Smart Device User Penetration Explodes in South Korea - eMarketer

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Smart Device User Penetration Explodes in South Korea

Users reach for their smart devices throughout the day

February 27, 2013

The wireless internet is seeing a rapid rise in uptake in South Korea; the number of users of both smartphones and tablets doubled between 2011 and 2012, according to a December report from the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA).

KISA surveyed 3,000 consumers in South Korea between the ages of 12 to 59 and found that smartphone penetration among this population rose from 39.2% to 78.5%. That is a staggering increase, which may be partly explained by the age of the consumer sample. South Korea has an aging population, and older consumers are less likely to use a smartphone; KISA excluded older individuals—ages 60 and over—from the study.

eMarketer estimates that smartphone penetration in South Korea reached 51% of the entire population in 2012, up from 38% in 2011. KISA put its data at a 95% confidence level.

Smartphone Users in South Korea, by Demographic, 2011 & 2012 (% of respondents in each group)

The reach of tablets has also more than doubled, although from a much smaller base. KISA found that the larger-screen smart mobile devices reached 7.5% of those between 12 to 59 years old at the end of 2012, up from 3.1% in 2011. The greatest concentration of users was among those between 20 to 29 years old (13.5%). Nearly every individual surveyed in this age range also reported using a smartphone.

The gender split on both devices skewed toward men. Males were 3.3 percentage points more likely to use a smartphone and 1.4 percentage points more likely to use a tablet. On smartphones, the gender gap actually narrowed as use rose between 2011 and 2012. On tablets, the opposite was true. The gender split widened as tablets reached a small but still exponentially larger group of consumers.

Tablet Users in South Korea, by Demographic, 2011 & 2012 (% of respondents in each group)

Once they have their smart devices, smartphone and tablet users are not hesitating to turn to them often. Three out of five smartphone users reported spending 2 or more hours per day on the device. Even more tablet users are spending time swiping and scrolling. More than three-quarters reported spending over 2 hours on their tablets per day.

As smart device use rises in South Korea, advertisers will have more mobile ad opportunities in a country that already has high levels of mobile ad spending. In a separate December 2012 report from KISA, mobile device users reported that their preferred mobile ad was mobile web display, cited by 31.3% of respondents, followed by search, preferred by 24.6% of respondents.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Brands Leverage Influencers' Reach on Blogs, Social” and “Hotels Strive to Own Organic Search Results.”


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