Two thirds of people will have a smartphone in 2018, says ZenithOptimedia report

Almost two thirds of people in key digital markets will have a smartphone by the end of 2018, according to the latest media report from ZenithOptimedia.

The fourth edition of ZenithOptimedia’s New Media report has found that 66.5 per cent of individuals will have adopted the technology by the close of 2018 with Asia Pacific and Western Europe leading the way over the next few years.

ZenithOptimedia notes that the penetration of smartphone uptake across the 47 counties has jumped from 41.6 per cent in 2013 to 55.7 per cent this year. Singapore was found to be the leader with 89.0 per cent of people owning a smartphone at the end of 2014 with this figure expected to leap to 97.0 per cent by 2018 as the government pushes ahead with its plan for universal Wi-Fi access.

In Europe, Spain and Ireland followed closely behind with 86.7 per cent and 83.0 per cent penetration respectively and Switzerland, Australia and Denmark look likely to move into the top ten by 2018, knocking out Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The popularity of tablets was found to have grown across the 47 markets, rising from 5.3 per cent in 2012 to 14.8 per cent in 2014 and forecasted to reach 19.8 per cent at some point in 2018. Hong Kong tops the list for the highest rate of penetration with 77 per cent of people owning one and 91 per cent expected to be using one by 2018. Singapore was second with a current rate of 64 per cent and the Netherlands was the European leader with 75 per cent of people using tablets.

Other areas looked at in the report was internet user growth which was found to be slowing down as a result of the majority of people already being connected. The annual rate of growth has fallen from 7.9 per cent in 2011, when there were 1.5 billion internet users in these markets, to drop to 2.5 per cent in 2018, when there are expected to be 2.0 billion users.

Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s head of forecasting, said “the rapid spread of mobile technology is transforming media consumption and marketing communication across the world".

He added: “For more and more people, their smartphone or tablet is the first place they look for information or entertainment. Marketers need a mobile-first approach to communicate with these people effectively.”

Looking ahead ZenithOptimedia’s report has predicted that South Korea will remain the top market for internet penetration in 2018, while Argentina and Estonia will emerge in the top ten rankings, displacing Singapore and Ireland.

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