Older consumers go social in Asia

24 June 2010

SINGAPORE: Some 35 million older consumers in Asia Pacific now regularly access social networks, according to a new study.

Silver, the consultancy, collated statistics provided by industry sources like comScore, the research firm, to gain an insight into the online habits of adults over the age of 55 years old.

In Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia almost 80% of internet users in this demographic are members of services like Facebook and Twitter.

Seven in ten of their counterparts in Taiwan and the Philippines also engaged in this activity, as did a majority in India and Taiwan.

In contrast, participation fell to 42% in Vietnam, 37% in China and 36% in Japan.

However, while penetration was at its lowest in Japan, the country registered the highest number of netizens of at least 55 years of age that frequently participated in this pastime, on 5.1 million.

China followed in second place on this measure on 4.4 million, with South Korea and Australia both posting figures of around 1.6 million.

Overall, just three nations – Japan, China and Australia – accounted for 83% of the 175 million monthly visits to social networks in Asia Pacific.

However, individuals from Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia recorded over 25 separate sessions on these sites each over the course of a month.

This decreased to a range of between seven and ten for their peers in Vietnam, Japan and India.

In terms of duration, consumers in China, Indonesia and the Philippines spent at least 12 minutes browsing content each time they logged in.

Elsewhere, the social networking audience in Vietnam, Japan and India dedicated a maximum of nine minutes to the same tasks.

Facebook was the most popular site in nine countries, including India, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia.

CyWorld took the top spot in South Korea, as did Mixi in Japan and Wretch in Taiwan, although Facebook was also in the top five in all of these areas.

Baidu Space assumed the leading role in China, where the availability of a number of international social networks is limited by the government.

Renren, QQ, Kaixin001 and 51.com were some of the other primary Web 2.0 portals for the online population in China.

Twitter also featured among the five most widely-used platforms in eight of the 13 markets assessed, taking second position in Japan and Singapore, fourth spot in Australia and fifth in India. 

"Many seniors are just as comfortable with social networking sites as the younger internet users," Silver's study said. 

"With baby boomers holding the largest portion of disposable income, marketers can no longer afford to ignore this segment."

"And online channels, including social sites have become an important means to access this market."

Data sourced from Silver; additional content by Warc staff