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2.4bn smartphone users in 2017, says eMarketer

David Murphy

Almost 2.4bn people will use a smartphone this year, an increase of 10.8 per cent, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. Worldwide smartphone penetration will continue to increase, and by the end of 2018, more than a third of the global population will be using a smartphone. This year more than 54 per cent of mobile phone users will be smartphone users.

“Not only are smartphones becoming more affordable globally, but the devices aimed at the low end of the smartphone market in fast-growing countries are beginning to rival the quality that consumers have come to expect from more expensive brands such as Apple and Samsung, both brands that dominated early smartphone adoption,” said Monica Peart, eMarketer’s senior forecasting director.

The popularity of affordable, large screen smartphones, however, is bad news for tablet usage. This year eMarketer estimates that there will be 1.2 billion tablet users, representing just over 16 per cent of the global population, and olnly a modest 8.8 per cent up on last year. This flattening of growth is largely coming from APAC – where new internet users are opting for smartphones to get online.

The report also looks at internet usage and concludes that in 2017, there will be almost 3.5bn internet users worldwide, representing 46.8 per cent of the global population. By the end of 2019, eMarketer predicts that more than half of the global population will use the internet, either through a PC or mobile device.

The Asia-Pacific region will see the most growth in new internet users this year. Within APAC, India and Indonesia, will add the most new Internet users this year, growing by 15.2 per cent and 10.6 per cent respectively. In India, one-third of the population, will be internet users in 2017, while in Indonesia almost 39 per cent will be online.

In China, internet users are expected to grow by 5.7 per cent this year. Thanks to older people going online in urban areas in China, eMarketer predicts that by 2021 almost two-thirds of the population in China will be Internet users.

In Western Europe, 76.5 per cent of the population will use the internet in 2017. Going forward Internet user growth will slow below 2 per cent - indicating that urban areas are reaching saturation.

eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness.