Vividata Fall 2020 Study - Winds of Change

Razvan Luca

This week marked the release of the Vividata Fall 2020 Study providing audience insights into 36,915 Canadians across the country. The robust sample size that Vividata continues to bring forward has made their audience insights a key piece of our communications planning process, allowing us to tailor our service offering to the individual needs of our clients and their unique customers.

Making this particular study that much more important is the fact that it was in market from July 2019 - June 2020 and is now able to provide us a deeper understanding of consumer habits and behaviours through part of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Obviously, 2020 has been a year like no other and the impact of the pandemic is being felt by many of our members”, says Pat Pellegrini, Ph.D, President and CEO of Vividata.

The impact of the pandemic was particularly seen in the way we consume media, as the lifestyle change many experienced helped amplify the digital transformation even further.

38% of Canadian adults reported that they are now watching more live TV compared to their pre-pandemic consumption, and 43% of adults report that they have increased their use of social media.

Use of audio streaming services has also increased, with nearly 1 out of 4 Canadians reporting greater use during the pandemic.

The Fall 2020 release incorporates four months of the COVID-19 period, including new questions to better understand the media usage and purchasing behaviours of Canadians during this time. Select topline insights have been mined by the Vividata team below.

Select Consumer Highlights

Online Shopping

  • 50% of Canadian adults report an increase in their online shopping in comparison to their usual shopping habits pre-pandemic. Households with children were the most likely to have experienced an increase in online shopping behaviour.
  • 28% of adults shop online at least once a week, with electronics and travel as their most heavily researched categories prior to making a purchase (please remember some of the data inputs were pre pandemic)
  • Compared to last year, Canadians are now more likely to agree to the statement, “Shopping online makes my life easier” (25% agreed in 2019 | 36% agreed in 2020).

Food & Diet

  • 7 million Canadian adults have used a meal kit delivery service, with Good Food as the most popular among users. Users of meal kit services identify to “save time” as their primary reason for using such services, followed by to “add variety to meal planning”.
  • 1 in 5 adults used a food delivery service in the past month, spending an average of $32 per order. Skip the Dishes is the most used food delivery service among Canadians, followed by UberEATS.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults agree with the statement, “I am trying to reduce or eliminate the amount of animal meat/or cow's milk/dairy consumption in my diet”; while 1 out of 10 adults used packaged vegan/plant-based products in the past 12 months. Guess word has gotten out on Novak Djokovic’s plant-based success.

Impacts of COVID-19 on Media Habits

  • A projected 38% of Canadian adults report that they are watching more live TV as it is broadcasted in comparison to their usual consumption pre-pandemic. This reported increase is greatest among those aged 50+ at 43% (Index 114).
  • 41% of all adults – and 52% of those under 35 (Index 128) – report using subscription video on demand services more now than pre-pandemic.
  • Use of audio streaming services have also increased, with nearly 1 out of 4 adults reporting greater use of these services during the pandemic. Audio streaming services have also seen the greatest uptake among those under 35 at 34% reporting increased use (Index 155).
  • Canadians are using social media more now than prior to the pandemic as well. 43% of adults have increased their use of social media during the pandemic – and again, this increase is greatest among those under 35 at 60% (Index 139).

Audio Streaming/Podcasts

  • 35% of Canadian adults agree, “I primarily listen to music through streaming services”. Those under 35, at 51%, are more likely than the general adult to agree to this statement (Index 148).
  • YouTube (at 22% reach), Spotify (at 19%), Streaming AM/FM (15%), and Google Play (at 8%) are the top ways to stream audio by Canadians, and all have experienced an increase in reach compared to Fall 2019.
  • Just over 1 in 4 adults listen to podcasts in an average week. Males (Index 116) and those under 35 (Index 147) report higher rates of listening.
  • News & politics (55%), society & culture (32%), and comedy (31%) are the most popular podcast genres among listeners.

TV Viewing

  • In an average week, 93% of Canadian adults watch TV on any screen or device, spending approximately 21 hours per week.
  • 64% of adults browse the internet on a computer or mobile device while watching TV, while 1 in 5 are active on social platforms.
  • Just over 1 in 4 have searched online for a product, brand, or service advertised on TV, while 1 in 10 made a purchase.
  • 66% watch TV as per a broadcast schedule, 53% watch through a subscription service, and 36% catch-up on demand.

Ad Blockers

  • 43% of Canadian adults have an ad blocker installed on their browser; this again is more common among those under 35, with 53% having done so (Index 122).
  • Among those that have installed an ad blocker, their number one reason to use it is “there are too many ads” (8 out of 10 users), followed by “ads are annoying” (6 out of 10 users).


  • Over 82% of Canadian adults read/accessed magazine or news brands (including community newspapers) in an average week via print or digital platforms.
  • 70% read daily newspaper brand content in an average week, with just over half accessing content via a mobile device (smartphone or tablet).
  • Just over 1 in 2 read magazine brand content in an average month, with food, travel, and health magazines remaining the most popular among Canadians.
  • Nearly 3 in 5 read a community newspaper in an average month, with higher readership occurring in markets with a population under 100,000.