Smartphone penetration to reach 66% in 2018


In 2018, 66% of individuals in 52 key countries will own a smartphone, up from 63% in 2017, according to Zenith’s Mobile Advertising Forecasts 2017, published on October 16th. The rapid expansion of smartphone ownership across the world has transformed the way that advertisers communicate with consumers. It is increasing the number of contacts between brands and consumers, by giving consumers new opportunities to connect to media content wherever they are.

Western Europe and Asia Pacific continue to lead the world in smartphone ownership. Zenith predicts that five markets will have smartphone penetration above 90% in 2018: the Netherlands (94%), Taiwan (93%), Hong Kong (92%), Norway and Ireland (each at 91%). The country with the highest number of smartphone users will be China, with 1.3 billion users.

Tablet ownership is much less common than smartphone ownership. Globally, Zenith estimates tablet penetration at 18.7% this year, up slightly from 17.8% in 2016. It appears to be stabilising at about 20%: Zenith forecasts penetration levels of 19.5% in 2018. Tablet ownership is most common in the Netherlands (at 74% penetration this year), Australia (66%) and Ireland (65%). Tablets have not caught on at all in China, where their penetration is estimated at just 4.8% this year, compared to 85.4% for smartphones. Tablet ownership varies widely across the 52 countries in the report.

Mobile devices (including both smartphones and tablets) are now the primary means of accessing the internet for most users, and will account for 73% of time spent using the internet in 2018. Mobile internet use has doubled since 2011, when it accounted for 36% of all internet use. The markets where mobile devices have the highest shares of internet use are Spain, with an estimated 81% of internet use coming from mobile devices this year, Italy (78%), China (77%), the US (77%) and India (73%).

For the first time this year, according to Zenith’s quarterly Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, the amount of money spent on internet ads going to mobile ads has overtaken the amount on spent on desktop ads. Zenith estimates that 53% of all internet adspend in 2017 will go to ads viewed on mobile devices, and forecast that the proportion for internet adspend on mobile devices will rise to 59% in 2018.


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