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Singular facts about the dozen countries with most smartphones

Who likes them for their ‘furtive nature’? Who loves apps, but not social media? Whose smartphones go better with a beer?

Image: Smartphone image via Shutterstock

As of February, China became the world’s biggest user of smartphones, bumping the US out of the No 1 spot.

That will likely never change, since China has 1.3 billion people compared to 313 million in the US, reports mobile analytics company Flurry, who first noted the rise of China.

That got us thinking. How many people use smartphones in other countries and what kinds of things do they do with them?

China: Likes the furtive nature of smartphones

Number of mobile phones in use: 1.2 billion

Number of smartphones: 246 million

Fun fact: More than half (52 per cent) of Chinese smartphone users like the device because they can use it furtively or “without being seen easily.” China smartphone users also love apps. 27 per cent of them use more than 21 apps on their smartphones.

USA: Vast majority of working age people already have a smartphone

Number of mobile phones in use: 333 million

Number of smartphones: 230 million

Fun fact: The vast majority of 18-54-year-olds in the US already have a smartphone. Of those over 65, some 40 per cent of the wealthy ones, making over $100K a year, have smartphones, too.

Japan: They love apps, but not social media

Number of mobile phones in use: 128 million

Number of smartphones: 78 million

Fun fact: Japanese users love apps. They average a whopping 41 apps per phone, but they don’t like social media. About one-third never use their phones for a social media site.

Bonus fun fact: Japanese scientists have developed a phone with a case that feels like human skin.

Brazil: They love social apps

Number of mobile phones in use: 259 million

Number of smartphones: 55 million

Fun fact: Brazilian smartphone owners love social networking. 18% of the apps downloaded in Brazil are social apps—only one country downloads a higher percentage of social apps: the United States (20%), reports Latin Link.

India: They love the web and online chatting

Number of mobile phones in use: About 700 million

Number of smartphones: 44 million

Fun fact: In India, men use their smartphones for apps and the Web and women use theirs to communicate on social media sites and for IM, according to Nielsen.

The UK: They never put their smartphones down

Number of mobile phones in use: 76 million

Number of smartphones: 43 million

Fun fact: 22 per cent of UK adults admit they re highly addicted to their smartphones and 22 per cent say they’ve even answer their phones while using the bathroom, reports TechShortly.

South Korea: Even their stores cater to their smartphones

Number of mobile phones in use: 56 million

Number of smartphones: 32 million

Fun fact: South Korea invented the concept of the “virtual retail shop”  for smartphone users. The shelves are just pictures of products. Shoppers scan the product’s barcode and the item is delivered later that day.

Germany: Their smartphones go better with a beer

Number of mobile phones in use: 107 million

Number of smartphones: 27 million

Fun fact: German citizens are the world’s second-biggest consumers of beer (after the Czechs), so smartphone users are more likely to use their phones to search for a restaurant or pub (39%) than they are to check their bank accounts (30%), according to Google’s Our Mobile Planet report.

France: they might want to tax their smartphones

Number of mobile phones in use: 72 million

Number of smartphones: 26 million

Fun fact: France is considering implementing a 1% “culture tax” on smartphones, similar to the one it imposed on T.V. and radio. The money would go to fund the creation of French digital content like books, music and movies. (Senator Catherine Noone here in Ireland has suggested we similarly tax smartphones and put the money towards suicide prevention measures).

Canada: They get credit for ‘Great Canadian Apps’

Number of mobile phones in use: 27 million.

Number of smartphones: 23 million

Fun fact: There are so many great app developers in Canada, and so many Canada-specific apps, that Apple has a “Great Canadian Apps” section in its App store.

Russia: They have apps for prisoners

Number of mobile phones in use: 256 million

Number of smartphones: 22 million

Fun fact: Prisoners in Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service recently got their own smartphone apps. It lets loved ones on the outside send messages and pictures to inmates.

One problem: apparently not all inmates have smartphones. Last month authorities busted a cat trying to smuggle in phones. They were taped to her little kitty belly.

Spain: They can’t live, or eat, without their smartphones

Number of mobile phones in use: 56 million

Number of smartphones: 18 million

Fun fact: In a recent survey by Apigee, Spain ranked as the most smartphone app-reliant country with 93% saying they can’t get through the day without their apps, and 11% saying that can’t order dinner without an app, reports Mashable.

- Julie Bort

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Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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