A new survey from consumer research firm GfK has revealed that Hong Kong and North America (US, Canada, and Mexico) have the world?s top two most highly connected populations.
However, people in the United Arab Emirates are fast closing in on that lead, jumping from eighth place in 2015 to a forecasted third place this year.
Similarly, Switzerland has overtaken Denmark and Sweden to move up from tenth place last year to a forecasted eighth place this year.
Hong Kong maintained its status as the world?s most connected population again in 2016, with Singapore and Australia trailing at second and third placing in the Asia Pacific region and 13th and 17th, respectively, on a global level.
Except for Vietnam which managed to climb two spots ? from 61 last year to 59 this year, all other markets either maintained or fell in ranking. The Philippines held on to its 64th spot last year.
Most significantly, Japan descended by 10 spots to 30th ranking globally; falling below Taiwan this year. South Korea also dropped to 38 from 31.
?In the emerging APAC region, the high level of smartphone adoption has been the key driver propelling connectivity in the countries, as this is the primary device ? and often the first device ? for consumers to connect to data services,? commented Stanley Kee, managing director for Southeast Asia at GfK.
The GfK Connected Consumer Index is a ranking of 78 countries and eight world regions that provides comparison of how highly connected each population is.
The index shows which countries have the world?s most connected consumers, both overall and in detail across each of eleven different device types (smartphone, tablet, mobile PC, desktop PC, wearables, smart TV, TV set-top box, videogame console, e-reader, connected car and smart home), together with trends over the last five years.
Kee said trend is likely to remain dominant for the next two to three years as pricing reductions means smartphones will become even more affordabe and within reach of increasing number of consumers who will be able to own and connect with a personal device for the first time.
?As for the developed markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore, the growth drivers have already moved to the next wave of consumer connectivity ? wearables are now the ?in-thing?, together with connected cars and both these are providing new consumer benefits. Smart home technology is an equally significant opportunity, but expected to be slower and steadier in terms of the consumer adoption curve.?
Kee concluded, ?As technology continues to evolve and mature at their own pace in individual markets, we are increasingly seeing that local country drivers are having a relatively bigger impact on growth, as opposed to global or regional trends ? with consumers connecting in ever bigger numbers and different ways.?