APAC enjoys digital surge

14 November 2011

HONG KONG: The Asia-Pacific region is in the throes of a media revolution with online usage challenging traditional channels in several markets, according to a new six-nation survey.

A Nielsen study – covering Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines – shows strong engagement with online and mobile media, and a broadly positive attitude to digital engagement with brands.

"It is little surprise that residents of six countries in Southeast Asia are going online with gusto," the report added. "But what is really raising eyebrows is the fact that in some of these countries Internet usage is now surpassing traditional media such as TV, radio or print."

The average time spent online by consumers with a web connection ranged from 14 hours per week in Indonesia to 25 hours in Singapore.

Engagement was high across the board, with large majorities of respondents in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand saying they read online product reviews prior to making purchase decisions.

Social media was also revealed to be massively popular, with nine in ten Indonesian digital consumers having an active Facebook profile, and local social networks such as 4Shared and Zing also enjoying high subscription numbers in Thailand and Vietnam.

In terms of access, smartphones were revealed to be major drivers of digital takeup. In two of the six nations covered, ownership of web-enabled mobile phones was more widespread among digital consumers than that of both desktop and laptop PCs.

This difference was most marked in Indonesia, where 78% of digital consumers owned a smartphone, compared to 31% who owned a desktop and 29% with laptops. Tablet PCs were most widely-used in Thailand, with an ownership rate of 26%, with Singapore just behind on 23%.

Melanie Ingrey, Nielsen's research director for the APMEA area, said: "The increasing availability and uptake of Internet-capable mobile devices is driving the surge in digital media usage across the region and bringing about considerable changes in the way media is consumed."

She added: "Online activity is only going to increase in the years ahead as more consumers obtain smartphones, and 3G and broadband access become more common and affordable."

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff