The Pandemic Behaviour of Online Canadians (Infographic)

None of us anticipated a second year of COVID-19, but here we are. The good news is, we’ve learned a lot about Canadian consumer behaviour during the pandemic, and can now use that knowledge to better navigate the remainder of this crisis.

The following infographic provides a snapshot of what Canadians were up to online over the past year, and we’ve included more data & insights to broaden the view and make it more useful for online businesses.

It will come as no surprise that 92 percent of Canadians were online, and 27 percent of them used the internet for more than 20 hours per week. But what were they up to?

We used the internet to stay informed as the world battled COVID, with 69 percent searching for health information and 78 percent monitoring the news.

Eighty-three percent watched streamed videos and 16 percent of them watched for more than 20 hours per week. Seventy-three percent spent that time on video-sharing sites like Vimeo or YouTube. Sixty-eight percent watched on Netflix, CraveTV or other video streaming service. Seventeen percent watched sports.

Video gaming is a popular choice of Canadians who are trying to amuse themselves at home, at 35 percent. Five percent played online video games for more than 20 hours per week, although we suspect that number is much higher.

By comparison to 2018, there were significant differences between Canadian online behaviour then & now. There were 17 percent more online voice or video calls. Fifteen percent more Canadians used smart home devices in their primary residence. Eleven percent more took formal training or learning through an organization or institution. Listening to podcasts increased by 8 percent. An additional 6 percent used online government services, a number that is expected to increase throughout 2021 as Canadians navigate the vaccine system.

Some online activities were completely new to Canadians:

  • 28% Used video conferencing services for the first time to communicate with family or friends.
  • 12% Used the internet to work from home.
  • 11% Did online training or learning for the first time.
  • 9% Were new to watching streamed video content.
  • 4% Subscribed to a meal delivery service.

32% of Canadians say they’ll buy more online in the coming year. The top online shopping categories in Canada were:

  1. 62% Apparel
  2. 41% Computers & Electronics
  3. 31% Books
  4. 30% Footwear
  5. 29% Beauty Products
  6. 23% Home & Garden
  7. 22% Health Products
  8. 20% Office Supplies

Pandemic Behaviour of Online Canadians Infographic

Have you seen a change in online shopping behaviour in Canada since the pandemic began? Please share your experience in the comments below, or discuss in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.

Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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