Smartphone: Global penetration to hit 66% in 2018


Sequel to the rapid expansion of smartphone ownership across the world, 66 per cent of individuals in an array of 52 key countries, which include South Africa along with various developed and developing countries across the globe, will own a smartphone in 2018.

According to Zenith’s Mobile Advertising Forecasts 2017, published on 16 October 2017, this number is up from 63 per cent in 2017; and 58 per cent in 2016.

The report has also shown that the rapid expansion of smartphone ownership across the world, which has transformed the way that advertisers communicate with consumers, is slowing down as penetration reaches 80 per cent-90 per cent in the most advanced markets.

The number of smartphone owners will increase by seven per cent year on year in 2018, compared to 10 per cent growth in 2017, 14 per cent in 2016 and 21 per cent in 2015.

The spread of smartphones and other mobile devices is increasing the number of contacts between brands and consumers, by giving consumers new opportunities to connect to media content wherever they are, at any time in the day.

Some of these contacts take the form of paid advertising in third-party content, but mobile technology is also enabling broader brand experiences, such as branded content and social media engagement.

Western Europe and Asia Pacific continue to lead the world in smartphone ownership. The report predicts that five markets will have smartphone penetration above 90 per cent in 2018: the Netherlands (94 per cent), Taiwan (93 per cent), Hong Kong (92 per cent), Norway and Ireland (each at 91 per cent).

11 markets will have penetration levels between 80 per cent and 90 per cent, all of them in Western Europe and Asia Pacific with the exception of Israel, where penetration will be 86 per cent.

The country with the highest number of smartphone users will be China, with 1.3 billion users, followed by India, with 530 million users. The US will be third, with 229 million users.

Mobile devices (including both smartphones and tablets) are now the primary means of accessing the internet for most users, and will account for 73 per cent of time spent using the internet in 2018, up from 70 per cent in 2017 and 65 per cent in 2016.

59 per cent of Internet advertising expenditure will be mobile in 2018.

“For most consumers and advertisers, the mobile internet is now the normal internet,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence.

“The ownership of mobile devices is beginning to saturate in some markets, but there’s plenty of room for further growth across the rest of the world.”

Speaking on the report, Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s Global Brand President, said, “Because the Internet is now mobile, brands have the opportunity to use it to communicate to consumers during more of their lives – when they are shopping, socialising and travelling as well as when at their desks.

“By reaching consumers at the right occasions with tailored messages, brands can guide them through the consumer journey more effectively.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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