New research: Global surge in smartphone usage, UK sees biggest jump with 15% increase

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | 8:11 AM


Mobile devices are mainstream. In fact, according to our newest research more consumers in the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan use a mobile phone (feature phone or smartphone) than a computer (desktop or laptop).

But our most significant findings centered on the clear consumer shift to smartphones. This trend was evident in all countries, with the UK showing the largest increase in smartphone usage from 30 to 45% of the total population. We also found that the demographics of smartphone owners are shifting. Smartphone usage among females increased in all five countries. Smartphone ownership also rose among those aged 45+ in the US, UK and France. 

We partnered with Ipsos to conduct this research with a goal of gaining greater insight into consumer usage of mobile devices, the shift to smartphones and the emergence of tablets as a fourth screen. This study was fielded amongst the total population in the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan. Phase 1 of the research was conducted in January and February 2011 and Phase 2 in September and October 2011.

Some of the key findings of this new research include:

  • Consumers are clearly shifting from feature phones to smartphones. Smartphone penetration reached 45% in the UK, 38% in the US and France, 23% in Germany and 17% in Japan.  
  • Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones for Internet access. Germany saw the biggest increase with the percentage of smartphone owners using their device for daily Internet access jumping from 39% to 49%, while Japan had the highest percentage accessing the Internet daily on their smartphone at 88%.  A little over two-thirds of smartphone users in the US and over half of smartphone users in the UK access the mobile Internet daily.
  • Smartphone owners are continuing to get online on their computers. Across all five countries approximately 75% of smartphone owners said they continued to use their computer to access the Internet daily.  
  • Consumers are embracing tablets as the fourth screen. Tablet usage increased across all five countries with the highest penetration amongst the total population in the US at 11%. The rate of tablet usage is even higher amongst smartphone owners - hitting 17% in the US, 11% in Japan and 10% in the UK.
Download the PDF report here to see the full set of data from this research.

Posted by: Nicole Leverich, Google Mobile Ads Marketing