Android the Big Winner in Korea’s Ongoing Smartphone Boom

New figures from the Korea Communications Commission show that Korea now has more than 10 million registered smartphones. To put this in some perspective, in December 2009 (when the iPhone arrived), there were just 800,000, a number that had shot up to 2.47 million by last June, 7.22 million in December and just over 10 million by the 23rd of this month.

Here’s a pie chart showing ownership by age group:

Unsurprisingly, the majority of Korean smartphone users are in their 20s and 30s. Indeed, in that combined demographic, smartphone users now outweigh feature phone users by 60 percent to 30 percent.

Elsewhere among the data is some very encouraging news for Google:

From the top, this graphic shows the growth or decline of the Android, iOS, MS Windows and “miscellaneous” smartphone operating systems in Korea. Clearly, the increase in use of Android has been little short of phenomenal — from 3.3 percent last March to almost 60 percent in January of this year.

Much of this growth is down to the fact that when it arrived, the iPhone was pretty much the only smartphone game in town, so Android had a lot of catching up to do. As I posted elsewhere, iPhone sales haven’t been too bad either (and the iPhone 4 has been a major hit more recently) so the big growth in Android’s market share signifies a growing pie for everyone rather than a decline for the iPhone.

The final graph demonstrates this point nicely:

From the top, this graph lists the overall number of registered mobile phones in Korea, followed by the number of smartphones, and finally the percentage of the overall number represented by smartphones.

The numbers are listed in 10,000s, so as of February this year, there were 51.16 million registered mobile phones in Korea (more than 1.5 million more than South Korea’s population), of which 9.26 million were smartphones. This number represented 18.1 percent of all mobile phones, up from just 1.7 percent in December 2009.

Among the other interesting snippets of info, the KCC said that 84 percent of smartphone users have a fixed income plan, and that the volume of wireless internet data in Korea has jumped 11 times between January 2010 and January of this year.

UPDATE: Over on Seoul Space, Richard has added a helpful comment with more highlights from the KCC announcement, including this graphic:

korea smartphones android


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