KUALA LUMPUR: Mobile internet use in Malaysia is among the highest in Southeast Asia but brands and agencies continue to focus their budgets on traditional media, according to a new report.

The State of the Mobile Internet, a quarterly study from advertising network BuzzCity, highlighted the centrality of mobile to Malaysian consumers' internet experience, with 80% preferring to go online with this device, Digital News Asia reported.

Use of PCs and laptops has more than halved over the past year, the study said, from 19% to 8%, while use of tablets was steady on 17%, and that of SmartTV had more than doubled to 9%.

Multi-device access remains low, at 8%, although this too had more than doubled over the same period. BuzzCity also expected that smartwatches would become a factor in the months ahead as around 7% of those surveyed planned on buying one.

Entertainment is by far the main reason for going online, cited by 65% of respondents. Communications (39%), reading and searching for news and information (29%), passing time (21%) and work, business or studies (30%) were some way behind.

Despite the evident online and mobile activity of Malaysian consumers, Manish Mishra, BuzzCity chief revenue officer, said brands and ad agencies were still spending three quarters of their budgets on traditional TV and print media.

"Mobile typically gets about 1% of the digital portion of the budget [from the total ad spend]," he explained, a fact he could only put down to legacy thinking.

"It's not rocket science for them [brands] to adopt a mobile ad strategy," he declared, "but there is still much education needed for them to move."

His colleague and CEO, Dr KF Lai, observed that content marketing strategies would have to take these trends into account.

"It is also worth emphasising that strategies will need to be mobile-first which generally, scales content creation up, rather than down," he added.

Data sourced from Digital News Asia, Digital Market Asia; additional content by Warc staff