Feature Article

October 17, 2012

One in Seven People on Earth Uses a Smartphone

How many smartphone users are there in the world? While it sometimes seems that everyone on the planet has a smartphone, it’s not actually true. It’s more like one in seven.

A new study released by research firm Strategy Analytics this week found that as of the third quarter of this year, there are about one billion smartphones in use across the globe. This is the first time a study has shown smartphone penetration reaching the one-billion mark.

Consider that there are said to be about seven billion people on earth.

While Nokia is acknowledged as the earliest progenitor of the modern smartphone, few would dissent that the smartphone revolution was started by Apple and its wildly phenomenal iPhone.

Image via Shutterstock

“The iPhone revolutionized smartphone design and it catalyzed industry growth," said Strategy Analytics Senior Analyst Scott Bicheno in a statement announcing the report. "By the third quarter of 2011, we estimate there were 708 million smartphones in use worldwide. After a further year of soaring demand, the number of smartphones in use worldwide reached 1.038 billion units during the third quarter of 2012.”

Strategic Analytics did not break down the one-billion figure by specific smartphone operating system. Google’s Eric Schmidt has gone on the record as saying the company expects that there will be one billion Android-based smartphones operating in the world within the next year.

Strategic Analytics noted that despite how staggering this one-billion number sounds, one in seven on earth means market penetration is still low and growth opportunity is high.

“Most of the world does not yet own a smartphone and there remains huge scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa," said the research company’s executive director, Neil Mawston. "The first billion smartphones in use worldwide took 16 years to reach, but we forecast the next billion to be achieved in less than three years, by 2015.”

Edited by Braden Becker

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