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Wellington goes wild for smartphones

27 May 2013

Hands up who remembers old-school rotary-dial telephones?

It seems they’re fast becoming a distant memory for most Kiwis, judging by findings in the latest Roy Morgan State of the Nation New Zealand report.

Not only does more than 90% of the country’s population own or use a mobile phone, but in Wellington, smartphone ownership is growing at a vertiginous rate.

In the quarter to March 2013, the proportion of Wellingtonians who own a smartphone jumped from 34.9% to 42%, leaving Auckland (39.2%) and the rest of New Zealand (34.5%) in its iPhone- and Android-fuelled wake.

Driving this growth is the 35-49 age bracket, 53.1% of whom own a smartphone (as opposed to 44.8% of similarly-aged Aucklanders).

The city’s male residents have taken to smartphones with particular zeal: 48% of them own one, compared to 41.3% of Auckland men and 35.9% of men from the rest of New Zealand.

“With its substantial population of technologically-savvy professionals, public servants and residents from the top socioeconomic quintile, Wellington is ripe for smartphone penetration," says Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research.

“Wellingtonians also enjoy the nation’s highest average household income, which means they’re more likely to be able to afford these costly phones than many Aucklanders or other New Zealanders.

The ‘early adopter’ effect

Part of the reason for the rising smartphone penetration in Wellington may be the city’s comparatively high proportion of tech-adept residents according to Levine.

Viewed through the lens of Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments, 21.6% of Wellington’s population can be classified as ‘Early Adopters’, individuals who embrace new technologies as they emerge.

No surprise, then, that the vast majority (70.1%) of this segment owns smartphones.

Hot on their heels are the ‘Professional Technology Mainstream,’ comprising 15.8% of the city’s population. Nearly half (47.7%) of these people are smartphone owners.

“As more Kiwis move onto the 4G network, we can expect to see smartphone ownership rise further, not only in Wellington but in Auckland and the rest of the country too," Levine says.

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