Adults in South Korea will spend more than one-quarter of their daily media time on a smartphone this year, according to eMarketer’s latest time spent with media forecast.
eMarketer expects adults in South Korea will spend 2 hours, 3 minutes per day on smartphones in 2018, accounting for 28.6% of their daily media time. In 2017 this was the highest share of any of the countries eMarketer forecasts. This year South Korea has been eclipsed—by less than 1%—by China. However, South Korea continues to have the highest daily share of mobile (non-voice) time in the world. This year adults in South Korea will spend almost a third of their daily media time with a mobile device.
By the end of 2019, smartphone usage will account for more than 30% of total daily media time in South Korea.
eMarketer estimates the country’s smartphone penetration rate will reach 74% of the population this year. South Korea ranks joint fifth worldwide (with Singapore) by this metric, behind Denmark, Taiwan, Norway and Sweden.
The growing popularity of smartphones has been driven by social media, messaging, mobile video and gaming. In addition, the widespread availability of high-speed mobile broadband has been a key factor in driving up adoption.
“We expect to see smartphone time rising further in the coming years as the telecom operators race to be the first in the world to deploy a 5G commercial rollout [expected in 2019]," said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. "In addition, while tech-savvy South Koreans are already high consumers of mobile news, this year's Winter Olympics will further increase smartphone time.”