According to a recent survey from Nielsen, mobile phone penetration in nine countries — five developed countries and the four BRICs — is above 80% in all nine. South Korea leads with 99% of consumers age 16 or older already using a mobile phone, followed by Russia at 98%, the U.K. and Italy at 97%, and the U.S. at 94%. China counts 89% of its consumers already using mobile phones, with Australia at 86%, Brazil at 84%, and India at 81%.
There are wide differences in types of phones, though, with smartphones like the iPhone from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and the Android-based Galaxy S3 from Samsung Electronics more widely adopted in the developed world and feature phones more prevalent in Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRICs). Part of the divide here is due to unavailability of high-speed 3G and 4G networks, as well as the higher data costs of the high-speed networks.
A couple of interesting tidbits from Nielsen’s report:
- Among developed markets, smartphone ownership is lowest in the U.S. based on data collected during the first two quarters of 2012, but has steadily increased over the last few years, reaching 61 percent by December 2012.
- Younger users are more likely to own smartphones and older users are more likely to own feature phones.
- Russia (51%) and Brazil (48%) lead in consumers who own more than one mobile device.
The Nielsen report is available here.