Worldwide Cell Phone Ownership Hits 95%

SHELTON, Conn., Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — An overwhelming 95% of people around the world now own cell phones, according to a new nine-country study by SSI.  Hong Kong (99%), China (98%) and Sweden (98%) have the highest cell phone ownership rates, while the US (89%) has the lowest.  Findings show that, among cell phone owners, 42% currently have smartphones—and 58% are planning to make their next cell phone a smartphone.

The highest rates of smartphone ownership are in China (68%) and Hong Kong (57%), while Japan (16%) and Sweden (33%) fall at the opposite end of the spectrum.  Those countries that are lagging are likely to catch up soon, however, with almost half of respondents in Japan and Sweden intending to make their next cell phone a smartphone.

Of those planning to buy smartphones, Apple iPhones are the preferred brand.  If money were no object, almost a third of respondents globally say they would prefer an Apple iPhone.  Samsung (12%), Nokia (10%), Sony Ericsson (8%) and BlackBerry (7%) round out the top-5 preferred brands.

“Soaring cell phone ownership has a significant impact on researchers doing telephone studies,” says Jessica Smith, Vice President, Offline Services for SSI.  ”Adding to the complexity is the rise of cell phone only households—almost a third now in the US—as well as the 28% of consumers globally with multiple cell phones.  Researchers who omit cell phones from their samples will find critical gaps in coverage—particularly among younger, ethnic and lower income households.  To ensure accuracy, researchers need to work with partners who can effectively integrate cell phone and landline access.”

SSI ( is the premier global provider of world-leading sampling, data collection and data analytic solutions for survey research.

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