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Survey about Canadian students’ consumer habits: Addicted to texting and online streaming

Newad is happy to reveal the findings of its survey about media consumption habits among students enrolled in Canadian colleges and universities. The most telling findings are those that confirm a sharp rise in the popularity of text messages over phone calls, a decline in the popularity of live TV viewing and the near total ownership rates of laptop computers. “Small and big businesses will pay close attention to these results, as the population surveyed is in the midst of shaping tomorrow’s trends,” remarks Michael Reha, President and CEO of Newad.

I text you, you text me

The results of the survey, for which 950 students were polled, prove that on this day, as with any other day, 86% of students will exchange text messages, while only 48% will have a conversation using their mobile phone. In fact, text messages outrank any other daily activity carried out with a mobile phone, including that of surfing the Web or checking social media, with Facebook at the top of the list. Today, over 63% of students own a smart phone, which far exceeds the Canadian average of 54% .
What’s more, 23% of students polled claimed they intended to purchase a smart phone over the next year. Another statistic that affects merchants in a very direct way: 64% of students who own a smart phone use their device in-store to carry out online searches about products and services they desire. That should provide the impetus to rethink their approach with the client, namely with regards to the control, the promotion and the distribution of their messages.

Television: drop in live viewing

The web has now become students’ privileged medium for watching video programming. Therefore, 44% of students claim they mainly watch their TV shows on the Internet while only 36% of them say they generally watch them live on TV. The findings also conclude that 9% of students mostly watch their programs using a digital video recorder (PVR), 8% prefer to watch them on DVD and 3% watch them using a digital media receiver (DMR, of the Apple TV variety). These results demonstrate that TV content remains greatly coveted by students, but that they also want full control over the moment and pace of their viewing habits.

1 student + 1 laptop computer = 92 %

In 2012, nearly all students in Canadian colleges and universities (92%) owned a laptop computer, a percentage that greatly exceeds that of Canada’s adult population. Although appealing, electronic tablets trail very far behind with 10%, a number that mirrors the penetration rate among Canada’s adult population. A noteworthy fact: on a weekly basis, when they’re online, 91% spend time on social media, 82% on video-sharing websites and 93% look up information related to their studies.

About advertising

A highly coveted target group among advertisers, all the more because they’re often on the go and hard to reach, students are nevertheless still drawn to certain platforms. 39% say they pay attention to ads found in washrooms of establishments they visit, including those located in college or university campuses. Followed by TV ads (38%), those in public transit (31%) and those on the Internet (25%). Their attention span for ads broadcast on student radio and in college newspapers is weaker than for the aforementioned platforms.

Social networks: 100% commitment

Facebook continues to be a hard drug, not only in its popularity, but also because of its users’ high level of involvement and commitment. In fact, 93% of students are subscribed to Facebook, and of that amount, 100% actively use it. It is followed – far behind – by Twitter (36 %), Google + (35 %), LinkedIn (19 %) and MySpace (11 %). Lastly, it is worth noting that 14% of students have a Tumblr account, 7% are on Flickr and 6% on Pinterest, while Foursquare remains marginal (3%).

Led by Newad’s Research team over the course of winter and spring 2012, under the supervision of Catherine Bourcier, this survey polled 950 students aged 17 to 29, enrolled in colleges and universities in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The results were compiled over the course of the summer and are made public today. This online survey was carried out in collaboration with the research firm Uthink Online.

About Newad

Newad reaches the highest concentration of the Young & Affluent in Canada by guiding millions of consumers to four targeted platforms: Indoor, with 21,500 digital and classic boards in over 3,000 establishments and 36.5 million impressions delivered each week; Experiential Marketing, with the production of 250 promotional events per year; Publishing & Content, with numerous Web properties reaching 450,000 visitors each month and the production of branded content (photos & videos, mobile applications, contests, social media management, white label content); and Web, including the Newad OnLine advertising network delivering, each month, 125 million pages views and 7.4 million visitors. Recipient of many prizes rewarding its creativity and innovation, Newad’s 350 employees set the trends in its Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Moncton offices.


Marie-Christine Fournier
Director, Marketing & Communications
1 866 899-6685