SYDNEY: Smartphones are exerting an increasing influence on media and purchase habits in Asia Pacific, new figures show.

Google, the online giant and IpsosMediaCT, the research firm, surveyed 1,000 consumers in each of Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand to gauge evolving trends and behaviours in the mobile space.

Penetration of devices like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy reached 52% in Australia, as well as 44% in New Zealand, 33% in China and 20% in Japan, although this had grown from 6% a year earlier.

In all, 77% of the Japanese smartphone population accessed the mobile web on a daily basis. This compared with 63% of the same group in China, 58% in Australia and 46% in New Zealand.

More broadly, 78% of the smartphone audience in Japan "did not leave home" without their handset, standing at 74% in Australia and 73% in New Zealand. China scored a relatively modest 43% on this measure.

However, 54% of Chinese interviewees agreed they would rather give up TV than their smartphone, as did 36% of Japanese contributors, 24% of those polled in New Zealand and 23% of Australians.

Elsewhere, 68% of Japanese subscribers used search engines on their phone every day. This total dropped 63% for China, 51% for Australia and 38% for New Zealand.

Simultaneous media consumption is also rising. Some 54% of respondents in New Zealand used their phone and watched TV in this way, alongside 53% in Japan. Australians logged 48%, ahead of China on 42%.

Moreover, 36% of those questioned in New Zealand engaged in the equivalent behaviour with their phone and the web, hitting 34% in both China and Australia, and 30% in Japan.

Soyeon Kim, APAC product marketing manager, Google Mobile Ads, said: "This data shows that mobile marketing is no longer optional - consumers are always on their smartphones, even when they have other entertainment media options."

M-commerce is also gaining ground. All of the Japanese sample had researched products on their phone, as had 97% of users from China, 94% from Australia and 66% from New Zealand.

Equally, 76% of the Chinese audience made purchases via this route at least monthly, the highest total globally. Australia posted 59% on this measure, beating New Zealand's 52% and Japan's 51%.

Finally, 87% of smartphone users in China had conducted an online search on a mobile device after seeing an offline ad, a metric reading 63% for Australians, 62% for Japanese interviewees and 57% for individuals surveyed in New Zealand.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff