 21% or less.
  • When it comes to automobile technology, Quebec residents (30%) are more likely than average (20%) to own a remote starter. Ownership rates are lowest in the Atlantic provinces (11%) and British Columbia (5%).

Canadians’ awareness of emerging technologies

CTA’s “Emerging Technology in Canada: 2019 Consumer Sentiment” says Canadians believe emerging technologies are helping to improve communities by making them safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable. According to the study, Canadians are excited about innovations including 5G connectivity, drones, ridesharing and electric scooters — and Canadians are highly familiar with drones (fully 98% are aware), ridesharing (94%), self-driving vehicles (91%) and 5G (73%).

The report also identified some regional gaps in awareness of emerging tech. Almost half (47%) of people in Toronto have taken advantage of ridesharing, while only approximately one-third (31%) of Canadians overall have used the service. And while 53% of all Canadians expect smart cities to have a meaningful impact on society within five years, 70% of Torontonians expect the same.

“Naturally, Canadians are most excited about emerging tech that’s already delivering benefits – drones helping crews rescue lost hikers and skiers, and ridesharing companies providing more options for transportation,” said Rohrbaugh. “While there’s more consumer uncertainty about technologies that have not yet come to market like self-driving vehicles, Canadians still recognize the potential these innovations have to keep us safer and reduce the number of accidents on roadways.”


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