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Home > Internet users behaviour > 11/10/2008   

Internet Prime Time in Canada - October 2008

The study below discusses the specific hours for web traffic by Canadian internet users during the week of October 13 to 19 by comparing differences in behavior between weekdays and weekend days. The study also emphasizes observed differences in relation to European averages.
Perimeter:
  • Study conducted from October 13 to 19, 2008
  • Cross-section of 1,323 websites
Internet visit hours in Canada vary with the changing pace of internet users' lives from the working week to the weekend

The graphs below represent the average hourly breakdown of internet visits generated in Canada during the week of October 13 to 19, 2008.

In the first one, the hourly breakdown is given for the weekdays, in other words, Monday, October 13 through Friday, October 17, 2008.

The period from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm recorded the largest portion of the hourly breakdown on average for a weekday, with nearly stable activity during those 7 hours. This means that, in Canada, more than 45% of weekday visits (46.3%) occur on average between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm:

  • Activity dropped overnight, then began increasing between 6:00 am and noon
  • The number of visits stabilized between noon and 5:00 pm (1:00 - 2:00 pm is the hour of the day during which the most visits are counted). It is interesting to note that, unlike in Europe, no dip was observed during lunch (see the second part of the study)
  • There was a substantial drop in visits between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, which then stabilized until 8:00 pm
  • Visits increased again between 8:00 and 9:00 pm, then declined as the evening progressed

heures-canada-200810-1.png

The second graph below gives the hourly breakdown for the weekend days, in this case Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19, 2008.

Although 46.3% of weekday visits in Canada occurred on average between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, during the weekend, an average of 43.3% of visits occurred during this same time period.

  • Just like during the week, activity was lower overnight and then increased between 6:00 am and noon (weekend peak between 11:00 am and noon)

  • However, unlike during the week, the number of visits dropped between noon and 1:00 pm, all the way until 4:00 pm

  • There was a slight rise between 4:00 and 5:00 pm, after which the number of visits fell until 7:00 pm

  • After another small increase between 8:00 and 9:00 pm (less pronounced than during the week), visits became less and less frequent throughout the evening, while still remaining proportionally higher than the number of visits at the same time during the week

heures-canada-200810-2.png


The graph below directly compares the hourly breakdown during the week and during the weekend in Canada.

The differential is not particularly pronounced, but the weekend is nonetheless characterized by a gap in visits later in the day
:

  • Between noon and 5:00 pm, weekend visits are proportionally lower (30%) than weekday visits (33%)

  • However, they are proportionally higher between 7:00 pm and 5:00 am (32% during the weekend vs. 29% during the week)

  • It is worth noting that Canadian internet users get up just as early on the weekend as they do during the week: 12.6% of visits occurred between 6:00 and 10:00 am for every day of the week

Canadians live at a different pace on the weekend, and so their internet connections change as well. Although morning visits are proportionally just as high as they are during the week, Saturdays and Sundays are filled with other activities as well (sports, do-it-yourself projects, shopping, time with family and friends, etc.). This is why web activity is lower in the middle of the day (noon to 5:00 pm) – Canadians are focusing their interest elsewhere.

heures-canada-200810-3.png


The changes are much less substantial than the European averages, however

The graph below shows the breakdown by times of average Internet visits for 32 European countries studied during the week of October 13 to 19, 2008. These countries are:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

The hourly breakdown is given for weekdays (average of hourly breakdowns from Monday, October 13 though Friday, October 17, 2008) and weekend days (average of hourly breakdowns for Saturday, October 18 and Sunday, October 19, 2008).

As you can see very clearly, visits in Europe have a much more pronounced hourly differential between weekdays and weekend days than do visits in Canada:

  • Europe, period from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm: 48.9% of weekday visits vs. 41.7% of weekend visits
  • Canada, period from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm: 46.3% of weekday visits vs. 43.3% of weekend visits
  • Europe, period from 5:00 pm – midnight: 34.4% of weekday visits vs. 43.6% of weekend visits
  • Canada, period from 5:00 pm – midnight: 35.7% of weekday visits vs. 37.4% of weekend visits

And in general, Canadian internet users get up earlier on the weekend than their European counterparts:

  • Europe, period from 6:00 am – 10:00 am: 12.3% of weekday visits vs. 7.8% of weekend visits

  • Canada, period from 6:00 am – 10:00 am: 12.6% of weekday visits vs. 12.6% of weekend visits

At the same time, they are less active during the evening. While European visits increase during the early evening (5:00 to 7:00 pm) and remain stable until 10:00 pm on weekends, Canadian visits do not experience that peak.

Another difference, already mentioned earlier, is the "lunch break" during the week, which leads to a clear drop in visits between noon and 1:00 pm in Europe but does not appear at all in Canada.

heures-canada-200810-4.png



As we have just seen for Canada, although broad trends do exist in hourly behavior for internet visits, they vary from country to country. This behavior partly reflects the cultural habits of the countries in question, for example with a much less pronounced differential between weekdays and weekends and more web activity in the early morning for Canadian internet users in comparison with the European average.

This is why it is so important for a site to understand the ways behavior differs from one country or time period to another in order to anticipate its actions according to peaks and dips in traffic.

Methodology:

In this survey, the aim was to present indicators showing the spread of visits by time.

To obtain these indicators, the first measurement made was one of the hourly breakdown for every day during the period.

Then, the "weekday" indicator is determined as the average of the breakdowns obtained for "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", and the "weekend" indicator is determined as the average of the breakdowns obtained for "Saturday" and "Sunday".

So as to allow an in-depth analysis of the hourly breakdowns determined for the Canada, the reference used was the average of these same indicators for European countries.

For the purposes of this survey, the list of countries retained for calculating the "week" and "weekend" indicators for the reference time breakdowns are:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

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