Over nine-in-ten newcomers to Canada have a smartphone, and newcomers are power users of their devices, far more likely to use their mobile phones for messaging, calling, online banking and video streaming compared to the general Canadian population according to Newcomers to Canada 2019 Report.
Toronto-based Solutions Research Group conducted extensive research among very recent newcomers who arrived in the 2013-2018 time frame from China, South Asia and The Philippines and moved to Toronto and Vancouver. The research was conducted among 600 newcomers in the first quarter of 2019. Among the key findings of the research:
- Newcomers are power users of mobile phones using more of their devices’ functionality daily, that is, on a regular basis. Three-in-four newcomers (75%) use their devices for messaging (vs. 65% among total Canadian average) daily, 40% watch streaming video (vs. 36% total Canadian average) daily, 28% using FaceTime, Skype or other video calling apps daily (vs. 16% average). They are also more likely to be using their mobile devices for online/mobile banking daily.
- In terms of messaging and social media apps, the top three belong to WhatsApp, Facebook and Youtube with over two-thirds of newcomers using each on a daily basis. Among Chinese newcomers, WeChat is also used by nearly two-thirds (60%) on a daily basis.
- When it comes to their top-of-mind concerns, affordable housing – both buying but also high cost of renting – was mentioned the most often as the top issue among newcomers, followed by job opportunities followed by healthcare. In a similar survey SRG conducted in 2017 – only two years ago – affordable housing was ranked as the #3 issue. This means the worsening environment for housing affordability in Toronto and Vancouver in particular is very much top-of-mind and having a big impact on newcomers.
- There are signs that newcomers are optimizing their spend in a number of household purchase categories as housing takes a bigger bite of their budgets. This will likely also be an ongoing factor in their choice of telecom providers, their likelihood to bargain-hunt and respond to short-term promotions and propensity to switch, and whether or not to take added-value household services such as smart-home services from their telecom providers. Newcomers are expected to account for the bulk of household growth in the next five years, accounting for the formation of approximately 500,000 new Canadian households
- Rogers is the only telecom brand that ranked in the top three in both Toronto and Vancouver in terms of familiarity – 55% said they were “very familiar” with Rogers in Toronto and 37% in Vancouver. Bell came in at a close second in Toronto at 52% and Fido took the #3 position ahead of Telus. In Vancouver, Shaw edged Telus slightly in terms of familiarity.
- In terms of market shares, Rogers was the top ISP in Toronto (40%) and Shaw led in Vancouver (44%). In wireless, Rogers had 29% share of the market among recent newcomers in total, followed by Bell at 17%, Fido (15%), Telus (12%) and Freedom at 10%.
- Newcomers are avid users of streaming: 46% newcomers to Canada used Netflix to stream in the past month and 22% from Amazon Prime Video, while 35% streamed music from Spotify, Apple Music or similar in the last month
- In addition to YouTube (86% used in the last month), streaming sites popular among newcomers include Youku and Fun.tv among Chinese, TFC.tv among those from the Philippines and Hotstar among South Asian newcomers