New research shows 6 countries are the clear leaders in smartphone adoption. Do you know which ones?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 11:00 AM

As smartphones grow in number and importance, finding good data to understand mobile consumer behavior is increasingly important for businesses. Today we are launching the new 2012 Our Mobile Planet smartphone research for 26 countries at  Altogether Our Mobile Planet provides free access to unique data for a total of 40 countries in 22 languages from the 2011 and 2012 waves of research. We commissioned Ipsos MediaCT to conduct this research and are making it available in conjunction with the Mobile Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

So which 6 countries have the highest smartphone adoption? Australia, UK, Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia and UAE all have more than 50% of their population on smartphones.  An additional seven countries - the US, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland - now have more than 40% smartphone penetration. These numbers show that a global mobile movement is happening as smartphone  adoption moves mainstream.  Mobile devices have become indispensable to people’s lives and are driving massive changes in consumer behavior.

Visit today to: provides smartphone usage data for 40 countries
  • Discover new mobile insights and create custom, presentation-ready charts.  You can compare across 40 countries, see year-over-year trends, or segment by demographics to understand specific  smartphone usage patterns  with our updated chart builder tool.
  • Get the country level Executive Summary Reports.   Download a summary of the key research findings to learn how smartphones have transformed core consumer behaviors, including how we search, shop, keep ourselves entertained and navigate the world.  Country reports are available for the 26 countries in the 2012 research.
  • Dive deeper with full data downloads.   Access the raw country level data for the 2012 research.

Global Findings from the 2012 Research
These are key highlights and findings from the 26 countries in the 2012 research:

Mobile moves mainstream as smartphone adoption advances rapidly around the world.  
Explore smartphone data patterns on
  • The UK (51%), Sweden (51%) and Norway (54%) all saw a dramatic increase of more than 20% in smartphone adoption in less than one year.  
  • 52% of Australians own a smartphone, 15% more than did last year.
  • Among the 26 countries, smartphone penetration was highest in the Middle East at 62% in the UAE and 60% in Saudi Arabia.  
  • Argentina is starting to see  strong traction in smartphone adoption as nearly a quarter of the population (24%) uses a smartphone.
Consumers in emerging markets have some of the highest levels of mobile engagement.
New in 2012, we’ve added data for China, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  

  • People in these countries are the biggest information seekers with 68% of smartphone users in China, 73% in Saudi Arabia and 72% in Argentina searching on their mobile device daily.
  • Consumers in Egypt and Brazil are among the heaviest social networkers with 91% and 88% of smartphone users doing this.
  • 59% of smartphone owners in China have made a purchase on their device, the highest among all countries in this study.

Looking for local information is a near universal smartphone behavior.
Consumers everywhere are using their smartphones to find businesses near them, then take action.

  • 91% of Mexican smartphone owners look for local information and 88% take action.
  • 58% of the French visit a business after looking for local information
  • 48% of smartphone users in the UAE call a business after a local smartphone search.

Consumers are multi-tasking their media consumption.
There’s a clear global pattern of increasingly fragmented media attention as consumers shift between screens.

United States: Multi-tasking Mobile with other Media
Country Reports provide an executive summary of key smartphone findings
for the 26 countries in the 2012 research
  • 80% of Japanese use their mobile device while consuming other media.  53% use their phones while watching TV and 30% while using the Internet on their computer.
  • In the US, 51% use their phones while listening to music
  • In Spain, 36% engage with mobile while reading a magazine.
  • 75% in Brazil have performed a mobile search after seeing an offline ad.

Smartphones have made us smarter shoppers and influence purchase decisions.
Smartphones have  become an important shopping tool that impact if and where we make a purchase.

  • 100% of smartphone owners in Japan use their phone to research a purchase.
  • 36% of Egyptians have changed their mind about a purchase while in a store due to smartphone research.  
  • People are researching items on their smartphones before making a purchase in other channels. 52% in Ireland end up making a  purchase on their computer and 37% in Argentina purchase in a store after researching on their smartphones.

We’ll be diving deep into regional data and insights over the next few days, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, visit  to find answers to more of your questions about the mobile consumer.

Posted by: Dai Pham, Group Product Marketing Manager, Google Mobile Ads