Emerging markets embrace digital

16 December 2011

LONDON: Internet users in emerging markets are engaging in a wider range of online activities than their counterparts from areas such as Western Europe and the US, research from TNS has shown.

Based on a poll of 72,000 people, the company found that 79% of Saudi Arabian netizens felt more confident because they could access the web, coming in at 55% in Vietnam, 52% in India and 42% in China, versus just 12% in Germany and France.

"Really understanding this emotional connection to the internet presents significant opportunity for companies who need to reach consumers in new markets to build their business," Matthew Froggatt, chief development officer at TNS, said.

Equally, 44% of the Turkish online population wrote blog posts at least weekly, hitting 43% in China and India, as well as 39% for Mexico. Italy registered 40% here, but both the US and UK yielded 14%.

Elsewhere, the number of users logging on to the web each day in China and India was roughly 20% higher than for those watching television with the same degree of frequency.

By contrast, where the digital infrastructure is somewhat limited, TV still holds sway. In Egypt, 91% of participants watch TV every day, measured against 62% going online for leisure purposes.

These figures stood at 88% and 62% respectively in Thailand, and an even more differentiated 89% and 38% for the Philippines.

Mobile internet use is also more common in fast-growth markets. For example, 68% of South Africans went online via their mobile each week. They typically spend seven hours using the mobile web, overtaking access from a PC on six hours.

In China, the proportion of contributors utilising the mobile internet on a weekly basis was 49%, climbing to 53% in Singapore. The global average was 36%.

Moreover, Kenya's web audience dedicated six hours a week to this channel, declining to five hours for the PC alternative. Ratings here rose to 11 hours and six hours respectively for Nigeria.

At the broader level, 62% of the panel in Nigeria now utilise online banking services, standing at 25% in Vietnam and 20% in Chile, beating a worldwide norm of 9%.

When it comes to watching timeshifted broadcast content in the same way, uptake hit 30% in Brazil and Indonesia, 29% in Vietnam and 27% in India, whereas the international standard was 22%.

Data sourced from TNS; additional content by Warc staff