The following statistic might surprise some readers of Digital Home but a Statscan report released yesterday found that 80% of Canadian aged 16 years and older used the Internet for personal use in 2010.

In its 2010 Canadian Internet Use Survey, the federal reporting agency found the largest percentage of non-user were seniors and households in the lowest income quartile.

Seniors accounted for about one-half (51%) of non-users. Nearly 4 in 10 non-users (39%) came from households in the lowest income quartile.

A majority of non-users (62%) said they did not use the Internet because they had no need or interest, did not find it useful, or did not have time. Over one-fifth (22%) mentioned a lack of skills or training, or that they found the Internet or computers too difficult to use. Limited access to a computer (12%), cost of service or equipment (9%) or age (9%) were other reasons cited for not going online.

The following are other findings of the Statscan report.


Residents of British Columbia (86%) and Alberta (84%) reported the highest use rates. Rates were lowest in Newfoundland and Labrador (73%) and New Brunswick (70%).

Among individuals living in census metropolitan areas (CMA) or census agglomerations, 82% used the Internet, compared with 72% of those living outside of these areas. CMAs with the highest rates of use included Calgary, Saskatoon, Barrie, Ottawa–Gatineau, and Halifax (all at 88%), as well as Vancouver and Victoria (both at 87%).

Income and age divides

Households were classified into four equal groups (or quartiles), based on their household income. More individuals (94%) living in households in the highest household income quartile used the Internet, compared with those living in households in the lowest quartile (59%).

Individuals under the age of 45 had the highest rate of use, at 94%, while 80% of those aged 45 to 64 used the Internet. Among seniors, about one-half (51%) of those aged 65 to 74 used the Internet, compared with 27% of those aged 75 years and older.

Overall, Canadians are experienced Internet users, with almost one-half of users (47%) having been online for 10 years or more. About three-quarters (76%) used the Internet at least once a day in a typical month.

Mobile use

Among Internet users, one-third (33%) went online with a wireless handheld device. These users tended to be younger and more experienced Internet users. The majority (59%) were under the age of 35, and most (60%) had 10 or more years of online experience. Nearly one-half (47%) also came from households in the highest income quartile.

Online activities

A majority of Internet users went online to bank (68%) or to read or watch the news (68%). Many users obtained travel information or made travel arrangements online (65%), visited or interacted with government websites (65%), or searched for medical or health-related information (64%).

Many participated in social media. A majority (58%) used social networking sites, including 86% of Internet users under the age of 35. Female users (62%) were more likely than their male counterparts (54%) to use social networking sites.

Electronic commerce

In 2010, 51% of Internet users ordered goods or services for personal or household use. In total, Canadians placed nearly 114 million orders, valued at approximately $15.3 billion.

Among those who placed an order, individuals averaged about 10 orders over a 12-month period, with an average total value of $1,362 per person.

Of those who placed an order, 55% purchased travel arrangements (for example, hotel reservations, travel tickets and rental cars) and 48% ordered tickets for entertainment events.

Most shoppers (83%) placed orders from companies in Canada, while 60% ordered from vendors in the United States, and 18% from vendors in other countries.

When it came to paying for their purchases, 89% used a credit card online, and 31% used an online payment service.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Internet users window shopped online, or browsed for information on goods or services, without necessarily placing an order.

Discuss the the findings in Digital Home's On the Web discussion forum .