After the charismatic Steve Jobs introduced the world to the smartphone several years ago, the world has never been the same.
A ‘phone’ nowadays stands for more than just texting and calling. A smartphone can be described as a pocket-sized personal portal to the world.
And with the magnitude of the smartphone industry, this incredible device breaks the records of sales and numerous other statistics year-after-year.
In this article we have researched and collected more than 30+ interesting facts and statistics about smartphones and the industry in general, so let’s discuss each one in details below.
Table of Contents
- Quick Interesting Facts and Stats About Smartphones
- 1) How many people own smartphones?
- 2) How many phones are sold each year?
- 3) How many people have cell phones in the USA?
- 4) How many people have cell phones in Europe?
- 5) How many people in Asia have smartphones?
- 6) How much of the global population owns smartphones (percentrage)?
- 7) Smart phone usage over the years (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
- 8) Android OS phone statistics in the world
- 9) Android: USA & Worldwide user base
- 10) Number of iPhone users worldwide
- 11) Smartphone user demographics
- 12) Smartphone user age Demographics in USA
- 13) How much is the cell phone industry worth?
- 14) Most popular phones in the world (2020-2021)
- 15) Most expensive phone in the world
- 16) Cheapest smartphone in the world
- 17) Best selling phone
- 18) Top selling smartphone manufacturers in the world – sales statistics
- 19) Smartphone usage by age
- 20) What percentage of phones/devices use Android OS
- 21) How often does the average person check their phone?
- 22) Percentage of iPhone and Android users in the US
- 23) Which smartphone OS has the most users worldwide
- 24) How long have smartphones been around?
- 25) Mobile phone penetration in the US
- 26) Top 3 Countries by Smartphone Penetration
- 27) Samsung sales statistics
- 28) iPhone sales statistics
- 29) Average smartphone life
- 30) How often do people buy new phones?
- 31) Percentage of college students with smartphones
- 32) Which country has the largest number of cellphones
- 33) Cell phone addiction statistics
- 34) Facts about the first mobile phone
Quick Interesting Facts and Stats About Smartphones
- There are 3.8 billion Smartphone users worldwide in 2021.
- In 2020, a total number of 1.57 billion smartphones were sold in the world.
- More than 96% of people in the USA own a cell phone (smartphones and regular cell phones).
- Around 48.72% of the global population owns a smartphone device.
- On average, a person touches their phone 2617 times a day (includes all clicks, taps and swipes).
- Android OS devices have the largest marketshare worldwide (71.9%) but in the United States Android comes second (after iPhone iOS) with around 39% market share.
1) How many people own smartphones?
With around 7.8 billion people in the world, there are 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide (in 2021).
This means that around 48.72% of the total population on earth owns a smartphone device.
Some of the more prominent markets are India, China and USA with each country easily surpassing the 100 million user mark.
Ironically however, both India and China make a return appearance in the ‘untapped potential charts’.
India and China are part of a large group of countries with huge populations that still have not been totally penetrated by the smartphone industry.
There are still many potential markets which the conventional big boys like Samsung or Apple are yet to properly dwell into.
Another interesting fact is that despite the ‘smartphone’ user base being 3.8 billion users, the total ‘mobile phone’ user base is 5.22 billion strong.
This means roughly 1.42 billion people are still using regular feature phones or similar devices (not smartphones). Feature phones are cheap and are an ideal communication tool for people in 3rd world countries or living close to the poverty line.
Also, elderly people are more comfortable with feature phones and do not want smartphones. Facts like this contribute to the big 1.42 billion user number.
(Sources: Statista, Datareportal)
2) How many phones are sold each year?
The smartphone industry is as massive as it gets. With approximately 300 million new users each year and current users looking to upgrade, sales records are counted in billions.
In 2020, a rough total of 1.57 billion smartphones were sold. The largest buyers of smartphones were the up-and-coming Asian markets and Greater China.
The percentage rise in sales from 2007 to 2020 is an eyewatering of around 1200% with average yearly increase being 23.72%.
However, the average yearly increase number of 23.72% is mildly misleading. In the early days, the industry would see 50%, 60% increase yearly.
But soon after breaching the billion mark in 2014, the industry has hit a plateau. Since 2015, percentage increases have consistently been below 10% with sales failing to hit double digit increases since 2014.
(Sources: Statista, Gartner)
3) How many people have cell phones in the USA?
Smart phone ownership in the US has boomed over the years. When Pew Research Center first did a survey in 2011, 35% of the US population owned a smartphone.
Fast-forward to their 2019 survey and a vast 81% of the entire population owns a smartphone. A further 15% owns some form of a cell phone. This brings the total cell phone ownership in the US to 96% as of 2019.
4) How many people have cell phones in Europe?
A 2018 GSMA report initially stated that there were 465 million unique mobile subscriptions -users- in Europe. This roughly equated to 85% of the population.
Further revisions to the report now states that the percentage of the total population that owns a cell phone has risen to 86%.
Another notable statistic about Europe mobile connections is that by 2025 there will be 231 Million 5G connections which will account to 34% of the total cellular connections in Europe.
5) How many people in Asia have smartphones?
The Asia-Pacific region is one the fastest growing and increasingly hungry technology markets. GSMA reports that by the end of 2019, Asia had 2.8 billion mobile subscriptions- mobile users. Interestingly though, 2.8 billion is a mere 66% of the population.
The GSMA report forecasts that by 2025 there will be a total of 3 billion mobile subscribers in the region, which accounts for 70% of the population.
This proves that the Asian market is still quite a virgin market. But with heavy interest from some the world’s leading tech firms and an ever-hungry population- one that has really begun to enjoy the efficiency of technology- the Asian market will soon have numbers akin to its US and EU counterparts.
Another interesting fact about the Asian-Pacific region is that between 2020 and 2025, Mobile Operators will spend around $331 billion in 5G infrastructure.
6) How much of the global population owns smartphones (percentrage)?
As of 2021, there are 3.8 billion active smartphone users around the globe. From there in we take an approximate current world population of 7.8 (Google search reports 7.64 billion but, that number is from 2019) the percentage using mobile phones is around 48.72%. This means roughly every other person in the world nowadays is equipped with a smartphone.
7) Smart phone usage over the years (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
Worldwide smartphone usage first crossed the billion mark back in 2012 and has since gradually increased at a fairly constant and steady rate.
Between 2019 and 2021, each of the 3 years has seen roughly 300 million in increases per annum.
Before that, between 2016 and 2018, there were roughly 200 million new users each year.
Since 2012, smartphone usage has risen by 2.74 billion, a 258.49% increase. The largest increase in usage between the period 2012 and 2021 happened in the years 2015 and 2016 as usage rose by 640 million or 34.41%.
The smallest increase in the same period happened between 2017 and 2018 as usage increased by 7.41% (200 million) only.
On average, smartphone usage has seen a yearly increase of 15.6% (period: 2012- 2021).
The table below shows the total number of Smartphone users worldwide between 2012-2021 and the percent increase of each year compared to the previous one.
|Year||Number of Smartphone Users worldwide|
|2013||1.31 Billion (23.58% increase)|
|2014||1.57 Billion (19.84% increase)|
|2015||1.86 Billion (18.47% increase)|
|2016||2.5 Billion (34.41% increase)|
|2017||2.7 Billion (8% increase)|
|2018||2.9 Billion (7.41% increase)|
|2019||3.2 Billion (10.3% increase)|
|2020||3.5 Billion (9.3% increase)|
|2021||3.8 Billion (8.57% increase)|
(Source: Statista, Newzoo)
8) Android OS phone statistics in the world
Android is one of the two most prominent smartphone Operating Systems. As of 2019, there are 1.6 billion android users worldwide, this in percentage is 71.9% of the total user base.
Androids gain in popularity is propelled by its app ecosystem. As recorded in March 2020, there are 2.87 million apps available for download in the Google Playstore. This vast array of options is incentivising for users to begin to use Android.
9) Android: USA & Worldwide user base
Android, as discussed above, has the majority of the worldwide user base at 71.9%. Despite being the runaway winner worldwide, in the US, the story is wholly different.
Latest statistics show that Android’s US user base is capped at around 39% (131.2 million) only and Android is not the clear-dominant force in the US market.
On the other hand, iOS takes up 60.75% of the market in USA compared to Android.
(Source: Statista, Statcounter)
10) Number of iPhone users worldwide
Apple’s iPhone line-up pioneered the smartphone as we know it. The iPhone, over many years and iterations has built up this reputation of being the pioneer as Apple is able to promote industry advancements and innovations through the iPhone. As of 2020, the iPhone has surpassed the 1 billion user mark worldwide.
(Source: Statista, Aboveavalon)
11) Smartphone user demographics
Smartphones, unlike other gadgets in our lives, are used universally in all ages and groups. 96% of people from ages 18-29 nowadays own a smartphone in USA.
92% of the age group 30-49 own a smartphone as well.
Even elderly people from ages 50-64 own a smartphone- 79% of them exactly.
The key takeaway is that a smartphone nowadays is an essential electronic device for everyone. In fact, 60% of users report that having a smartphone gives them confidence. A further 54% say that their smartphone reduces their stress and anxiety levels.
(Source: pewresearch, thinkwithgoogle)
12) Smartphone user age Demographics in USA
According to a report from Pewresearch, the age bracket of 18-29 years old has the most users who own a Smartphone. Specifically, 96% of this age group own a smartphone.
On the other end, only 53% of people above 65+ years old own a smartphone.
13) How much is the cell phone industry worth?
The smartphone industry is a business filled to the brim with money. Just on the hardware side alone, the smartphone industry clocked up a total revenue of 355 billion from shipped devices in 2020.
With smartphones along with tablets making up for 60% of worldwide household smart connected devices, this large number is not a surprise, however.
14) Most popular phones in the world (2020-2021)
The popularity of any phone is determined by a few key factors. Those being:
- Price point
- Feature set
- Whether or not the phone provides an overall complete experience at given price
- Brand appeal
- Regional preferences- general population preference on OS and brand.
With those in mind, it is no surprise to see Samsung dominate the charts according to the popular GSMArena website.
Samsung is one of the biggest brands and delivers phones with good overall feature sets at many price points.
Their Galaxy A51 is by far the most popular phone worldwide followed by their A71 (in 2020-2021) according to GSM Arena.
Xiaomi, another Android juggernaut makes a 3rd place appearance with their Redmi Note 9 pro.
Apple appears next, ranking 4th worldwide with their iPhone 12 pro max. The relative meek worldwide performance however is not a true reflection of Apple’s success.
The EU and US markets are their main markets and they rank 1st in those. Enthusiast brand OnePlus secured a 9th spot with their 8 Pro flagship device.
15) Most expensive phone in the world
The most expensive phone in the world was made by FALCON- a US luxury brand. This brand’s SuperNova range were customised iPhone 6s models, adorning a plethora of precious stones and gold.
The most expensive version was the Falcon Supernova Pink Diamond version that cost a whopping $48.5 million US dollars.
16) Cheapest smartphone in the world
The least expensive phone ever announced to the world was Indian brand Ringing Bells’ Freedom 251 that cost 251 INR ≈ $4.
The story of the cheapest phone however ends being glee right there. The Ringing Bells’ company promised to bring an easy way of communicating to the poor in India.
These noble claims however were later discovered to be false and the whole Freedom 251 operation is now deemed a scam.
17) Best selling phone
The best selling phone ever were two of Nokia’s iconic early 2000s models, the Nokia 1100 and the Nokia 1110.
Both of these phones were simple old school feature phones that sold over 250million units each.
The best selling smartphones were Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6S launched in 2014. Collectively these two have sold over 220 Million units.
Motorola’s RAZR V3 is the highest selling flip phone having sold 130million units. Samsung’s E250- having sold 30 million units- became the best selling slider phone.
18) Top selling smartphone manufacturers in the world – sales statistics
According to a report from IDC in 2021, here are the top 5 selling smartphone manufacturers in the world:
- Samsung (266.7 million units sold in 2020)
- Apple (206.1 million units sold in 2020)
- Huawei (189 million units sold in 2020)
- Xiaomi (147.8 million units sold in 2020)
- Vivo (111.7 million units sold in 2020)
19) Smartphone usage by age
The different age groups have varying statistics when it comes to smartphone usage. 96% of people from ages 18-29 own a smartphone in USA.
For the age group 30-49 this number drops to 92%. A further decrease is prevalent in the age group 50-64 with only 79% of this age group owning a smartphone.
For people over 65, the percentage owing smartphones drops to 53%.
General trends show that younger people tend to spend more time with their phones either entertaining themselves or using social media.
Older people on the other hand mostly make use of the basic calling features only and do not spend much time on their phones.
20) What percentage of phones/devices use Android OS
According to Statcounter, the worldwide marketshare of Android Operating System in 2021 is around 71.9%.
21) How often does the average person check their phone?
The average smartphone usage can be, for many, a bit ashaming. On average, a person touches their phone 2617 times a day, unlocks it 150 times a day and can spend upwards of 3.7 hours on it.
Moreover, 60% of college students state that they are addicted to their phones. 75% of Americans are taking their phones to the toilet whilst 33% of teens take their phones to bed at night.
On average, a person can receive and send 94 texts each day- this is excluding chatting through DMs and other apps.
(Source: dscout, INC)
22) Percentage of iPhone and Android users in the US
iPhone vs Android is the smartphone world’s biggest battle. Both of these platforms aimed to be at the centre of everyone’s day.
But with the US population’s great preference to iPhones, iOS wins the battle of America with a 60.72% market share over Android’s 39.01%.
This difference has now been consistent for quite a few years with iPhone share ranging between 62% to 60% and Android share ranging proportionally between 37% to 39%.
23) Which smartphone OS has the most users worldwide
When talking about the worldwide market, between the two major player iOS and Android, the latter dominates and had dominated for quite a while.
Current Android market share is at 71.9% over iOS’ 27.33%. This is because Android is not just limited to premium iPhones priced at the top end.
Android is open source and comes in much lower costing devices. As a result, Android has been able to capture every single up and coming markets and has become a way of jumping into the smartphone world for the middle-class folk. Such widespread market penetration lends Android the throne.
24) How long have smartphones been around?
Even though most people associate the introduction of the iPhone 2G to be the inception of the smartphone, there was another that existed 20 years ago.
IBM and BellSouth teamed up to make ‘Simon’ a smartphone devices which was showcased in 1992. This smartphone had everything we commonly link to phones now.
It had a touch screen and had apps as well. It even had predictive typing. Despite the clear promise- in hindsight- Simon was a failure spending only 6 months on the market.
25) Mobile phone penetration in the US
As of 2020, there are 270 million smartphone users in the US. A smartphone user is someone who uses a smartphone at least once a month.
With a total of 330 Million population and 270 million of them using smartphones, the mobile phone penetration in the US is around 81.6%.
26) Top 3 Countries by Smartphone Penetration
The smartphone penetration is the percentage of the population using a smart phone. Hence, even if a country has more users, it may rank lower because the total percentage using a phone is low. With that in mind, the top 3 countries by smartphone penetration are:
- US- 81.6%
- UK- 78.9%
- Germany- 77.9%
27) Samsung sales statistics
Samsung has consistently held on to the top spot for market share throughout 2018-2020. In most quarters, Samsung remained at the top with other companies mainly Apple and Huawei (before their fall due to US-China trade relation issues) only being able to match Samsung.
Over the course of the specified period, Samsung fell second only once in Q4 of 2020 having only amassed a 16% market share- their lowest in this period.
Samsung’s highest shipment amount was 80.4 million units in Q3 of 2020.
This was also the second time they gained 22% market share- their highest percentage share- having achieved this spot previously in Q1 of 2018.
Samsung’s lowest units shipped came back-to-back in Q1 and Q2 of 2020 as the company only shipped 58.6 and 54.2 million units respectively.
This can be corelated to the rather lukewarm reception of their new S20 series of phones- their flagship S series refresh for 2020; the Exynos SOC drama they had and the effects of the pandemic.
28) iPhone sales statistics
Apple has long been the premium consumer electronics brand in terms of smartphones and other gadgets in general.
Yet their market shares may often make people think otherwise. If we take a sample size of 3 years from and including 2018 to 2020, we see that iPhone market share usually dwells between 3rd and 2nd place.
This is because of the average prices of an iPhone. iPhones are premium devices and have characteristically lost out on the lower end market to Samsung and other growing Android companies like Xiaomi.
Throughout Q1 of 2018 to Q3 of 2019 Apple has stayed between 10 to 12 % of market share with Q4 of 2018 being different as it saw the iPhone capture 17% share upon the arrival of the iPhone XS max.
The iPhone’s biggest quarter came in Q4 of 2020 as Apple shipped 81.9 million units and captured 21% market share- propelling to 1st spot in this specific quarter.
This is due to the successful launch of the iPhone 12 range of models and a generally wide product line-up that also had cheap options such as the iPhone SE.
29) Average smartphone life
The average smartphone life is about 3 years. Factors like battery degradation and general hardware updates can contribute to this timespan.
Batteries, as they cycle through charges and dis-charges, can degrade and come to a point where the battery life is quite small.
Furthermore, as the years progress, processing power increases with each new chip. These are incentives for a person to upgrade.
Adding to that, new features and improved camera systems also allure customers into new models.
Software updates also play a role. Most Android phones receive only 3 years of update. Samsung, as a worst-case example was notorious for only providing 2 years of updates until very recently.
Apple provides the longest support at 5 years. Such factors contribute to an average smartphone life being of 3 years only.
(Source: Statista, Quora)
30) How often do people buy new phones?
People buy a new phone every 2 years on average, but this time period is getting extended.
Smartphones, since like 2016, do not need to be upgraded often because of their powerful processors and RAM.
Whereas, in the early days of smartphones, a new processor could be up to 100x faster, nowadays generational upgrades are incremental.
This means people have less reasons to buy a new phone each year. Hence people wait for longer until there is considerable battery degradation to their phones, powerful new features in new phones they want, and there is a tangible increase in processing power.
So, the trend now is not to buy new phone very often.
(Source: CNBC, Ting)
31) Percentage of college students with smartphones
College students and young people hooked to their phones is now a cliché. An overall total of 53% of college students nowadays own a smartphone.
The usage they put into these phones are more interesting than any. 47% of students take their smartphones with them into the toilet.
77% of them check their phones first thing in the morning right after they open their eyes. And a staggering 92% of these students prefer to be on their phones when idle over anything else.
(Source: Yahoo, Statista)
32) Which country has the largest number of cellphones
The largest number of cell phones is of course in China- the country that has the largest population on earth.
There is a total of 1.6 billion cell phones in China. This is followed by India who has 1.5 billion cell phones. In 3rd place we have Indonesia, clocking in at 385.5 million cell phones.
(Source: worldatlas, wikipedia)
33) Cell phone addiction statistics
The average person- as stated before- touches their phone 2617 times a day, unlocks it over 150 times a day and can spend up to 3.7 hours on it per day.
Smartphone addiction is so common we can genuinely label it as ‘the average person’s day’.
Addiction to smartphone is mainly induced by FOMO or fear of missing out. With a smartphone, a person can stay up to date constantly, be it on social media or somewhere else.
When without a phone, the person can feel alone and detached, as if he is missing out.
(Source: flauntdigital, psychguides)
34) Facts about the first mobile phone
The first cell phone was invented by Motorola in 1973. It was a beige and black brick that weighed 1.1kg and had 9.1 x 5.1 x 1.8 in for dimensions- a far cry from today’s sleek and stylish design.
More impressive however was the talk time. This phone offered 30 minutes of talk time upon 10 hours of charging. It cost $3995, roughly equivalent to $10,000 in today’s world.
1) Statista, Datareportal 2) Statista, Gartner 3) Pewresearch 4) GSMA 5) GSMA 6) Statista 7) Statista, Newzoo 8) Statista 9) Statista, Statcounter 10) Statista, Aboveavalon 11) pewresearch, thinkwithgoogle 12) pewresearch 13) telecomtv 14) gsmarena 16) BBC 17) Wikipedia 18) IDC 19) pewresearch 20) Statcounter 21) dscout, INC 22) Statcounter 23) Statcounter 24) Time 25) Newzoo 26) Newzoo 27) counterpointresearch 28) counterpointresearch 29) Statista, Quora 30) CNBC, Ting 31) Yahoo, Statista 32) worldatlas, wikipedia 33) flauntdigital, psychguides 34) Versus
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