Statistically Canadians show an increasing trend of downloading apps

By Dianne Hudson

February 2nd, 2024



Mobile technology has effectively given consumers a computer in their pocket or, for real tech lovers, tech that can be worn on a wrist or embedded in another peripheral. There are myriad reasons why we all love our mobile phones, but connectivity, security, and the sheer scale of options available to users are undoubtedly among the reasons that people have an interdependent relationship with their phone, tablet, or other smart device.

App revenue is going from strength to strength.

Most of us access the vast majority of information on our smartphones through apps rather than via web browsers, and in Canada, they are increasingly popular. In a time of economic slowdowns and external pressure on finances, app revenue is going from strength to strength. Unlike many other sectors, there seems to be no shrinkage of the market here.

Initially, market analysts wondered if this was another market boosted by the COVID-19 effect. While some sectors like hospitality and airlines saw massive contractions in the period, other online businesses saw their businesses really take off. The value of the app sector rose from $1.6 billion in 2019 to $2.8 billion in 2021. With so many people restricted to their homes, this could have been expected. However, as the world returned to normal, the sector remained buoyant, and while revenue was down to $2.7 billion in 2022, it is significantly larger than it was pre-pandemic.

The growth is meeting a demand.

Statistics show that in January 2023, Canada had 31.2 million smartphone users and apps were downloaded 1.2 billion times. In 2022, the average Canadian spent 4.6 hours on their mobile device daily, up from 1.4 hours in 2019. Social media makes up for a considerable amount of time passed on our mobile phones, but this landscape is constantly changing. Where Facebook once dominated, TikTok became the most downloaded app in 2022. It was not just the most popular social media app but the top-grossing app in Canada overall. TikTok generated $43.6 million and recorded 4.4 million downloads.

However, people are not only spending all their screen time on social media. Gaming apps are also top-rated. The first gaming app to go viral was, arguably, Flappybird. Forbes magazine even described it as the Justin Beiber of gaming apps, and at the height of its popularity, it was raking in $50,000 a day. While no other game has since captured the collective imagination in such a way, Roblox has been a firm favourite for many years. In 2022, the app was downloaded almost 55,000 times for Android devices alone. However, according to statistics, the most popular Android app game in 2022 was Stumble Guys, which clocked up an impressive 198,758 downloads.

Canadians love to have a flutter; recent poll revealed over half of the population claimed to have gambled within the last month.

Gaming apps are not child’s play. The audience for games on smartphones crosses all demographics. Even people you would not traditionally think of as gamers find a few minutes every morning to battle with the New York Times puzzle app and pit their wits against The Daily Crossword, Wordle and the app’s latest title, Connections. Wordle players are 51% female, 47% male and 2% non-binary. A poll of American Wordle players found more than half of them were Millennials; a quarter were Gen Xers, and the balance were Gen Zs and Baby Boomers.

Mobile gambling and casinos are another sector where apps have captured the public’s imagination. Canadians love to have a flutter and a recent poll revealed over half of the population claimed to have gambled within the last month. There are over 19 million active online gambling accounts in the country, and the sector has been boosted by Ontario opening its fully regulated commercial market, making all forms of gambling in the province legal.

Whether players choose online slots, poker, roulette or other casino games, a wide selection of apps exist. If you talk about the best casino apps for real money, Spin Casino is the one, so writes Hannah Cutajar from Jackpot City and Play Ojo also score very highly for excellent game selection, chances to earn cashback on every bet and the sheer size of their jackpots.

As well as catching up on socials and playing games, there are also more serious uses of apps on mobile devices. Banking and payment apps are also up there with the most downloaded and used apps. There was considerable reticence around online banking security when the concept was first mooted, but improved safety protocols have removed much of these earlier fears. 87% of consumers use their banking app at least once a month. While millennials are the most frequent users, accessing bank accounts using mobile apps is prevalent from Boomers to Gen Zers.

Unique to the Canadian market.

The apps that have skyrocketed in usage in recent years are e-wallets, including ApplePay, GooglePay, PayPal and the like. Many people now do not even consider taking a plastic card or cash with them on a night out or a trip into town to buy a meal at their favourite bar or restaurant. Everything they need is on their phone. No wallet full of dollar bills, just a charged-up phone, and they can pay for everything with a tap and a little bit of face recognition wizardry. Canadians are also fond of using Interac e-transfers to move money around. This service allows them to send and receive money instantly after registering with an email address or mobile phone number. It is so familiar to Canadians that it is sometimes surprising to remember that it is unique to the Canadian market.

Apps are leading the way in accessing information.

Apps are used for every walk of life. You can book a holiday through Airbnb and check the weather in your hometown or on the other side of the world. Video and music streaming apps are now how we expect to access films and TV shows or listen to our top music artists and podcasts. If we do not know what song is playing, we can switch to Shazam to get the artist’s name, song title and lyrics. Apps are the key to endless entertainment and information, and we have not even brushed on retail opportunities in this article.

If there is something you want to do on your mobile, the chances are someone will have created an app for it.




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