The global smartphone market is expecting another constant growth this year, as the latest figures show that the worldwide smartphone usage is set to grow by 25% year on year, reaching 1.76 billion people who own and use smartphones monthly in 2014. Nine countries will surpass 50% smartphone penetration by this years end, according to the new figures from eMarketer.

eMarketer forecasts about 25% of the world’s total population will use smartphones this year, and by 2017, more than one-third of all people around the globe will be smartphone users. “By 2015, we project that 15 countries worldwide will have seen more than half their populations adopt smartphones,” said Monica Peart, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “The embrace of this technology among the approximately 500 million people in these countries who will be using smart devices by the end of next year will have a significant influence on media usage, ecommerce and marketing.”

Smartphone users in the Asia-Pacific will account for nearly 50% of the global market this year, reaching 951 million users, estimated by eMarketer. South Korea is now having the world’s highest level of smartphone penetration as more than half its residents in the country have been smartphone users since 2012. Australia comes second in terms of smartphone penetration, also having more than half its population using smartphones in 2013. Japan will reach the similar smartphone penetration level this year. Although China is currently the biggest smartphone user country – totalling 521.7 million smartphone users thus far, it will not reach majority-smartphone status until 2018, estimated by eMarketer.

Western Europe is also one of the world’s leading regions in terms of number of smartphone users, totalling 196.6 million in 2014. Three Nordic countries reached 50% penetration in 2013 and forecasts project the Netherlands and UK will join them later this year. The rest of major EU countries will make the majority smartphone jump by 2015.

The US and UK will also reach majority-smartphone penetration among its population in 2014, marking a major milestone for two of the world’s largest internet markets. The US stays as the second-largest smartphone market in the world, behind China. They are expected to retain this position until 2016, when India is believed to take over the second spot. Canada will be soon to follow, with smartphone users surpassing 50% of its population in 2015.