More Canadians want less tech

A report from Simplii shows people have mixed feelings about the role and usefulness of digital tools and services.

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.