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How Many People Have Smartphones in 2023? A Detailed Look at Global Smartphone Adoption Trends

Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. With their powerful computing capabilities and always-on internet connectivity, smartphones allow us to stay constantly connected, informed and entertained. No wonder global adoption rates have skyrocketed over the past decade. But just how pervasive are smartphones today across the world and different demographics? Let‘s dive into the latest data and trends on global smartphone penetration and usage.


As an experienced tech professional and avid smartphone user myself, I have witnessed first-hand the rapidly growing ubiquity of these pocket-sized marvels. It seems everyone from teenagers to professionals to even grandparents are glued to their smartphone screens these days.

Smartphones have evolvd from a luxury to a necessity. We rely on them for communication, work, payments, navigation, entertainment and more. With artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 5G and other innovations making smartphones even smarter, their importance in our daily lives continues to grow.

But how many people actually own and use smartphones globally? Which countries and demographics have the highest adoption rates? How frequently do people use their devices and for what activities? In this comprehensive guide, I will provide detailed insights into smartphone penetration and usage trends worldwide drawing from the latest industry research and statistics.

Whether you are a mobile app developer looking to target new markets or a parent curious to know how your teen‘s smartphone obsession compares with others, read on for an in-depth look at the who, what, where and how of global smartphone usage in 2023. Time to peek into those smartphone screens!

Global Smartphone Users

Over 6.6 Billion People Worldwide Own Smartphones

According to the latest data from Statista, the total number of smartphone users worldwide is forecast to grow to over 6.6 billion in 2023. Considering the global population is projected to be about 7.8 billion, this puts global smartphone penetration at an impressive 85%!

The adoption curve has been steep. In 2016, only about 3.6 billion people worldwide owned a smartphone. The user base has nearly doubled in just 7 years, pointing to incredibly rapid growth.

China Leads in Smartphone Users While India Is Fast Catching Up

Asia Pacific dominates the global smartphone market with over 2.5 billion users. The region accounts for 55% of total worldwide users.

China leads the smartphone pack with over 910 million users. India comes a close second with around 450 million users. The US, Indonesia and Brazil round out the top 5 countries in terms of total installed base.

While China remains the largest market, India is all set to take pole position soon. With a young, tech-savvy population and growth in middle class incomes, India‘s smartphone user base is expanding at breakneck speed.

Here‘s a Regional Breakdown of Global Smartphone Users:

RegionSmartphone UsersPenetration Rate
Asia Pacific2.5 billion67%
Europe580 million78%
North America330 million80%
Middle East & Africa530 million54%
Latin America330 million66%

Europe has the second largest base with over 580 million users translating to a 78% penetration rate. North America comes next with 330 million users and 80% penetration.

The relatively lower penetration in Middle East & Africa highlights the scope for robust growth in the years ahead. As device costs continue to decline and connectivity improves, the global south will be instrumental to the future growth trajectory.

South Korea Has the Highest Smartphone Adoption Globally

With 96% of its population owning a smartphone, South Korea tops the charts when it comes to smartphone penetration. The country has near universal adoption driven by its tech-savvy, urbanized population.

The Western European nations of Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium also boast over 90% penetration – comparable to South Korea.

On the flip side, countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Pakistan and Bangladesh have smartphone adoption rates below 50% illustrating the usage gap. But with smartphones getting cheaper, this base is expected to grow significantly.

Over 76% of People in Developed Countries Own a Smartphone

Grouping the top 10 developed nations, smartphone penetration stands at a healthy 76% on average. The adoption rate is above 90% for several advanced economies like those in Western Europe and the Nordics.

On the other hand, the average for the top 10 developing countries combined is a modest 25%. This highlights the substantial room for growth in emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America as more first-time users come online via mobile.

85% of Americans Own a Smartphone in 2023

Here in the United States, 85% of adults own a smartphone as of 2023 according to Pew Research Center. Compare this to just 35% in 2011 – smartphone adoption has more than doubled in the last decade.

With over 280 million users, smartphones are ubiquitous in the US. Given the tech-savvy nature of the population, cutting-edge mobile devices find ready acceptance here.

98% of Gen Z-ers and 97% of Millennials Own Smartphones

Among 18 to 24 year olds in the US, 98% own a smartphone – the highest across all age groups. Adoption rates are nearly as high among 25 to 40 year old millennials at 97%.

Smartphones are an integral part of life for these digital native generations who have grown up with mobile technology. From social media to music, gaming and video streaming – daily activities of Gen Z revolve around the smartphone.

Compare this to 86% ownership among Gen X (41 to 56 year olds) and just 66% for Baby Boomers over 57 years old. While a clear majority across ages own smartphones today, usage behaviors vary significantly between millennials/Gen Z and older generations.

Global Smartphone Sales

Now that we‘ve seen the breakup of smartphone users worldwide, let‘s look at how many smartphones are actually sold each year globally.

According to Gartner, annual smartphone sales to end users amounted to 1.36 billion units in 2022. This represents a year-over-year decline of 11.3% from 2021 when smartphone sales reached 1.54 billion units. While 2022 smartphone sales declined versus the previous year, the volume remains at healthy levels historically.

Smartphone sales had been growing at a steady clip YoY until 2019 when volumes hit a peak of 1.57 billion units. However, sales started declining from 2020 as market saturation kicked in, particularly across developed countries. With replacement cycles lengthening, smartphone shipments are expected to stay broadly flat over the next 3-5 years.

In terms of market share, Samsung led 2022 sales commanding 22% share followed by Apple at 18%. Chinese brands Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo rounded out the top 5 vendors worldwide.

Smartphone Usage Statistics

Now that we‘ve explored smartphone adoption and sales data, let‘s look at some revealing statistics on how people are actually using their devices daily.

54% of Global Website Traffic Comes from Mobile

According to Statcounter, over half of worldwide website traffic in 2023 comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Mobile accounted for just 31% of traffic back in 2015 pointing to the astounding growth.

The expanded capabilities of smartphones coupled with faster connectivity has fueled a surge in mobile usage. Today people increasingly rely on their smartphones for accessing the internet given the convenience and flexibility it affords. Smartphones allow us to get online anytime, anywhere.

Americans Check Their Phones 96 Times a Day on Average

Based on a study by Asurion, Americans check their smartphone screen an average of 96 times a day. That‘s once every 10 minutes!

18 to 24 year olds seem most addicted, averaging 140 peeks daily. For 25-35 year olds, the average is 110 times.

From compulsively checking texts, emails and social media feeds to staying updated on news and looking up information, users engage with their smartphones throughout the day.

18 to 34 Year Olds Spend Over 4 Hours a Day on Smartphones

According to eMarketer, American adults between 18 and 34 years old spend 4 hours and 16 minutes on average interacting with their smartphones daily. This highlights the significant role smartphones play in the lives of millennials and Gen Z users.

From social media to gaming, music and videos – smartphones cater to the digital entertainment and networking needs of these demographics. Smartphones also help these generations stay productive on the go.

Compare this to 2 hours and 46 minutes of average daily usage among 35 to 54 year olds and 2 hours for those over 55 years old.

Video Accounts for 60% of Mobile Data Traffic

An Ericsson ConsumerLab study found video consumption accounts for 60% of mobile data traffic globally. Social networking (17%) and web browsing (12%) come next.

Video streaming services like YouTube, Netflix and social media apps like TikTok and Instagram driving this trend. Teenagers and millennials are especially voracious video watchers on smartphones.

The deployment of 5G networks will further boost video consumption on mobile given the faster speeds and lower latency. More people will now stream 1080p or even 4K video flawlessly on their 5G-enabled smartphones.

Smartphone Addiction Is Real

Smartphones may be empowering but excessive usage can be detrimental. A growing body of research indicates smartphone overuse leads to digital distraction, reduced productivity, sleep issues, anxiety and depression in some cases.

  • 60% of teens in the US feel addicted to their smartphones according to Common Sense Media.
  • 54% of parents worry their teenager is addicted to their device per ScreenEducation.
  • Americans unlock their phone over 8 billion times daily – translating to around 46 pickups per person daily as per Deloitte.
  • 1 in 3 people check their phones on waking up at night (Asurion) losing out on precious sleep.

While most usage is within healthy limits, a subset of users exhibit problematic behaviors. Setting screen time limits, avoiding phones before bedtime, turning off notifications and designating tech-free zones/hours are some ways users can foster a healthier relationship with their smartphones.


We‘ve explored smartphone ownership and key usage statistics across the world, different age groups and activities. Smartphone adoption has indeed exploded from niche to mainstream in under a decade. Today, it is ubiquitous across both developed and developing countries.

While growth rates may moderate going forward as markets mature, arrival of next billion first-time smartphone users from Asia and Africa will be the key driver. With 5G now rolling out, smartphone experiences will get even richer.

As experts project over 7.5 billion smartphone connections globally by 2026, it is an exciting time to watch this technology evolution unfold. Smartphones will continue to hold sway over our professional and personal lives for the foreseeable future. Just remember to strike a healthy balance between real and digital worlds for your own wellbeing.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.