Goodbye Internet, Hello Smartphone? Two thirds of People Will Own Smartphone by 2018

Goodbye Internet, Hello Smartphone Two thirds of People Will Own Smartphone by 2018We may be entering the smartphone era in a big, big way.

A new report from ZenithOptimedia forecasts that 66.5 percent of individuals in key digital markets will have a smartphone by the end of 2018. In the meantime, Internet user growth is slowing down.

The New Media Forecasts report from ZenithOptimedia shows that in the 47 leading countries, smartphone penetration rose from 41.6 percent in 2013 to 49.5 percent in 2014. Data suggests it will reach 55.7 percent this year.

This fourth edition of ZenithOptimedia’s annual forecast report analyzes the current state of digital marketing in 47 countries, “covering topics such as internet access, media consumption and online behaviour, and forecasts the rise of internet connections and smartphone and tablet technology,” according to the firm.

Some interesting highlights in the report include the fact that smartphone adoption is highest in Asia Pacific and Western Europe. Singapore has the highest level of smartphone penetration, at 89.0 percent at the end of 2014, projected to rise to 97.0% by 2018 (aided by the government’s intent to push ahead with its plan for universal Wi-Fi access).

And tablets are also growing in popularity.

“Across our 47 countries, penetration rose from 5.3 percent in 2012 to 14.8 percent in 2014, and we forecast it to reach 19.8 percent in 2018,” noted ZenithOptimedia. “Hong Kong tops the ranking of highest-penetration markets for tablets, with 77 percent penetration in 2015, which we expect to increase to 91 percent in 2018.”

As mentioned, growth of global internet users is facing a slowdown. The annual rate of growth has fallen from 7.9 percent in 2011, when there were 1.5 billion internet users in these markets. The report’s forecast is for a growth drop to 2.5 percent in 2018, when there will be 2.0 billion users.

“The rapid spread of mobile technology is transforming media consumption and marketing communication across the world,” said Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s Head of Forecasting. “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.”