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Smartphone use still growing - but gradually slowing down

Friday, May 29th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

The number of global smartphone subscriptions is continuing to rise, but the rate of growth is gradually slowing down, a new report has found.

The Internet Trends 2015 report, published by US venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers (KPCB), found there were 2.1bn smartphone users in 2014 – a growth of 23%.

But in 2013 the growth was 27%, while the year before it was 65% the report said, dubbing the growth ‘strong, but slowing’.

According to the document, nearly three quarters of the global population uses a mobile phone.

There were 5.2bn mobile phone users in 2014 – a 73% population penetration globally – compared to just 1% in 1995, it found.

And a breakdown showed that 40% were smartphones, while 60% were described as ‘feature phones’.

The report also looked at internet use, finding that there were 2.8bn internet users in 2014 – a 39% population penetration, up from 0.6% in 1995.

Of those 2.8bn: 19% were from Europe; 10% were from the USA; 28% from Asia, excluding China; 23% were from China; and 21% from the rest of the world.

Internet traffic

The growth of internet use is also gradually slowing, the KPCB report suggested.

It described internet user growth as ‘solid, but slowing’, going up 8% in 2014, compared to 10% in 2013, and 11% in 2012.

Global consumer internet traffic rose 21% in 2014, compared to 24% in 2014, and 31% in 2012, while global consumer internet video traffic made up 64% of consumer traffic in 2014, compared to 62% in 2013 and 57% in 2012.

Global mobile data traffic rose by 69% in 2014, versus a rise of 81% in 2013, and 70% the year before, the report found.

It also noted that mobile video traffic made up 55% of mobile traffic in 2014, versus 52% in 2013 and 50% in 2012.

Cable.co.uk previously reported that more than half of the smartphones sold in globally in the first three months of 2015 were 4G devices.

A report by GfK found that 4G mobiles accounted for more than 50% of the global market share for the first time.

GfK said the increasing affordability of 4G smartphones had “buoyed” growth and predicted the share of 4G mobiles in the market to reach 59% by the end of the year.

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