24% of Indians have a smartphone, says Pew study

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Nearly 64% of Indian respondents who were part of a global survey in 2018 owned a mobile phone and 24% owned a smartphone.

The Pew study shows that while India’s smartphone ownership has increased over time, the rise has been slower compared to other emerging economies surveyed (India, South Africa, Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Tunisia, Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria).

One in four Indians have smartphones, but the gap between smartphone ownership in India and other emerging economies has widened over the years, as shown in the graph below.

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The percentage of Indians who use social media is low, but the numbers are expected to grow due to falling costs of data, and the availability of smartphones and social media in local languages. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp were considered as examples of social media in India by the study.


Delving further into the Indian context,it can be noted that the sharpest contrast in smartphone ownership was among those with different education levels (Lower education: below secondary; higher: secondary or above). Its gender gap is also the highest among the countries surveyed.

The report states, "In most countries, men and women have largely obtained smartphones at similar rates in recent years, meaning that the gender gap in usage has remained constant... The notable exception to this pattern is India, where men (34%) are much more likely than women (15%) to own smartphones – a gap of 19 percentage points."


It also notes that India’s gender gap is growing. "Today’s gap is 10 points wider than it was just five years ago (then, 16% of men and 7% of women owned smartphones)".

However, the no. of wireless data subscribers in India, a proxy for smartphone usage, indicates that there has been consistent growth in the no. of users (Data up to Sep. 2018), according to TRAI data.


The findings are from a Pew study with 30,133 respondents in 27 countries, conducted from May-Aug. 2018.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 6:58:14 PM |

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