Saskatchewan Consumer Trends Marketers Need to Know about Device Usage

There are several Saskatchewan device usage trends marketers need to know about. 

It used to be that only the richest and most influential had access to a mobile phone – we called them car phones.

Eventually mobile phone became small enough to be portable – we carried them around in dedicated briefcases and thought we were cool doing it. By the 70s, we got our first look at a real handheld device – the first handheld cellular was over 20 cm long, weighed over 2 pounds and took over 10 hours to recharge after only 30 minutes of use. Ah, the dark days of early adoption.

By the 90s, things began to change – personal cellphones, while still far from common, were starting to appear much more often.

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By the early 00s, being able to access the internet became a critical feature for cellphones. Soon we adapted more smart technology, and in just a few short years, the cellphone quickly became the smartphone.

In 2015 (roughly fifteen years after Zach Morris made his mark on the world), smartphone ownership became the norm with 68% of Canadian households owning a cellphone.

Now fast forward 2 years (according to the 2016 Saskatchewan Media Habits Syndicated Study), and 84% of Saskatchewan households have a smartphone!

That’s a pretty fast adoption of device technology for a province that has admittedly been one of the low-tech adopters (in rural areas) in the wireless internet, 5G and the race to build accessible LTE data networks.

In Saskatchewan, smartphone ownership fluctuates across demographics but it becomes pretty apparent that it declines with age ↘

For matures (68+) in Saskatchewan, smartphone adoption hasn’t really penetrated, as only 58% of residents reported owning a smartphone – far below the national average (even from 2 years ago).

Unlike matures, baby boomers in Saskatchewan (49 – 67) tend to be better with adopting new tech as 79% of those we surveyed claim to own a smartphone.

In contrast, youth have quickly adopted mobile technology. Respondents under the age of 48 are likely to be carrying around a smartphone (94% ownership) – which is much higher than the provincial average of 84% smartphone ownership.

In teens (14 – 17), smartphone ownership accounts for 99% of the residents we surveyed.                           

Let that sink in a bit. And that’s just talking about smartphones!

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In a changing landscape of devices, each with their own screen and internet hookup, it is important to have the right information to know how to plan your strategy. Do you find yourself asking…

  • What is the average screen time people are putting on their devices?
  • Which devices are getting the most play?
  • What kind content are people engaging with on these devices?


Below are a few key consumer trends you need to know about device usage in Saskatchewan.

1. It turns out that Saskatchewan residents, who are under the age of 32, use their smartphones more than 20 hours per week! ???? 

That is nearly one full day a week devoted to screen time – and that does not include time being spent on other devices (laptops, desktops and tablets).

For those who are over the age of 32, the amount of time spent on a smartphone for personal use decreases as they get older (see the chart above).

*Interesting to note – time spent using devices other than smartphones (laptops, desktops, and tablets) doesn’t vary by age in the same way that smartphone usage does.

2. People are putting more screen time in than last year ↗

When it comes to the amount of time people are spending on their devices, usage is starting to peak.

We asked respondents if they spent more time than last year on their devices and found that when it comes to smartphones and 43% of respondents stated they spent more time on them than last year.


The story is similar with tablets, as 19% say they spent more time on their tablet than they did the previous year.  

Desktop and laptop screen time is also on the rise. Fifteen percent (15%) say they use them more than last they did the previous year.

Even that old, standby television is still getting action. As a common household device, it still remains popular with residents.

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3. Content choices vary across devices ▶

Now if you’re talking about what residents are watching on their screens, we found that choice of content varies depending on which device they are using.

Residents reported they tend to use their smartphones very little to view movies or television shows, stating they spend only 4% of their time on the device viewing each. Identical viewing times (4% each – movies and television shows) were reported on tablets, as well.

Desktop and laptop computers received greater amounts of screen time – respondents stated they spend 12% of their time on the devices watching movies, and 9% watching television shows.

Television still dominates in content viewership by quite a large margin. Respondents reported that 80% of the time they spend on their televisions is spent watching movies, and 83% watching television shows.

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Interesting to note: Televisions are also changing how content can be viewed – televisions have become “smart” and now allows viewers to access the internet, stream movie applications (such as Netflix or Hulu) or even check their social media.

In fact, what we call “televisions” have changed and evolved so greatly over the past several years that they are almost unrecognizable when compared to televisions of the 1980s and 90s.

These changes, including PVRs and the earlier mentioned “smart” connectivity have allowed television to remain a dominant medium while still coming in second in use to smartphones.


Looking Forward: 3 Key Takeaways 

✅ Smartphones are the most used device and the one on which most of people’s time is spent, especially by younger age groups. Smartphones have changed user behaviour as consumers now connect to internet from everywhere.

✅ There is a rapid adoption of new technologies and devices, especially among younger generations. This is changing media consumption habits and preferences among Saskatchewan consumers. The change in viewing habits on multiple devices gives marketers an opportunity to reach out to these consumers across different platforms.

✅ Media plans must expand across multiple channels as markets develop.


For more information, download your Saskatchewan Device Usage Report