Oh, Those Cautious Canadians!

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Consumer behaviour, relationships to converged technologies, and attitudes towards mobile banking and mobile commerce revealed in the recent KPMG Consumers & Convergence IV survey showed, that if anything, Canadians are lagging in many areas when it comes to using mobile.

This annual survey reveals that Canadians continue to seek free content and are relatively advertising adverse.

For instance, 85% of Canadians are not willing to pay for access to site content through their mobile phone and would look for the same or similar content elsewhere through a free site, compared to 76% in the U.S. and 57% globally.

And in Canada, advertising in exchange for lower prices or free content/services is more willingly received on a PC than on a mobile phone at 45% and 21% respectively. Global respondents were more willing with 56% indicating they would receive it on their PC and 42% on their mobile phone.

Last spring, KPMG surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in 22 countries, including 300 in Canada, in order to continue to track the consumer landscape and future market implications.

“These findings underscore an opportunity for carriers, content producers, and advertisers to work together,” says Brendan Maher, national industry leader of KPMG’s information, communications, and entertainment practice. “Companies in this sector are seeking new, profitable business models which will help alleviate the loss in revenues from traditional models involving print advertising. Collaboration between companies to deliver additional benefits to consumers in exchange for ads has already proven to be successful in several instances and ultimately proves rewarding for all stakeholders.”

Like their global counterparts, security and privacy appears to be an issue for Canadians with 63% and 58 % ‘very concerned’ about privacy and security, respectively. At the same time, global respondents are worried about security and privacy at 67% and 59%, respectively.

Only 19% of Canadians feel comfortable using their mobile phone for financial transactions compared to 34% of global respondents. Just 15% of Canadians have done banking through a mobile device compared to 45% globally.

Only 8% of Canadians have made purchases purchases using a mobile phone through a retailer’s site – double the amount from last year – though significantly less than global consumers at 28%
“These consumer concerns over privacy and security are pivotal to the continued adoption of e-commerce and mobile commerce,” says Maher. “Companies which implement robust policies and safeguards and which provide for full disclosure of these measures are likely to reap the rewards through enhanced customer attraction and retention.”

The surge in mobile internet is being led by the world’s fastest-developing economies. In China, 77% of respondents say they have used their mobiles for banking and 44% percent for retail transactions, while in India 43% are using them for financial business and 38% to shop,

Canada is ahead of global and US respondents in usage of cloud services, but a lack of awareness of its potential for business usage is indicated. 72% of Canadian consumers use some sort of cloud computing services (e.g. Google docs and hotmail) as compared to just 51% of U.S. and 66% of global respondents.

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