Thank you Netsize Guide and Informa! Thank you Google and Ipsos! We have finally some solid international data on smartphone penetration rates, broken down nationally. Not every country yet, but we can do a very solid analysis of 42 major countries, that cover 72% of the world's mobile phone subscriptions with countries included from all six inhabited continents.
The data from the two sources is not really measuring exactly the same things, and there are considerable discrepancies on some of the data, but digging into both sources, we can get pretty good clarity on the actual national per-capita rates of smartphones, which should be very useful data for those who are interested in smartphones, their users and the related ecosystems. We also can calculate the national migration rates for those countries (which is a less-useful measure than per-capita penetration rate, but a number more likely reported nationally).
WHAT THEY MEASURE AND HOW
First what they measure. Please note, both sources are free in the public domain. Google and Ipsos released their smartphone penetration rate website in the Autumn and it was current as of this summer. It is survey data conducted by Ipsos for Google. They measured for most countries the proportion of smartphones used by actual mobile phone subscribers, so its not a national per-capita rate for smartphones, but we can calculate out that number of course. For the countries in the emerging world markets, however, the measure is not national penetration, they only measured the big cities (ie for China, India etc). So in the Google/Ipsos study, the Industrialized World numbers are quite 'realistic' but the Emerging World country numbers are too high, because of course most rural population tend to be poorer than their cousins in the cities, and thus smartphone penetration rates in rural areas are lower than in cities. Google and Ipsos gave us 30 countries they had measured. Also remember, some consumers do not know what kind of phone they have so this measure may under-count the total number of smartphones, but in those cases, the phones that might be missed, would almost certainly not be used 'as smartphones'.
Then for the Netsize Guide. Its mobile telecoms numbers come from one of the most complete global comprehensive databases of mobile numbers, those of Informa. So the Netsize Guide numbers are Informa numbers. Informa has not surveyed end-users on the smartphone penetration rates like Ipsos, but rather measured from mobile operator and national regulator data the number of smartphone 'subscriptions' ie who has all-you-can-eat or Blackberry or other smartphone accounts. Note, that this will under-count total smartphone handset populations where some might own a smartphone but is not paying for a smartphone subscription, but in that case, the smartphone is used like a dumbphone, so this is also a very good measure of what smartphones are actually used as smartphones.
In the Netsize Guide there are unfortunately several of its surveyed countries that do not supply a smartphone unit count number, including several countries that are usually listed among the leaders in most mobile statistics (Finland, Norway and Denmark) and which are high among Google's survey of smartphone adoption rate (Switzerland). Plus some others that probably do not have high smartphone penetration rates in any case (Morocco). Even so, after those are eliminated, the Netsize Guide gives smartphone counts for 34 countries. As the two have mostly overlap but not completely, and after some of my best analysis on which numbers we can use, I come up with 42 countries that we can rely on these numbers to be very close to the truth, enough so that I can call these my 'official' national penetration rates according to TomiAhonen Consulting. I have indicated for you my confidence on the numbers (the more stars, the less I am confident in the accuracy of the number: no stars is most accurate, five stars is least accurate)
42 MAJOR COUNTRIES RANKED BY SMARTPHONE PENETRATION RATES
So here are the 42 countries, ranked in order of their smartphone penetration rate percentage, per capita. You also see the ranking, the name of the country, the national population rate, the national mobile phone subscriber count, and the migration rate of mobile subcribers to smartphones; and finally the rate of smartphone penetration per capita.
Rank . Country . . . . . Population . . Subs . Sm'phones . Migr.Rt . . Per Capita
1 . . . . Singapore . . . . . . . . . 4.9 . . . 8.1 . . . 4.4 . . . . 54% . . . . 90%
2 . . . . Hong Kong *** . . . . . 8.0 . . . 14.0 . . . 4.9 . . . . 35% . . . . 61%
3 . . . . Sweden . . . . . . . . . . 9.3 . . . 13.6 . . . 4.8 . . . . 35% . . . . 52%
4 . . . . Australia . . . . . . . . . 21.6 . . . 29.8 . . . 10.2 . . . . 34% . . . . 47%
5 . . . . Spain . . . . . . . . . . . 45.5 . . . 58.9 . . . 20.8 . . . . 35% . . . . 46%
tie 6 . . Denmark * . . . . . . . 5.5 . . . 7.6 . . . 2.4 . . . . 32% . . . . 44%
tie 6 . . Israel *** . . . . . . . . 7.0 . . . 11.0 . . . 3.1 . . . . 28% . . . . 44%
tie 8 . . Finland * . . . . . . . . 5.4 . . . 9.6 . . . 2.3 . . . . 24% . . . . 43%
tie 8 . . Norway * . . . . . . . . 4.9 . . . 6.2 . . . 2.1 . . . . 34% . . . . 43%
10 . . . New Zealand ** . . . . 4.3 . . . 5.5 . . . 1.8 . . . . 33% . . . . 42%
11 . . . UK . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62.1 . . . 82.4 . . . 25.0 . . . . 30% . . . . 40%
tie 12 . Italy . . . . . . . . . . . . 60.2 . . . 87.8 . . . 22.8 . . . . 26% . . . . 38%
tie 12 . Netherlands . . . . . . 16.7 . . . 19.7 . . . 6.3 . . . . 32% . . . . 38%
tie 14 . Austria . . . . . . . . . 8.4 . . . 13.0 . . . 3.0 . . . . 23% . . . . 36%
tie 14 . Taiwan *** . . . . . . . 23.0 . . . 31.0 . . . 8.2 . . . . 26% . . . . 36%
tie 16 . Greece ** . . . . . . . . 11.2 . . . 15.6 . . . 3.9 . . . . 25% . . . . 35%
tie 16 . Ireland ** . . . . . . . . 4.6 . . . 5.6 . . . 1.6 . . . . 29% . . . . 35%
tie 16 . Portugal ** . . . . . . . 10.7 . . . 17.0 . . . 3.7 . . . . 22% . . . . 35%
tie 16 . USA . . . . . . . . . . . 319.1 . . 319.4 . . 111.8 . . . . 35% . . . . 35%
20 . . . South Korea ***** . . . 48.6 . . . 54.0 . . . 16.4 . . . . 30% . . . . 34%
tie 21 . Canada ** . . . . . . . . 34.1 . . . 26.5 . . . 10.4 . . . . 39% . . . . 30%
tie 21 . Switzerland * . . . . . 7.6 . . . 9.7 . . . 2.3 . . . . 24% . . . . 30%
tie 21 . France . . . . . . . . . 62.8 . . . 66.0 . . . 18.8 . . . . 28% . . . . 30%
tie 24 . Germany . . . . . . . . 82.0 . . 107.7 . . . 23.0 . . . . 21% . . . . 28%
tie 24 . Belgium* . . . . . . . . 10.7 . . . 12.8 . . . 3.0 . . . . 23% . . . . 28%
tie 26 . Poland ** . . . . . . . 38.0 . . . 49.2 . . . 7.1 . . . . 14% . . . . 19%
tie 26 . Malaysia ** . . . . . . 28.1 . . . 36.6 . . . 5.2 . . . . 14% . . . . 19%
28 . . . Russia ** . . . . . . . 140.0 . . 234.4 . . . 25.0 . . . . 11% . . . . 18%
29 . . . South Africa . . . . . 50.6 . . . 58.8 . . . 8.7 . . . . 15% . . . . 17%
tie 30 . Czech Rep ** . . . . 10.4 . . . 14.2 . . . 1.7 . . . . 12% . . . . 16%
tie 30 . Hungary ** . . . . . . 10.0 . . . 11.4 . . . 1.6 . . . . 14% . . . . 16%
32 . . . Thailand ** . . . . . . 68.3 . . . 78.3 . . . 10.0 . . . . 13% . . . . 15%
tie 33 . Japan ***** . . . . . . 126.9 . . 126.8 . . . 18.1 . . . . 14% . . . . 14%
tie 33 . Brazil ** . . . . . . . . 197.7 . . 229.5 . . . 28.0 . . . . 12% . . . . 14%
tie 33 . Romania ** . . . . . 21.1 . . . 31.0 . . . 2.9 . . . . 9% . . . . 14%
36 . . . Turkey . . . . . . . . . 76.0 . . . 66.3 . . . 8.3 . . . . 13% . . . . 11%
37 . . . Ukraine ** . . . . . . 45.0 . . . 52.1 . . . 4.5 . . . . 9% . . . . 10%
tie 38 . Indonesia **** . . . . 229.0 . . 212.0 . . . 18.1 . . . . 9% . . . . 8%
tie 38 . Mexico ** . . . . . . . 111.1 . . . 99.3 . . . 8.7 . . . . 9% . . . . 8%
40 . . . Slovakia ** . . . . . . . 5.4 . . . 6.5 . . . 0.4 . . . . 6% . . . . 7%
41 . . . China ** . . . . . . . . 1360.0 . . 961.3 . . . 77.1 . . . . 8% . . . . 6%
42 . . . India ** . . . . . . . . 1220.0 . . 973.0 . . . 33.2 . . . . 3% . . . . 3%
(no star) average of both studies (best number)
* using surrogate data for Netsize, then averaged (second best number)
** using only Netsize/Informa data
*** only using Google/Ipsos data
**** Indonesia: using only half of rate from Google/Ipsos (because surveyed only city penetration)
***** Japan and S Korea: These numbers are NOT indicative of how advanced phones are in those countries, while technically are reasonably accurate measures of 'only smartphones'
Source for above: TomiAhonen Consulting Analysis December 2011, based on raw data from Google/Ipsos, the Netsize Guide/Informa, and TomiAhonen Almanac 2011 reported data. You may quote the above table and any data from it, redesign the data, reorganize it and set it in any graphical form including use in Infographics and White Papers, as long as you list as the source: TomiAhonen Consulting 2011. If you mention the data, please include a link to this blog.
While 2009 was the year when Hong Kong new sales of smartphones passed featurephones, 2010 that happened in Western Europe and in Q1 of 2011, that milestone passed in the USA, we now have three countries where smartphone total installed base is also above 50% of the total population - Singapore, Hong Kong and Sweden - countries that tend to populate the top of most mobile related statistics obviously.
Perhaps surprisingly strong is Spain, and perhaps surprisingly not in the top ten are Italy, Taiwan and Austria, usually top 10 type of mobile countries, but each of those is already within the top 14.
Japan and South Korea are listed far below their 'usual' rankings, but remember, both Japan and South Korea have strong domestic phone maker industries, that use domestic standards and offer very advanced phones, which have not really 'needed' to be smartphones, because both countries have very modern ecosystems where content providers get returned typically about 90% out of every dollar out of Japanese mobile internet services and in South Korea between 80% and 85%; compared to only 70% on the iPhone App Store. Standard 'featurephones' in Japan and South Korea have far more advanced features as standard than most Western 'smartphones' such as NFC, digital TV tuners, up to 16 megapixel cameras, HDMI outputs, and they often are waterproof for shower and bath use. More advanced phones in those markets have features such as in-built pico projectors, 'glassless' 3D displays, 3D stereoscopic cameras, WiFi routers, etc. So a measure of smartphone penetration rates per-capita for Japan and South Korea is not indicative of how advanced their domestic phone markets are. Most industry analysts rate both Japan and South Korea phone markets ahead of those in Singapore, Hong Kong and Sweden.
And yes, in Singapore there is a smartphone for 90% of the total population alive, here in Hong Kong there are smartphones for 61% of the population. A total of 11 countries have passed 40% per-capita adoption rate of smartphones ie in alphabetical order: Australia, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the UK. These countries are all mature enough to do mass-market smartphone apps and will all proceed to 100% per-capita penetration rate of smartphones within a few years from now. The rest of the world will follow according to that table, but clearly in the rest of the world, you are better off with mobile web and other simpler mobile services than apps.
BUT WE HAVE MORE
Hey, we have even more data we can now calculate. First, the above countries cover 72% of the mobile phone subscriptions on the planet. And it includes all of the larger markets in terms of volumes of smartphones sold. So we can calculate out of the total 575.6 million smartphones and then take reasonable estimates for the remaining nations - like say using the average of Brazil and Mexico to estimate the smartphone penetration percent for the rest of Latin America, etc. And we find the world has... 745 million smartphones in use (as smartphones). This is a very solid number.
Note, that there also are smartphones used as non-smartphones, ie second hand phones mostly in Africa and the poorer parts of Asia and the rest of the Emerging World markets. I estimate that at 175 million more used handsets which technically are smartphones - and could perhaps be used that way in the future, but are not new smartphones with data plans in use today. Those are obviously 90% Nokia branded Symbian phones as hand-me-downs from the UAE and Western Europe etc.
But yes, the world has 745 million smartphones in use today in a way we all know smartphones, so excluding Japanese superphones that may have Symbian OS but are not technically open for user-installed apps (and thus are not classified as smartphones) or are not second-hand smartphones that usually are not on data-plans and not used for apps or web browsing etc. That means also, that we know the migration rates. Out of all mobile phone subscriptions (5.9 Billion) today 13% already own a smartphone. And of actual handsets-in-use (remembering some have many prepaid accounts but may use only one phone and switch the SIM cards to optimize telecoms costs) which my consultancy estimates at 4.6 Billion total handsets in use at end-of-year 2011, that means 16% of all phones in use are actually smartphones.
REPLACEMENT CYCLE IS.. 11.5 MONTHS !
And then we can calculate the average replacement cycle.. The full smartphone population is less than 23 months old (complete replacement of total smartphone installed base). Thus the average replacement cycle of smartphones today is.. 11.5 months! Yes, the average smartphone owner replaces the smartphone annually. Compare that with the average replacement cycle for all mobile phones (smartphones and dumbphones) which is about 17 months, or just under a year-and-a-half. Obviously it means we have tons of very recent smartphones cluttering our closets and falling to waste. Why not donate yours to charity and for example used in Africa as a first phone? But back to our numbers. We know the replacement cycle and.. that also means.. that we can calculate:
MARKET SHARES OF INSTALLED BASE OF SMARTPHONES
Wow, this is so cool. We now have reasonably accurate total number and replacement rate, and we know very well what phone models and what OS platforms were sold in that period, so we can do accurate market shares by smartphone brand - and probably of more interest to my readers - by smartphone OS platform too. Note, this kind of info has previously been almost impossible to find and reports like Admob etc have been used as proxy where they have had totally distorted views of the existing smartphone installed base. Note, this analysis now is calculating the last 23 months back from Q3 of 2011, ie latest available data, the global installed base of total (new, not second-hand) smartphone base:
Brand . . Installed Base . . Market Share
Nokia . . . . . . . 168 M . . . 26%
Apple . . . . . . . 113 M . . . 17%
RIM . . . . . . . . 93 M . . . 14%
Samsung . . . . 77 M . . . 12%
HTC . . . . . . . 62 M . . . 10%
Motorola . . . . 28 M . . . 4%
SonyEricsson . 26 M . . . 4%
LG . . . . . . . . . 24 M . . . 4%
Others . . . . . . 57 M . . . 10%
Total . . . . . . . . 649 M
Source: TomiAhonen Consulting December 2011
(none of the others reach above 2%). Please note, that the earlier number of 745 million reflects the installed base at the end of 2011, ie after Q4 sales. The current market shares by installed base, are based on the latest available info, ie up to Q3 of 2011, so we are counting the November and December sales of 2009 which were far smaller than what we expect now for this Christmas Quarter. That is why this total is not 745 million, but rather 649 million.
And here are the numbers for the operating systems:
Android . . . . . . . . . 190 M . . . 31%
Symbian . . . . . . . . 190 M . . . 31%
iOS . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 M . . . 17%
Blackberry . . . . . . . 93 M . . . 14%
Windows Mobile . . 17 M . . . 3%
bada . . . . . . . . . . . 8 M . . . 1%
Windows Phone . . 5 M . . . 1%
Others . . . . . . . . . 33 M . . . 5%
Total . . . . . . . . . . . 649 M
Source: TomiAhonen Consulting December 2011
(None of the others reach 1%) First, for those who are not regular readers of this blog - that is counted by smartphones only, so understand, I am explicitly excluding any tablets and other gadgets that use those operating systems as well, including Samsung's Galaxy Tabs and Apple's iPads and iPod Touch's etc. That is strictly smartphone OS market shares.
Very interesting. Even eleven months after Nokia CEO killed Symbian as a 'burning platform' it is still tied for the world's most prevalent smartphone OS (arguably still called the first ecosystem); and similarly eleven months after he picked Windows Phone as the new OS as the supposed 'third ecosystem' we find that at BEST, the Windows Phone OS is the seventh ecosystem, totally dwarfed even by its incompatible older Windows Mobile OS haha..
And as the new sales now are so much more than unit sales of smartphones used to be just two years ago, the current market leaders like Apple's iPhone have also now passed the installed base of what used to have the comfort of a large installed base built over years - like Blackberry.
PS remember if you want to have all the data about the mobile phone handset market, my 2010 TomiAhonen Phone Book covers all the data to the end of 2010 over over 90 tables and charts. I will eventually be releasing a new edition of that statistical volume around summer or autumn 2012. If you need to know how many cameraphones are out there, or the market shares of new handset sales by year, or views of handset installed bases regionally, take a look at TomiAhonen Phone Book 2010.