GLOBAL: Two-thirds (66%) of the world's population, or more than 5.5bn people, are expected to be using mobile devices by 2022, according to a new global forecast.

Research firm Forrester also said it expects the number of global smartphone subscribers to reach 3.8bn in five years' time, crossing the 50% mark for smartphone penetration by population in 2017.

Based on a survey of more than 9,000 consumers, combined with other analysis and historical data going back to 2009, Forrester noted that smartphone subscribers overtook feature phone subscribers in 2014 and that Asia and Latin America will continue to be major growth markets over the next five years.

Globally, Android is expected to capture almost three-quarters (73%) of smartphone market share this year, amounting to 1.8bn users, followed by Apple (21%) and Windows (4%).

Large-screen smartphones are also contributing to a decline in tablet users, the report added, with Forrester expecting the total tablet base to decline from 615m in 2016 to 579m in 2022.

More encouragingly for tablet manufacturers, Forrester predicted that business-owned tablets will grow at a Compound Average Growth Rate (CAPR) of 6.9% by 2022, the Drum reported.

But the overall installed base for business-owned tablets is forecast to be low, growing to just 155m devices in 2022.

While the Forrester report provides yet more evidence of the rapid growth of mobile around the world, it also suggested that the feature phone market should not be ignored.

Although the number of feature phone subscribers is expected to dwindle to 433m in 2022 – compared with 3.81bn smartphone subscribers – more than 1bn subscribers are still forecast to use feature phones in 2017 and 845m in 2018.

"Nokia relaunched the iconic feature phone 3310 to address this market in February 2016, targeting emerging markets like India," the report noted. "We expect that by 2020 around 433m subscribers will still be using feature phones as their primary phone."

Data sourced from Forrester, the Drum; additional content by WARC staff