According to a new nine-country study by SSI, about 95% of the population in industrialized, tech-savvy countries owns a cell phone, with places such as Hong Kong, China and Sweden leading the way, with ownership rates of 99%, 98% and 98%, respectively.
Among the nine countries surveyed (which also included the United States, United Kingdom, German, France, Japan and Australia), the U.S. had the lowest rate of cell phone ownership at a still-high 89%. The survey also found that 28% of consumers in those countries owned multiple cell phones.
“Soaring cell phone ownership has a significant impact on researchers doing telephone studies,” says Jessica Smith, Vice President, Offline Services for SSI, in a statement. “Researchers who omit cell phones from their samples will find critical gaps in coverage—particularly among younger, ethnic and lower income households.”
Among those who own cell phones, 42% currently have smartphones. And the remaining 58% plan to upgrade their cell phone to a smartphone with their next purchase. China and Hong Kong have the highest rates of smartphone ownership (68% and 57%, respectively), while Sweden and Japan are among the lowest (33% and 16%).
Among those looking to upgrade to cell phones, Apple’s iPhone is the leading brand, appealing to about one third of global respondents. The other brands among the top 5 makers, Samsung (12%), Nokia (10%), Sony Ericsson (8%) and BlackBerry (7%) didn’t even come close to Apple’s appeal.