Here’s a question for all of you smartphone owners out there: If someone asked you whether you’d rather give up your phone or your TV, what would you say?

Earlier this year, Google teamed up with IPSOS Research to learn the answer to this exact question (and many others) by asking 30,000 people in 30 countries about how they use their smartphones, and where (on the bus? at the office?). It’s the first time anyone has asked this many people the same questions, for free: that means we can compare and contrast behaviour and trends across different age groups, different cities, and even countries.

So what did we learn about Australia? To start with, those of us at Google Australia were particularly proud to discover that Australia has the second highest smartphone penetration in the world -- ahead of the US, UK, and Japan. This is a recent achievement for the land down under. The majority of smartphone owners we surveyed had bought their device in the preceeding 12 months, which means that Australia went from lagging to leading the worldwide smartphone revolution in just one year. We estimate that each month, 1-2% of the entire population of Australia buys a smartphone.

Here are a few other fun facts we found when we took a look at the numbers:
  • Not just on the go: You may think that your smartphoneis an “on the go” device, something you can use to kill time in line at thegrocery store or check email on the train. But our survey found that 81% of Australians used their smartphones at home during the past 7 days--compared to just 66% on the go. Nearly 1 in 2 use their smartphone while watching TV, while 1 in 3 use smartphones and another Internet-enabled device at the same time.
  • Smartphones are good for business: 49% use their smartphone to research and then call businesses--while 45% visit a business they’ve found using their smartphone.
  • We can now indulge our obsession with real estate 24x7: 1 in 5 Australians we surveyed had looked for an apartment or house with their smartphone--a figure 33% higher than the US or UK.
  • Search is big on smartphones: 2 in 5 of Australian smartphone owners use mobile search daily--more than the UK or Germany, and almost as high as the number who use desktop search daily.
  • Apps, apps, apps: our Australian survey respondents had 25 apps on average per smartphone--that’s versus 23 in the US & UK. They’re not just free apps, either; Australians averaged 8 paid apps per phone.
  • And now, the answer we’ve all been waiting for... 1 in 5 Aussie smartphone owners would rather give up their TV than their smartphone.
So what does this mean (aside from smartphones at the dinner table)? First, Australians are buying more smartphones, faster, than the rest of the world--and they’re using them more, too. Second, as more and more of us embrace the smartphone revolution, we’ll be watching more videos, searching for more businesses, buying more apps, and sharing more via mobile. In other words, there are a host of new opportunities for developers, web publishers, video creators, retailers, and advertisers to build and grow their businesses on mobile.

If you want to learn more, stay tuned: we’ll be making our global survey results public, in their entirety, for everyone who wants a closer look at the global mobile revolution.

Posted by Jason Pellegrino, Head of Mobile Ads, Google Australia and New Zealand