Smartphone Popularity Around the World

china phonesGoogle has pioneered its Our Mobile Planet site, allowing users to see the latest in data for smartphone usage all over the world, from nation to nation. There are over a billion people in the world who currently use smartphones, and for many of these people, it’s the most reliable way to connect to the Internet.

Worldwide Smartphone Usage

Let’s look at the numbers. 80% of people all over the world now use cell phones – that’s 5 billion cell phones in use. More and more people are eschewing landlines entirely in favor of going mobile. Over a fifth of the mobile phones in the world are smartphones – that’s more than a billion smartphones, over 90 million of which are used in the USA. So if most smartphones are being used outside of the US, that means people worldwide are text messaging, browsing online, checking emails, playing games, and social networking, all from their smartphones.

Let’s look at which smartphones are popular in the global market:

  • Windows Mobile, one of the least popular smartphone operating systems in many parts of the world, is the most used in Egypt.
  • Android is farthest head in Japan, having won over more than half of smartphone users.
  • BlackBerry is most popular in the United Arab Emirates.
  • iOS, on the other hand, is most popular in Switzerland, with over half of the nation’s smartphone users responding that it was their top choice.
  • In China, Egypt, Mexico and Brazil, smartphones are popular because they can be used discreetly.

Implications for International Online Marketing

Beyond the fun facts listed above, let’s consider the smartphone effects on marketing. After all, mobile shopping is popular worldwide, with over half of Chinese and slightly under half of Egyptian users buying products from their phones. In Japan and China, users also love writing reviews of products, services, and local businesses, while in North America, users love searching for the best local restaurants and bars.

What’s it all mean? The answer is simple: the focus from print marketing has shifted online; online marketing is beginning to make sure that it’s also going mobile. Larger companies like Amazon already have apps, while smaller businesses are beginning to consider mobile versions of their websites.

The takeaway? If your business doesn’t have a mobile site yet, it may be time to make mobile access your priority. A website that isn’t mobile-optimized could be turning your prospective customers into your competitor’s loyal customers.

Have you gone mobile yet? Is your business thinking about designing an app?

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Tree is a somewhat nomadic graduate student pursuing an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Drew University. A self-identified “diplobrat,” she spent over 16 years living as an expat in countries like Guatemala, Bolivia, and Tanzania. Tree graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature, a minor in Studio Art, and a concentration in Landscape Studies. In between writing poetry for school and content for CEM, she dabbles in goat herding and freelancing. Other interests include reading, watercolor painting, gardening, and traveling.

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