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Smartphone usage in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

In 2019, around 88.5 percent of respondents in a governmental survey stated that they owned a smartphone. This is hardly a surprise, given that smartphones play an integral part in the everyday lives of most South Koreans. The country has a reputation for being open to new technologies and most consumers adapt quickly to new trends. The most prominent current example is 5G: while many countries still struggle to convince the public, more than six million people have signed up for a 5G contract as of April 2020. Worth mentioning is that carriers are still unable to offer a stand-alone service, so users only use 5G for specific functions.

Nevertheless, the high smartphone usage comes with a price. A survey found that around 28 percent of respondents in their twenties were using their smartphones for more than four hours daily in 2019. With the many ways to use a smartphone for the everyday life, an increasing number of consumers grow overly dependent on their smartphone. A survey in 2019 found that around 1 in 5 people they surveyed were dependent. This figure includes South Koreans as young as three years old.

Sampled data analysis found that YouTube was the Android application that was used the longest in November 2019, with a total of more than 44 billion minutes. The popularity of YouTube is increasingly evident in user data and the trend does not seem to ebb off soon. The second longest used application was KakaoTalk, an instant messenger developed in South Korea. The company behind KakaoTalk does not only manage the most frequently used instant messenger service of the country, but also increased their reach by developing company profiles, games, an online bank, and more, making it one of the most important companies in the industry.

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Smartphone usage in South Korea

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Market leaders

Leading apps


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