Smartphones surge in South Korea

25 August 2011

SEOUL: Consumers in South Korea are among the most engaged smartphone users in the world, new figures show.

Google, the online giant, partnered with Ipsos, the research firm, to poll 1,000 smartphone owners about their evolving attitudes and habits.

Currently, appliances like the iPhone or alternatives powered by Google Android boast a 27% penetration rate in the country.

This latter total puts South Korea ahead of markets including Germany, Italy, Russia and Taiwan, and means it is broadly on a par with France, the UK and US in terms of uptake.

More specifically, 85% of South Korea's smartphone audience are using their first such device, one of the highest figures across any of the 30 countries in which Google and Ipsos have collected data.

At present, 98% of the panel in South Korea utilise this gadget at home, measured against 90% deploying it on the move and 79% doing so at work, suggesting web usage habits are changing.

"The smartphone is a primary, not just supplementary, gateway to the internet," said Ryan Hayward, product marketing manager at Google Asia-Pacific.

Elsewhere, the study showed 72% of consumers in the Asian nation access search engines via these devices every day, placing the country in the top three worldwide on this metric.

Applications have also proved especially popular in South Korea, as the average smartphone contains 42 such tools, the second highest number globally.

This trend falls in line with a wider attitude displayed by the consumers interviewed, according to Hayward.

"We heard from people young and old, and their answers were unsurprisingly consistent: they can barely imagine life without their smartphones," he said.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff