Study finds Canadians mobile devices usage dropping

Canadians’ love affair with their mobile gadgets may be cooling as the novelty stage wears off, a new study shows.

We still love our smartphones, tablets and e-readers, but now that they’ve become part of our everyday lives, we’re spending less time on them, according to Ipsos Reid research.

The trend was seen across all three major mobile devices measured for usage by Ipsos Reid. This spring Canadians spent an average of 2.8 hours a day on their smartphones, down from 3.3 hours in spring 2011.

And time spent on tablets fell to 2.4 hours per day from 3.2 hours a year earlier. The same was true for e-readers, which saw daily usage drop from 2.1 hours a day in spring of 2011 to 1.8 hours in spring 2012. Canadians still love mobile devices but we’re spending less time on them, Ipsos Reid data show.Canadians are also spending less time downloading new smartphone and tablet apps and deleting older apps from their devices, the study shows. When the trend was first spotted, seasonality was the suspected culprit, meaning the drop was thought to be caused by a big spike in usage right after the holiday buying season that tapered off steadily. Yet Ipsos Reid surmises that a longer term leveling off of device usage may be happening when seasonality is stripped out of the equation.

“The average duration of use has failed to return to the higher levels recorded a year earlier in spring 2011. This is beginning to suggest a potential shift in usage patterns,” Ipsos Reid senior vice-president Mary Beth Barbour said in a news release.

So what’s going on? Barbour said two things may be happening. One, as the novelty of using mobile devices wears off, “usage levels (are) normalizing.” Two, as mobile devices become more popular among the wider population, usage is flattening out because it’s not just diehard tech geeks using them obsessively anymore.

“(It’s) the expansion of the user base beyond the ‘techies’ and early adopters to the broader population who may be less active users,” she said.

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