While it is stagnating in the richest countries as it is already widespread, smartphone use is clearly progressing in emerging economies, according to a global study published on Tuesday. The smartphone is used the most in South Korea, with 95% of adults tapping on their touch screens, followed by 88% in Israel, according to figures from the Pew Research Center. Next come the Netherlands (87%), Sweden (86%), Australia and the United States (81%), Spain (80%), Germany (78%), the United Kingdom United (76%) and France (75%).
In the 18 developed countries studied, three in four adults used a smartphone in 2018, while 17% had a basic phone and 6% had no mobile. In the nine emerging economies studied, smartphone use is very varied, ranging from 60% in South Africa to 24% in India. In all, the study estimates that 45% of adults have one while a third use a less sophisticated type of mobile. The survey does not include China, one of the world’s largest smartphone markets.
Another lesson is that in all the countries studied, it is the youngest, most educated and highest-income people who have a smartphone. Some emerging countries are seeing rapid progress in smartphone use, especially among younger adults. For example, 85% of Brazilians under 34 had a smartphone, up from three in five in 2015. In the Philippines, the rate of adoption has more than doubled in three years, to 71%. The study involves 30,133 people in 27 countries between May 14 and August 12, 2018.