Computer sales have declined over the years as more and more people use tablets and smartphones to access the internet instead of being tethered to their desks.

While this trend is evident the world over, the rate of change definitely differs with a particular disparity between developed and developing nations.

Global market research company, TNS Infratest Germany, published a chart under its Connected Life survey on Google’s Public Data Explorer with data it gathered from 55 000 users worldwide from March 2011 to March 2014 which tracked smartphone and PC usage in 56 countries around the world.

Although the data doesn’t represent the entire figures for each country and all of them combined, it does give a good glimpse into the markets’ changing trends.

According to the research smartphone usage was more than double that of PC usage in South Africa and has been on a steady rise from 15.4% in 2011 to 46.6% just three years later.

Click on the play button to watch the data progress over the three-year period.

As you can see on the chart PC usage in South Africa had dominated up until July 2011 and has since been on the decline as users have opted for the cheaper computing offered by smartphones and tablets.

Globally, PC usage has risen and dipped over the years. It saw a significant increase between March and September 2012, but has been on the decline ever since, while global smartphone usage has risen from 26.4% in March 2011 to 48.8% in 2014.

What’s interesting to note is how PC usage in a highly developed market like Japan for example has remained at over 80% over the years with smartphone usage rising rapidly from just 5.8% to 46.1% in 2014.

If you have some time, the full chart also has data on the average number of connected devices, multi-screen, internet and media usage that you can look at to give you an idea of how South Africa is looking when compared to the rest of the world.

[Source – Connected Life, Google’s Public Data Explorer]