UAE third most connected country globally

Index shows countries that have the most connected consumers in 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 (AFP)

The UAE Government’s push to make the country highly advanced in technology is paying off as the country’s residents are now ranked among top three connected consumers globally.

Jumping five points to rank third, UAE residents are more connected than the citizens of Norway, Germany, UK, Japan, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia and other major developed countries.

Hong Kong and North America residents are ranked first and second – respectively – in terms of connectivity.

The UAE scored 995 points on GfK Connected Consumer Index 2016 as compared to last year’s 829. While top-ranked Hong Kong and North America scored 1,486 and 1,062 – respectively – in the list of 78 countries.

“Hong Kong and North America have the world's most highly connected consumers - but people in the United Arab Emirates are closing in fast, jumping from eighth place in 2015 to a forecasted third place this year,” GfK added.

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.

                  GfK Connected Consumer Index

       2015       2016                    Index       Index

     ranking    ranking                 score 2015 score 2016

        1          1      Hong Kong       1,430       1,486

        2          2      North America     952       1,062

        8          3      UAE               829         995

        3          4      Norway            939         988

        4          5      Germany           873         940

        6          6      Saudi Arabia      836         935

        5          7      Great Britain     856         916

        10         8      Switzerland       801         914

        7          9      Denmark           835         906

        9          10     Sweden            807         875

Chile and Jordan leaping ahead in connectivity

Other countries that the Index reveals as having made a significant leap forwards in the past year, in terms of the connectivity of their populations, are Chile and Jordan.

Chile has climbed seven places from 27th place in 2015 to 20th place this year, and now stands just behind Italy, Ireland and Australia. And Jordan has jumped from 31st place last year to 23rd place - overtaking countries including Cyprus, Oman, New Zealand and Belgium.

Key market drivers

Kevin Walsh, Director of Trends and Forecasting at GfK, comments, "We are seeing some macro trend increases in connectivity across all countries. For high growth markets, especially across the Middle East, Africa and emerging APAC, the dominant trend remains smartphone adoption. This is the primary device - and often the first device - for consumers to connect to data services. This trend is likely to remain dominant for the next two to three years as pricing reductions means over one billion consumers will be able to afford to connect with a personal device for the first time.

"For developed markets, primarily Western Europe and North America, the growth drivers have already moved to the next wave of consumer connectivity. Wearables are leading the way, 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."

Individual country drivers are also significant. Chile, despite having a weaker economy, has a relatively favourable regulatory environment for investment, as well as high broadband penetration compared to the rest of Latin America. This has meant Smart TV sales again increased by over 20 percent last year, and GfK forecasts further growth of another 12 percent this year.

Walsh continues, "As technology markets mature, 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."

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