December 2011
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Day December 13, 2011

Global smartphone penetration nearing 10%

Tomi Ahonen has compiled a fascinating data set on 42 major countries’ smartphone penetration rates. The compilation is based on Netsize Guide, Informa, Google and Ipsos data. It is a complex sample with multiple possible sources of error (read the post for the caveats.) However, this is a breakthrough. It’s the first time I’ve seen this level of detail at a country level in the public domain.

I maintain visualizations of ITU data which shows overall mobile consumption and broadband consumption and penetration. In order to maintain a consistent basis of comparison, I prefer to use ITU’s measure of consumption which is “subscriptions” rather than “population”. The ITU derives this measure because mobile operators think of points of connection (subs) rather than people as the measure of consumption. This makes some sense because connections are what are monetized–not people.

So the first piece of analysis is to show this measure of penetration (smartphones as a percent of subscriptions) for the 42 sampled countries.

This view shows which countries “lead” adoption in terms of penetration. It shows that the US is quite high in the ranking and the most penetrated “large” country.

This is highlighted by the following chart which shows penetration of smartphones vs. total subscriptions with bubble size representing population size.