The Pew Research Center continues to amaze me with its continuous, astounding studies on smartphone and technology ownership in developed and emerging countries. This article summarizes emerging country smartphone growth, compared to developed nations.
You’ll find the following tables and comments in a series of articles on the Pew website. Unless otherwise noted, the data was collected mid-2015; with significant growth in the past year, therefore, the smartphone ownership demographics are dated.
Smartphone Ownership – Global Divide
A 2014 estimate indicates that India and China together will shortly own more smartphones than the U.S. But the percentages are deceiving. The combined populations of India and China represent 25% of the world’s population. Therefore, China’s 58% and India’s 17% smartphone penetration is a huge number.
Emerging Country Smartphone Growth
Age, Education, and Income Differences
The last chart in this article (see the Pew Report for two more), is the most revealing of the three. Clearly, Millennials (18-34), the better educated and those with higher incomes are much more likely to own smartphones, even in developing countries.
Notice India, in particular. Nearly a third of millennials and better educated Indians already have smartphones, while 20% of higher income residents own them.
In the Philippines and Indonesia, it’s 30%+ across the young, educated and wealthy.
On the African continent, 30% of millennials own them, although education and income are not strong determinants.
Likewise, Latin America boasts 50% smartphone ownership among all three demographics in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil.
China, the most populous country, has a staggering 85%, 86%, and 75% smartphone penetration (millennials, better educated, and higher income, respectively). These percentages, representing millions of people, exceed those of Japan, Spain, and Italy
Yet, as smartphones become cheaper and more plentiful, emerging country smartphone growth should continue expanding, reaching older, less educated and poorer segments of developing nations.