Canadians spending more time than ever online, 17% more than any others: report

TORONTO - Canadians can't seem to shake their addictions to the online world and are spending more time than ever on the Internet — about 17 per cent more than users in the U.S., according to a comScore report released Thursday.

The average amount of time Canadian Internet users spent online in December was 45.3 hours, up about four per cent from 43.5 hours in December 2010. That works out to an extra three minutes a day.

The Canadian total is about 17 per cent more than the average 38.6 hours Americans were online this past December, and about 28 per cent more than the average in the U.K.

Contributing to the long hours Canadians spent online was a significant jump in social media usage, which was up 32 per cent.

The 18- to 24-year-old age bracket had the biggest increase in time spent on social networks, jumping 67 per cent to an average of 10.8 hours a month. Users under 18 spent 9.4 hours on social media a month, which was up 59 per cent. The next biggest increase came from users older than 55, who spent 5.4 hours on websites like Facebook and Twitter, a 46 per cent increase.

Women, on average, spent 8.8 hours a month on social networks compared to 6.5 hours among men.

ComScore suggests Facebook is beginning to hit its peak in Canada, although time spent on the site was up by about 20 per cent.

But there were explosive increases for other social media sites, both for new users and time spent online.

Twitter saw its user base in Canada grow by 60 per cent to 5.4 million, while the time Canadians spent reading and writing tweets was up about 98 per cent.

The business-minded social network LinkedIn had a 39 per cent membership boost to 2.95 million users and usage was up 70 per cent.

The blogging platform Tumblr had massive growth, with a 180 per cent increase in visitors to almost 2.9 million. The time spent on Tumblr grew to nearly triple the amount of time users spent on Twitter, up 382 per cent.

Still, the most off-the-charts growth was seen for the upstart site Pinterest. In just half a year, its visitor count grew by 364 per cent to 378,000, and time spent on the site was up 2,038 per cent.

Online video viewing also spiked in the last year, up 58 per cent. On YouTube, the web's most popular video streaming site, Canadians' viewing was up by 170 per cent, from 101 videos viewed per user each month to 271.