Smartphones are mobile phones with more advanced features and greater computing capacity than feature phones. In other words, they are an improved version of feature phones.
Smartphone usage can be dated back in the 1990s but serious usage started in the third quarter of 2012, where it hit 1 billion users worldwide.
As of 2014, worldwide users had reached about 1.5 billion users worldwide. Here are the statistics of smartphone users globally as of 2014.
According to eMarketer, there were 1.57 billion smartphone users in the world in the year 2014. The number grew to 1.86 billion in 2015 before ballooning to 2.1 billion in 2016. The number of smartphone users in the world grew to 2.32 billion in 2017, spiked to 2.53 billion in 2018 and now stands at 2.71 billion.
The above statistics clearly show that there is a tremendous increase in usage and projections could even be made on how the user would be in the forthcoming years.
Smartphone penetration in Kenya
Kenya is among the African countries that have embraced the use of technology and statistics can clearly attest to this. As a matter of fact, Kenya is leading the African continent in the adoption of advanced technology to conduct various tasks.
With a population of 51.58 million, an estimated number of smartphone users and internet users sits at 43.3 million.
This can be attributed to the use of social media, mobile money, and online shopping.
Google identified a lower number of users which is perceived to be caused by the data rates charged by Telco companies as compared to other countries.
Jumia online shopping reported that they get at least 70% from mobile phones and payments are also made with the same gadgets.
The desktop has limited use in accessing the internet as compared to smartphones. Kenyans who use the internet are about 83% and this increased shows the rate of usage has surpassed Nigeria.
A good number of Kenyans are on social media, which is easier if you have a smartphone. It is estimated that Kenyans spend around 2-3 hours on social media. The most used platform is WhatsApp at 74%, Facebook at 70%, and Twitter at 50% and then others follow.
Instagram and YouTube are also getting serious usage as Kenyans get most of their entertainment on these platforms.
Most Kenyans use social media to get information, that is learning about what is trending and even enhance their social lives.
Smartphone usage has also increased due to increased internet speeds, with the most used being a 3G network which had increased from 67% in the year 2014 to 85% in 2017.
A third of the Kenyan population can now access the 4G networks but complaints have it that it is weaker in the rural areas and stronger in the urban areas.
The increased usage of smartphones can also be attributed to the drop in the price of gadgets. At a price of as low as 3000 shillings, one can get a smartphone that is internet enabled.
Even though the price factor has brought some effects, Kenyans still go for specifications and advanced features such as the camera megapixels (Resolutions), the battery capacity and storage capacity.
Mobile loan apps are not left out of this contribution. The mobile lenders have made it easier for Kenyans to access short term loans and just a few requirements and one gets quick loan access.
Instead of making long ques in the banks, Kenyans prefer mobile banking which is easier to access, send and receive money in any part o the country.
With all these factors available, illiteracy is still a challenge to smartphone usage. A good number of the Kenyan population cannot use smartphones because they cannot read or understand some basic IT languages. This mostly affects the aging population.
The usage is set to increase in the years to come due to advancement in technology, affordable prices of both the phones and data and an overall improvement in the ICT sector in the country. Smartphones have even become the necessity of life, especially among the young and youthful population.