We’re Almost There: 66 Percent of People in Top Digital Markets Will Own Smartphone in 2018

We're Almost There 66 Percent of People in Top Digital Markets Will Own Smartphone in 2018Smartphone adoption in the world’s top digital markets hasn’t slowed down.

In fact, 66.5 percent of individuals in key digital markets will have a smartphone by the end of 2018, according to the New Media Forecasts report from ZenithOptimedia.

The just released report indicates that in 47 leading countries, smartphone penetration rose from 41.6 percent in 2013 to 49.5 percent in 2014. It is expected to surge to 55.7 percent in 2015.

It’s the fourth edition of ZenithOptimedia’s annual “New Media Forecasts” report, which provides snapshots of the current state of digital marketing in 47 countries.

“Smartphone adoption is highest in Asia Pacific and Western Europe, and we expect these regions to maintain their lead for the next few years,” reports ZenithOptimedia. “Of the markets studied, Singapore has the highest level of smartphone penetration, at 89.0 percent at the end of 2014, and we think this will leap to 97.0 percent by 2018 as the government pushes ahead with its plan for universal Wi-Fi access.”

After Singapore, Spain and Ireland follow with 86.7 percent and 83.0 percent, respectively. The other top ten markets are also all in Asia Pacific and Western Europe: South Korea, Norway, Japan, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

Of note is the fact that growth of global internet users is slowing down.

“In our 47 top markets we estimate there will be 1.9 billion internet users at the end of 2015, representing about 60 percent of all internet users across the world, and 3.9 percent more than there were at the end of last year,” reports ZenithOptimedia. “The annual rate of growth has fallen from 7.9 percent in 2011, when there were 1.5 billion internet users in these markets, and we expect it to drop to 2.5 percent in 2018, when there will be 2.0 billion users.”

For the moment, the company pegs South Korea as the top market for internet penetration in 2018.

“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.”