It seems that the well-educated, youth has raced passed its adult counterparts in the smartphone race in both, advanced as well as emerging economies. In a recent survey conducted among more than 30,000 people in 27 countries, the Pew Research Center found that smartphone ownership is growing around the world, but not equally. Education and Age play an important role in deciding the outcome.
More than 5 billion people worldwide have mobile ownership and over half of these are smartphones, thanks to our ever-increasing dependency on Internet services and cheaper data tariffs. People in advanced economies are more likely to have mobile phones and use the internet than people in emerging economies. A median of 76% across 18 advanced economies surveyed has smartphones, compared with a median of only 45% in emerging economies which speaks volume on the notion that economic and technological progress go together.
South Korea tops the chart among advanced countries where 100% of the adult population owns a mobile device. It is closely followed by Israel, Netherlands, and Sweden with 98% mobile ownership. The study establishes the fact that a vast majority of the adult population in advanced countries has adapted to mobile phones. Only Canada comes as a shocker where one-quarter of the population has no mobile phone. High smartphone usage in urban areas draws a stark contrast with low or zero connectivity in the remote areas of the Great White North.
Image source: Weforum
It is no surprise that rising living standards are creating huge new mobile markets across the developing world. China and India now have larger smartphone markets than the US, and other economies like Indonesia’s and Brazil’s are catching up fast. But “Age” factor draws a clear winner among the emerging economies.
Age Gap: In most of the emerging economies, the age gap in smartphone ownership has been growing in the last 3 years. The older age group is adapting to smartphones and more likely to have phones now than they were a few years ago, but the rate of adoption has been much faster among the younger age group. In Indonesia, for example, those 34 yrs and under are 53 percentage points more likely to have a smartphone today than those aged 50 and above – compared with a gap of only 31 percentage points in 2015.
Among the emerging economies, India has the slowest growth in the last 3 years and the lowest percentage of “50 years+ adults” owning a smartphone. Mexico has shown the fastest growth in smartphones ownership in this age-group whereas the Philippines has shown the fastest growth in smartphone ownership of “34 and under” age group in the last 3 years.