More Canadians want less tech

A report from Simplii shows people have mixed feelings about the role and usefulness of digital tools and services.
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Canadians continue to be highly connected, but that doesn’t mean they are always happy about it, according to new research from Simplii.

The report, by the CIBC-owned digital-only bank, was compiled based on a survey of 3,040 Canadians online and takes an in-depth look at digital behaviours and preferences.

Canadians are split down the middle when it comes to how important they believe technology is to their lives, with 49% saying they can’t live without it and 51% saying they can. There are also mixed feelings when it comes to how the ubiquity of technology makes them feel, 36% of Canadians believe technology can leave them “feeling empty,” even as 37% of Canadians felt anxious when separated from their mobile device. These feelings were even higher among milliennials (43% and 49%, respectively), the demographic that uses digital technology most frequently.

At 94%, nearly all Canadians are online, with 77% using a mobile device on a regular basis and 81% keeping it close when not in use. But despite that, 54% of Canadians would rather have less technology in their lives, compared to 46% who said they’d want more. Furthermore, 62% would rather shop in-store than online and 78% would rather connect with people in-person than online.

On the flip side, however, 80% said they’d rather bank online than in-branch and 57% said they’d rather send a message through a digital channel than talk on the phone. On top of that, 48% said technology helps them take better care of their physical and mental well-being, with 64% saying it has improved their connection with family and friends.

The most important factors when it comes to Canadians choosing to use a digital service are simplifying their life (43%), saving time (40%) and giving them the ability to complete tasks wherever they are (38%). Only 14% said they try digital services to save money, with 10% saying they use them to get digital offers or rewards.

The average Canadian has 25 apps installed on their phone, but 46% of Canadians say most of the apps they download are not useful to them. Adoption of new digital services is also somewhat flat, with 57% of Canadians using the same amount of digital tools compared to last year and 31% using more.