Jeong Yong-chan, head of the Data Affairs Group at the ICT Statistics and Information Research Institute at the Institute for Information and Communication Policy, made the announcement in a report titled "Homo Smartphonicus, the rate of evolution by generation" on August 5. The report is based on the results of the annual sample tracking survey.
Homo Smartphonicus is a neologism that refers to humans who use smartphones like Homo Erectus and Homo habilis that use tools.
According to the report, the ratio of smartphone owners aged 70 and older rose 34.2 percentage points to 37.8 percent in 2018 from 3.6 percent in 2013. The ratio of smartphones held by people in their 60s also marked a sharp increase from 19.0 percent in 2013 to 80.3 percent in 2018, and those in their 50s also saw a significant increase from 51.3 percent to 95.5 percent. The percentage of smartphones owned by people in their 40s rose to 98.4 percent from 81.3 percent, while those in their 30s rose to 98.7 percent from 94.2 percent.
For the average smartphone ownership rate of all ages, the figure rose 20.6 percentage points to 89.4 percent from 68.8 percent in 2013, with nine out of 10 South Koreans having smartphones.
It is also notable that time spent watching TV is gradually decreasing as time spent using Smartphones has increased. The TV ownership rate of Korean households is 96.5 percent, which still holds the most common media position.
However, the average daily viewing time for TVs decreased by 27 minutes from 3 hours and 14 minutes in 2013 to 2 hours and 47 minutes in 2018. By age, people in their 20s decreased by one hour and four minutes, 30s by 42 minutes, teenagers by 41 minutes, 50s by 28 minutes, 40s by 26 minutes and 60s decreased by 21 minutes.
The results of the 2018 survey on Internet use released by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Information and Communication and the Korea Internet & Security Agency early this year can be seen.
According to the survey results, the Internet utilization rate for those in their 50s rose to 98.7 percent in 2018 from 48.9 percent in 2008, while the Internet utilization rate for those in their 60s rose to 88.8 percent in 2018 from 19.0 percent in 2008.
Internet use among people in their 50s and 60s has increased significantly over the past decade, recording 85 percent or more access among all age groups except for those aged 70 or older.
Communication (94.8 percent) was the highest in Internet use, followed by information gathering (93.7 percent) and leisure activities such as games and movies (92.5 percent). By service, 95.9 percent of messengers such as Kakao Talk, 65.2 percent of SNS such as Facebook and Instagram, 62.1 percent of e-mail, 62.0 percent of Internet shopping, 63.7 percent of Internet banking and 30.2 percent of cloud services.