The Great Wired North

Americans prefer shopping to banking on the Internet, but Canadians are more likely to download music -- and do so via high-speed connections

When it comes to the Internet, Canadians seem to have more in common with Europeans than Americans, according to a recent study by international polling firm Ipsos-Reid.

In separate studies of American Internet users and their Canadian counterparts, Ipsos-Reid asked about a variety of subjects -- from Internet banking to music downloading. Here's what the survey found:

-- Canadians are more confident than Americans about banking and investing online. American users, however, are more likely to shop online.

-- Canadians also outpace Americans, on a per capita basis, in overall Internet usage, downloading music, and having high-speed Internet access.

-- Sixty-one percent of Canadian users have conducted financial transactions online, compared to 29% of the U.S. users. Sixty-nine percent of the Canadian users believe their financial information is secure and private online. But 49% of U.S. users feel their American financial services can ensure security and privacy of account information.

-- Active users of the Internet in the U.S. are far more likely to shop online than Canadian Internet users, saying they are satisfied with cost savings. Americans also subscribe to three times as many online newsletters as their Canadian counterparts.

"We may share a common border with the U.S., but we have more in common with Swedes than Americans when it comes to how and why we use the Internet," concluded Bonnie Sherman, president of Ipsos Interactive Services, a division of Ipsos-Reid. "The online publics in Canada and Sweden, particularly the younger generation, is pulling ahead of the U.S. in their strong affinity for Internet banking, music downloading, and next generation wireless access."

Results of the complete study can be seen on the Ipsos-Reid Web site.

By Robin J. Phillips in New York

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