As things stand 6% of the global population own a tablet, 20% own PCs, and 22% own smartphones.
Our historical penetration numbers also reveal the approximate point in time when the global per-capita rate of smartphone penetration surpassed that of personal computers: sometime in the latter half of 2012.
Here are some other notable data points:
- By the end of 2013, global smartphone penetration will have exploded from 5% of the global population in 2009 to 22%. That’s an increase of nearly 1.3 billion smartphones in four years.
- On average, there will be two smartphones for every nine people on earth, or 1.4 billion smartphones, by the end of 2013.
- Tablets are showing faster adoption rates than smartphones. It took smartphones nearly four years to reach 6% penetration from when the devices first started to register on a global level. Tablets accomplished this in just two years.
- PCs have only gained 6 percentage points in per-capita penetration the last 6 years.
Of course, per-capita rates of device ownership are a very rough guide to actual ownership patterns in individual markets. For example, in many countries mobile subscriptions have reached over 1oo% of the population, meaning that many individuals have more than one cell phone or at least more than one SIM card.
In the PC market, the prevalence of laptops and desktops as office machines means that many devices will be concentrated in workplaces, and many consumers in developed economies will have a PC at home and at work.
Conversely, many tablets will be shared between individuals in a household, so many people will consider themselves to be tablet owners when in reality they share the device with family members or house mates.
For our penetration estimate we calculated the number of devices in use (i.e., installed base) as a percentage of the global population, resulting in a per-capita penetration rate. We did this by aggregating device shipments, and adjusting for device upgrades, which remove older devices from the installed base as they get outdated or break down.
Click here to download the charts and data in Excel
As we detailed in a recent report, tablet penetration remains heavily skewed towards developed markets, and there’s plenty of runway for growth in emerging markets. Tablet penetration reached 34% of the U.S. adult population in May 2013, according to Pew. This number jumps to 49% for U.S. adults between the ages of 35-44.
It will be interesting to see if tablets can continue to penetrate the global market as quickly as they have to date.