NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Smartphone devices are taking over the world - quite literally.
According to a mobile usage report by eMarketer, the number of consumers who use smartphones across the world is expected to grow to 1.76 billion people, or 24.5% of the world's population in 2014, up from 1.4 billion people or 19.8% in 2013. By 2018, the number of people using smartphones is expected to rise to more than a third of the world's population, as eMarketer forecasts 2.76 billion, or 36.5% of the world's population, will be using smartphones by then.
Where are the most popular countries for smartphone usage? The report estimates that consumers in Asia-Pacific countries will account for more than half of all global smartphone users this year, totaling about 951 million. But it is South Korea specifically, that currently holds the title of world leader in terms of smartphone penetration. As early as 2012, half of the country's population were using smartphones, the report notes.
Australia follows closely behind in smartphone penetration. Last year, it became the only other country in Asia-Pacific to have more than half its population using smartphones. This year, Japan will reach the 50% usage as well.
However, smartphone usage in China is not likely to surpass half of its population until at least 2018, but there is a very good reason for that - it's a big country. China's user base is already by far the largest in the world, totaling 521.7 million smartphone users this year. EMarketer does not predict consumers in other Asia-Pacific emerging markets will reach 50% smartphone penetration over the next five years.