Social media has become a regular part of everyday life for most people. Whether it is to share our pictures and videos with friends and family or larger audiences or to watch content, most Canadians use social media to some extent.
But what does social media use look like in Canada? What are the most popular social media platforms, how much time do Canadians spend on social media, and how is social media affecting our everyday lives?
Read on to find the answer to these questions together with many other important statistics on social media use in Canada.
Social Media Statistics for Canadians
- There are over 36 million internet users and 33.1 million social media users in Canada.
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Canada, with over 26 million users.
- Facebook Messenger with over 22 million users is the Canadians’ favourite messenger app.
- Most Canadians use social media to stay in touch with family and friends.
- TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform in Canada.
- Canadians spend on average just over two hours per day on social media.
- 24-35-year olds are the largest age group on social media in Canada and women are more likely to use social media than men.
- Globally, the penetration rate of social media is 59%.
- Europe has the highest penetration rate around the world at 84%, while Middle Africa has the lowest rate at just 7%.
Social Media in Canada
Canada is one of the most connected countries in the world, with 36.23 million internet users out of a population of 38.62. This means the internet penetration in Canada is 93.8% of the population. There was a 1.5% growth year-on-year in the number of internet users. That is 529,000 new users in a year.
31.15 million Canadians use the internet on their mobile as well as on a desktop or a table. At the start of 2023, there were 33.1 million social media users in Canada with most people having at least one social media account. The penetration rate of social media in Canada is 91.3%.
What is the Most Popular Social Media Platform in Canada?
Despite the growing popularity of platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform in Canada. There are 26.59 million Facebook users in Canada, which is 73.4% of the population.
Instagram is the second most popular platform with 20.65 million users representing 57% of the population. TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest complete the top five in Canada with 41.1%, 39.5%, and 33.5% respectively. That means there are 14.89 million TikTok users, 14.31 Twitter users, and 12.14 million Pinterest users in Canada.
Facebook Messenger is the Most Popular Messenger App in Canada
Interestingly, Facebook Messenger is by far the most popular messenger app in Canada, clearly beating all competitors. Facebook Messenger has 22.06 million users, which is 60.9% of the population. This is almost double the number of users compared to its nearest competitor, which is WhatsApp with 38.3% representing 13.88 million users.
iMessage is almost as popular as WhatsApp with 13.26 million users and 36.6% of the population. Snapchat, Discord, and Telegram are also popular with 10.83 million (29.9%), 5.8 million (16%), and 4.09 million (11.3%) respectively.
Why do Canadians Use Social Media?
In Canada, the most important reason at 47.6% for using social media is to keep in touch with family and friends. Many are also turning to social media when they have spare time (36.3%), to read the news (35.1%), to find content (31.6%), and to see what others are talking about (29.5%). 21.3% of users regularly check social media for fear of missing out.
Interestingly, especially to marketers and brands, finding inspiration for things to buy, finding products to buy, and watching favourite brand content are also popular reasons at 27.7%, 26.3%, and 23.1% respectively.
Other reasons are sharing opinions (24.5%), meeting new people (23.9%), watching live streaming (23.8%), networking & researching for work (22.9%), finding like-minded communities & interest groups (22.1%), watching/following sports (22.0%), following celebrities or influencers (21.7%), posting about their life (21.4%), and supporting and following causes (17.4%).
Growing Social Media Platforms
While Facebook followed by Instagram still dominates in Canada, there are other platforms that are growing in popularity even though their user numbers are still relatively low in Canada. TikTok has seen 11% growth since 2020, Reddit 4%, and Twitch also 4%. They were the platforms with the most significant growth.
How Much Time do Canadians Spend on Social Media?
On average, Canadians spend 6 hours and 35 minutes on the internet every day. Out of that time, about 2 hours and 5 minutes are spent on social media. The majority of Canadians use their mobiles to access social media.
Women in Canada are more likely to use social media compared to men at 53% and 43% respectively. The age group that is most active on social media platforms is the 25-34 age group, followed by 35-44-year olds and then 45-54-year olds. Men and women are almost equally active until the age of 35, but after that women are more active than men.
The 25-34-year olds are the biggest group of social media users in Canada at 25.7% followed by 35-44-year olds at 19.2% and 45-54-year olds at 14.6%. The percentages get lower in the older age groups with 55-64-year olds representing 12.7% and the over 65-year olds 11.5% of social media users. The 13-17 age group represents 2.5% of Canada’s social media users.
Global Social Media Statistics
How does social media use in Canada compare with global social media statistics? Globally, the penetration of social media is a lot lower than in Canada with only 59% of the world’s population using social media. However, the global average of daily use is higher than in Canada at 2 hours and 31 minutes.
Regopmally, Northern and Western Europe has the most users at 84% followed by North America with 74%. Eastern Asia and Southern America both have a 72% penetration rate. The lowest penetration rates are in Southern Asia at 41%, Western Africa at 13%, and Middle Africa at 7%.
Facebook, just like in Canada, is the most popular platform in the world and TikTok is the fastest-growing social media network. In 2021, TikTok had 18.3% of year-on-year growth.
What is the Impact of Social Media on Canadian Lives?
It is more common nowadays to see people scrolling through their social media feeds than seeing someone reading a newspaper. For many people, it is natural to check their feed or post several times per day. But how is the use of social media affecting the lives of Canadians?
19% of Canadians say they have lost sleep and 22% have been less active physically because of their social media use. Social media has also made concentrating on their activities or tasks harder for 18% of Canadians and 12-14% have had negative emotional experiences. These include feeling depressed, anxious, angry, frustrated, or jealous of other people’s lives.
Young People Are More Likely to Lose Sleep Because of Their Social Media Use.
47% of Canadians aged 15-19 have lost sleep because of social media. The portion of people who have lost sleep gets smaller as people get older. 28% of people aged 20-24, and 16-21% of 25-49 years lose sleep because of social media.
Young People Have More Trouble Focusing Because of Social Media
The same trend applies when looking at the number of people who report they have trouble focusing because of their social media use. While 24-36% of users aged 15 to 29 say they have difficulty focusing on tasks and activities because of social media, the percentage was 13-18% for users between 30 and 49 years old.
Young People Are More Likely to Experience Negative Feelings Caused by Social Media
Negative feelings following the use of social media are also more common in the younger age group. Among users aged 30 or under, approximately 20% have felt depressed or anxious when using social media. Among users aged 30-49, the percentage is 12-15%.
18% to 24% of social media users up to 35 years of age report they have felt jealous of the lives they see others living on social media. Only 11% of older users have felt jealous of others on social media.
How to Avoid Negative Effects From Social Media
In order to avoid the negative effects of too much social media use, you can set yourself some rules. For example, you can limit your use of social media during the day and stop using it at least an hour before you go to bed.
Practice discretion when sharing your posts or when liking and commenting on other people’s posts to avoid becoming a victim of cyberbullying. If you find yourself bullied on social media, inform the authorities. Remember that not everything you see on social media is real and many pictures have been photoshopped.
With over 36 million internet users, Canada is one of the most connected countries in the world. Facebook is the most popular social media platform and Facebook Messenger is the most popular messenger app in Canada.
Canadians spend on average 2 hours per day on social media with younger people being the most active users. Women in Canada are more active on social media than men, especially in the older age groups.
Too much social media can have negative effects on users and give rise to feelings such as anger, jealousy, depression, and anxiety. Young people are most likely to experience negative effects when using social media. To avoid the negative effects, it is important to control one’s use of social media.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are 33.1 million social media users in Canada and this makes Canada one of the most connected countries in the world.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Canada. It is followed by Instagram and TikTok. However, TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform in the country.
The main reason, at 47.6%, for using social media in Canada is to stay in touch with family and friends. Other reasons include spending spare time browsing social media, reading the news, and finding new content. Importantly, to marketers and brands, many Canadians also spend time on social media platforms to find ideas for products to buy and to find inspiration.
Canada has a social media penetration of 91.3% which is a lot higher than the global penetration rate of 59%. The countries with the highest penetration rates in the world are the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar. Regionally, Europe has the highest penetration rate at 84% and Middle Africa has the lowest at 7%.
Yes, too much social media can certainly have a negative impact on people. Approximately one in five Canadians report that social media has had a negative impact on their sleep and their concentration. Social media can also lead to negative feelings such as depression, frustration, and jealousy, Younger users are more likely to experience negative effects than older users.