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Research / Insights on current and emerging industry topics

Advanced economies use technology more, but smartphone and internet usage is on the rise worldwide

February 23, 2016 | By Research Team—DCN

Tpewincreasehere has been a noticeable rise over the past two years in the percentage of people in the emerging and developing nations surveyed by Pew Research Center who say that they use the internet and own a smartphone. From 2013 to 2015, the percentage of those across 21 emerging and developing countries that use the internet occasionally or own a smartphone rose to 54%, with much of that increase coming from large emerging economies such as Malaysia, Brazil and China. By comparison, a median of 87% use the internet across 11 advanced economies surveyed in 2015, including the U.S. and Canada, major Western European nations, developed Pacific nations (Australia, Japan and South Korea) and Israel. And Pew reports that overwhelming majorities in almost every nation surveyed report owning some form of mobile device, even if they are not considered “smartphones.”

Among Pew’s other key findings:

  • For smartphone ownership, the digital divide between less advanced economies and developed economies is 31 points in 2015.
  • Smartphone ownership rates in emerging and developing nations rose from a median of 21% in 2013 to 37% in 2015.
  • Roughly three-quarters of adult internet users across the 40 countries surveyed in 2015 say that they use the internet at least once a day.
  • It is almost universal that people with more education and higher incomes are more likely to use the internet or own a smartphone than those with lower incomes and less education.
  • Also within nearly every country,Millennials (those ages 18 to 34) are much more likely to be internet and smartphone users compared with those ages 35 and older.
  • There are gender gaps on many aspects of technology use. For example, in 20 nations, men are more likely than women to use the internet.


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