The report was based on data from a survey of adults in 40 countries (a combination of developing and advanced economies); smartphone users were automatically included in the Internet user data set.
The median rate of Internet access around the world is 67%, the analysis found, with overall usage increases being driven by large emerging economies such as Malaysia, Brazil, and China.
However, a large gap remains between developing and advanced economies: A median of 54% of adults in emerging economies use the Internet compared with 87% in advanced economies.
As for smartphone ownership, the digital divide between less-advanced economies and developed economies was 31 points in 2015.
Smartphone ownership in developing nations is rising at an extraordinary rate, Pew found, climbing from a median of 21% in 2013 to 37% in 2015.
The countries with the highest rates of Internet access are South Korea (94%), Australia (93%), and Canada (90%); the countries with the lowest Internet access rates are Ethiopia (8%), Uganda (11%), Pakistan (15%), and Burkina Faso (18%).
Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.
LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji