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Statistiques de compétences numériques : les Québécois et Internet

Digital competence statistics: Quebecers and the Internet

March 13, 2018By Rosalie Baker

Getting to know your users is essential to adapting your company’s offering to your audience… But do you know what their digital skills are?

With digital technology taking up more and more space in our daily lives, it has become necessary to perfect our skills in this automated world. That is why the Centre facilitating research and innovation in organizations (CEFRIO) offers a portrait adult Quebecers' digital skills in its NETendances 2016 survey (French only).

What is the Centre facilitating research and innovation in organizations (CEFRIO)?

The CEFRIO is an organization dedicated to research and innovation located in Quebec City and Montreal. From its analysis of the various uses of the Internet, mobile devices and social media, the CEFRIO documents trends in all aspects of society. NETendances is an annual survey project first launched in 1999 by the CEFRIO to understand digital technology and its implication in Quebec society over time1.

How they assessed digital literacy

The digital world is wide, complex and progressive! This means that evaluating digital skill levels is complicated. The CEFRIO based its study on reference framework proposed by Ferrari (2012–2013), including 5 digital literacy fields: information, communication, content creation, safety and problem-solving2.

Digital competency in percentages

45% of Quebecers consider themselves as very skilled in digital technology while 36% think they are average. The most frequent reason for non-users of the Internet to not use it is a "lack of knowledge and ability regarding the Internet"2.

Here is the percentage of people who consider themselves highly skilled in the following tasks2:

  • 65% find what they are looking for on the Internet
  • 56% close transactions including online payment on the Internet
  • 53% protect their computers against viruses and other infections
  • 53% protect their personal information on the Internet
  • 51% communicate with their family and friends on the Internet

Age, education and location change the way we use the Internet

Most Quebecers use the Internet on a daily basis, representing 86% of the population. A correlation has been established between digital performance and the following factors: age, education and location2.

The most comfortable people, in general, are:

  • Under 45 years old
  • College-educated or higher
  • City dwellers

The least comfortable people are:

  • Over 55 years old
  • Elementary or high school-educated
  • Country dwellers

What devices do Quebecers use to access the Internet?

Desktop and laptop computers are used by 94% of Quebecers to access the Internet. Because of the Internet accessibility smartphones and tablets provide, no matter where, they should not to be under estimated3:

  • "90% of Quebecers who own a smartphone use it to access the Internet"
  • "67% of Quebecers who own a smartphone use it at least once a day to access the Internet"
  • "2 out of 3 mobile device users access the Internet at least once a day on their device"2
  • "53% of Quebecers who own a smartphone connect it very often or quite often to a Wi-Fi network outside their home"3
  • "46% of smartphone owners say they used their devices more often than usual to browse the Internet in the last 6 months"4

Millennials take the cake in Internet connections

Most Quebecers access the Internet multiple times a day. As for millennials (25-34 years old), Internet connection rate goes up to 81%4.

Online communication

The Internet is used greatly to communicate. Instant messaging is the most frequent means of communication by smartphone users. It is worth noting that 67% of adult Quebecers own an active account on one or multiple social media platforms and that half of them are connected at least once a day. Moreover, 42% of them use social media messaging systems to communicate, closely followed by text messaging2.

The majority of Quebecers feel comfortable communicating with family and friends online. The most comfortable Quebecers are under 25 years old2.

  • 51% consider themselves highly skilled
  • 25% consider themselves average-skilled
  • 16% consider themselves low-skilled

About self-evaluating our digital skills

There is a gap between self-evaluation and actual competence levels. Do we underestimate or overestimate our digital competence skills?

According to the ECDL Foundation and its study carried out in 5 countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland), people usually overestimate their abilities. For example, only 39% of participants who evaluated their skills as "average" or "high" got a result that fit their perception2.

Know your users to know your challenges in:


  • Which devices should you choose?
  • What navigation would be user-friendly?
  • What are your user objectives?
  • How should you structure the content?
  • How should you name the elements?


  • What should you write about?
  • How could you make your content accessible to all?
  • What words should you use?
  • How could you stand out?
  • What writing style should you use?


  • Who are your personas?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What angle should you use in your digital strategy?
  • What is the best-suited content?

To sum up

Getting to know our users allows you to make smart choices that meet their needs in many aspects such as ergonomics, editing and the marketing strategy. For example, considering that the majority of Quebecers (90%) go online with their smartphones, a website suited for mobile devices would be a must, especially when aiming for customers between 18 and 34 years old as they are most likely to use this device first.

Want to learn about your customers? We can help you. Tell us about your project!


  2. (French only)
  3. (French only)
  4. (French only)