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Our tracking measures a 14% increase in smartphone hours of usage per week.

Top pet peeves of Smartphone usage include people texting and driving, using devices in movie theatres, talking loud in public places and restaurant usage.

Vancouver, BC – British Columbians are relying more than ever on smartphones, smartphone activities, and apps, according to the 2nd annual Smartphone Insights Report conducted by Insights West and iamota, a mobile first digital agency. The online survey of a representative sample of 1,027 British Columbians found that nearly two-thirds (68%) own a smartphone, a number that jumps to 93% among 18-to-34 year olds, and 73% among 35-54 year-olds.

Smartphones are used by their owners an average of 13 hours and 42 minutes per week, coming in higher than the use of laptops (11 hours and 42 minutes), desktop computers (12 hours and 30 minutes) and iPads/tablets (4 hours and 30 minutes). Average smartphone usage is approaching the time spent watching TV, which is self-reported at 14 hours and 12 minutes of British Columbian’s time weekly. Hourly usage of smartphones has increased 14% over last year.

Our Smartphone Insights Report uncovered British Columbians regularly participating in a wide range of various Smartphone activities.  Besides talking on the phone (97% ever, 88% at least weekly), the top smartphone activities reported are: texting (96% ever, 84% at least weekly), taking pictures (96% ever, 61% at least weekly), viewing photos (92% ever, 63% at least weekly), and email (88% ever, 75% at least weekly).  Other popular activities include GPS for getting directions (81% ever, 36% at least weekly), recording video (72% ever, 20% at least weekly), reading product/services reviews (57% ever, 21% at least weekly), checking product/service prices (57% ever, 24% at least weekly), and video chat (48% ever, 15% at least weekly).

“The exponential growth and proliferation of smartphone devices in BC has been nothing short of phenomenal” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “In less than a decade, the number of people using these devices has approached the level of landlines, which took two generations to be fully integrated into society. The fact that smartphone usage has approached TV viewing behaviour means that decision-makers, marketers and policy makers have all been scrambling to figure out the impact on their respective areas.”

Pete Smyth, CEO of iamota, says, “Not only is smartphone penetration on the march upwards… usage and expectations of smartphones owners are on the upswing too. People are using and relying on their smartphones more and more. It’s their phone, computer, TV, music player, and more all rolled into one. They expect to get the information they need at a moments notice within their relevant context.”

Mobile purchases are growing in importance as well, as half of smartphone users (47%) have bought something on their mobile device in the past three months, a number that increases to 70% among 18-34 year-olds.  But so far, m-commerce has been limited to mostly things like parking, coffee shop purchases, and movie tickets.

While smartphone use has grown exponentially and become part of everyday life, many users report particular “pet peeves” with other users. The top irk is when people use their mobile devices while driving for talking, texting, or data, an activity that 87% ‘strongly dislike.’ Other instances of inappropriate mobile use that people strongly dislike are: the use of a mobile device during a movie (78%), talking loudly on a phone in a public place (67%), the use of a smartphone during a meal with others (56%), and finally, the use of a smartphone for either texting or data during a meeting, class or presentation (59%). Some of the other “pet peeves” disliked by smartphones users are: when people are always “on” their smartphones (81%), the excessive taking of “selfies” (68%), the use of smartphones at public restaurants (66%), taking pictures of food at a public restaurant (45%), as well as “checking-in,” when arriving at destinations (40%).


Smartphone users also admit to being guilty of participating in these “pet peeves,” with 29% revealing that they use their smartphones at public restaurants and 24% also confessing to have used their mobile device during a meal with others. A smaller number (17%) admit to using smartphones while driving or during a meeting, class or presentation. Additionally, 12% report taking pictures of their food at public restaurants, while only 1% of people claim to take excessive “selfies.”

Click here for the full 2014 Smartphone Insights Report.

Click here to see a larger version of iamota’s infographic for this release.

Smartphone survey 2014 infographic
About iamota:

iamota is a mobile first digital agency based in Yaletown, Vancouver. They create remarkable digital experiences for people across all screens. iamota has been focused on digital for 19 years and mobile for the past 10 years. That’s three years before the iPhone and all the mobile hype. Today, their digital work is experienced across various screens by millions of consumers each month. And it all starts with a philosophy of making their clients’ lives easier.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has 17 employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from April 3-10, 2014, among 1,072 BC residents, who are aged 18+ and Your Insights panel members; of these, 860 are smartphone users. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for BC for age, gender and region. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/-3.0 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty for the entire sample and +/-3.3 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty for the subsample of smartphone owners. To view the detail data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West

Pete Smyth
CEO, iamota


Photograph: Kārlis Dambrāns