Taipei, July 18 (CNA) Nearly 60 percent of Taiwanese aged 12 and older had smartphones as of June, up dramatically over the past nine months, according to the results of the latest survey on mobile device use released Friday by a Taipei-based research institute.
There were 12.25 million people 12 or older, or 58.7 percent of that segment of the population, who had a smartphone based on the survey conducted between May 16 and June 6 by the Foreseeing Innovative New Digiservices (FIND) center under the non-governmental Institute for Information Industry.
In the center's previous survey conducted in September 2013, 51.4 percent of the respondents said they had a smartphone.
The number of respondents owning tablet computers, meanwhile, rose slightly to 25.4 percent, which translates to about 5.3 million people, up from 23.6 percent nine months earlier, the center said in a statement.
The survey also found that 20.4 percent of respondents owned both a smartphone or tablet, suggesting that there were around 13.3 million Taiwanese people above the age of 12 who had either a smartphone or a tablet as of June.
In an analysis of the smartphone results, the center found that the biggest source of growth in smartphone ownership over the past nine months came in the 50 and over age bracket.
"That's because smartphone consumption in the core consumer group aged 20 to 49 is reaching saturation," said Cheng Ren-fu, a division chief at the FIND center.
The number of smartphone owners in the over-50 group grew by 10-20 percent since the last survey was done, said the center, which is dedicated to the development of information communications technology.
On smartphone brands, South Korea's Samsung overtook Taiwan's HTC over the past nine months to become the most popular smartphone in Taiwan, which Cheng attributed to a "significant" decrease in HTC users during the period, from 32 percent to 25 percent.
The five most popular smartphone brands in the first half of the year in Taiwan were Samsung, HTC, Apple, Sony, and Xiaomi. the survey found, with Xiaomi, a Chinese brand, breaking into the top-five list for the first time.
The survey was based on 1,300 valid samples collected and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.
(By Elizabeth Hsu) ENDITEM/ls