by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
One would assume that South Korea has the highest smartphone penetration in the world with its legion of KakaoTalk users and lightning-speed Internet. However, according to a survey conducted by KT Corporation’s research center Digieco, the country’s ranking of smartphone penetration now rests at No. 4.
Of the 56 countries surveyed, the average smartphone penetration rate stood at 60 percent. Topping the list this year is the United Arab Emirates, with 90.8 percent of its population using smartphones. Singapore and Saudi Arabia followed with 87.7 and 86.1 percent, respectively.
South Korea’s rate reached 83 percent at the end of last March, a 3.5 increase from two years ago when the country was second in the rankings. Nearly 4 in 5 people in Korea now own a smartphone.
Sweden, Spain, Hong Kong, Norway, Taiwan and Australia rounded out the top 10. Surprisingly, Japan ranked near the bottom of the list at No. 43 with a 53.9 smartphone penetration rate.
According to the Digieco report, the global market has changed with the emergence of new markets, such as Thailand, which had the largest growth in smartphone users this year with a 23.7 percentage point gain. Other emerging markets, including Brazil, Malaysia, Vietnam and Russia, saw a sharp increase in penetration of more than 15 percentage points.
South Korea’s smartphone market is still dominated by Samsung Electronics at 63.4 percent, with LG trailing behind at 20.9 percent and Apple at 13.1 percent, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, reports Yonhap News Agency.
Featured image Brent Schmidt/Flickr