HONG KONG: Consumers from the key Asian markets of China, India and Japan are increasingly planning their online activities in advance, a study has found.

Microsoft Advertising, MEC and Mindshare Worldwide surveyed 7,000 adults in 11 nations, including Brazil, China, France, India, Japan, the UK and US.

At the global level, 79% of participants are now regularly planning the tasks undertaken on the web to achieve their objectives in a shorter amount of time.

Totals here rose to 89% discussing Japan, but also hit 79% and 72% respectively for the less digitally mature countries of China and India.

But almost half of the transactions and creative pastimes in which Chinese and Indian contributors engaged actually resulted from spontaneous decisions.

"Despite the vast extent of content and endless possibilities on the web, random general surfing is on the decline in favour of a more time-efficient, planned and deliberate approach," said Jason Scott, Microsoft Advertising Asia's general manager.

"With people being more focused on their internet journeys, there is thought that this would raise concerns for advertisers looking to market their brands online.

"It is no doubt that advertisers definitely have to work harder to get people's attention with better targeting and creative strategies."

Considering all of the geographies worldwide, communications absorbed the greatest proportion of time individuals spent using the web, on 32%, beating information-driven tasks on 22%.

In India, tools like email and instant messaging held a 49% share, while seeking out material of personal interest - such as regarding news or products - logged 35% and entertainment reached 30%.

Surfing for pleasure scored 18%, followed by content creation, on 14%, and commercial functions including making purchases and paying bills, claiming 12%.

Communications also occupied a lead role among the Chinese sample, securing 41%, and was again trailed by attempting to uncover relevant information, generating 30%.

As in India, entertainment pursuits – incorporating gaming, listening to music and watching video clips or TV shows via the web – took a collective 30%.

Browsing the net without a pre-determined purpose yielded 18%, internet shopping delivered 12%, and creative activities like blogging or uploading photos and video attained 10% in China.

Figures from Japan suggest that the country's connected population is more distinctive than its counterparts across the other nations monitored.

Looking for information accrued 47% of the Japanese audience's time allotted to the internet, relegating communications to second, on 41%.

Entertainment only garnered 14% on the same metric and surfing registered 9%, coming in ahead of blogging and uploading material, with a modest 6%.

A broader trend indicated that in each of the three Asian economies featured, smartphones are surpassing notebooks as the main means of accessing information.

The latter device remains the primary route employed for entertainment and acquiring goods or services, the report added.

"Consumers are becoming ever more sophisticated and conscious of using specific devices to access certain types of content at different times and locations," said Jon Wright, regional director, MEC Analytics and Insight.

"Marketing sophistication certainly has a way to go to keep up with today's technology user.

"The emphasis for content and placement across markets such as India and China needs to be quite different to maximise engagement."

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff