With the seeming ubiquity of mobile phones in the U.S., it’s important to realize that America is below the median percentage of cell phone users in many other countries. That information is quantified in a new report from the Pew Research Center that makes for interesting reading.
The study of 21 countries found that 86 percent of U.S. respondents had a mobile phone, one point lower than the median. That’s a lower market penetration than the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, China, Japan and several other countries. The Czech Republic tops the league with 99 percent of its adults having a mobile phone. (See below for the full chart.)
But the primary finding of the report is that cell phones are now “nearly universal” in much of the world, and they’re often used for texting and other purposes besides talking. In Mexico, for example, more people use their handset to text (93 percent) than to talk (91 percent).
Taking photographs or videos is not as popular as texting, but it’s another common handset use especially in Japan (79 percent), Mexico (70 percent), and the U.S. (67 percent).
Accessing the Internet from a phone still shows a lot of scope for growth. Most likely to engage in this activity are the British (52 percent), Japanese (51 percent) and Americans (51 percent). Age makes a huge difference, however. In all but three of the surveyed countries, 18-29 year olds are at least 10 percentage points more likely to use their phone for Internet access than those the 50 or older group.
Pew Research Center – Pew Global Attitudes Project
Download the report here [PDF].Photo by Flickr user Eva Rinaldi Celebrity & Live Music Photographer, used under Creative Commons license