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We all assume that mobile commerce is big business in Asia-Pacific and that the region is light years ahead of Europe and the US in terms of mobile adoption.

However if you dig deeper into the stats you notice that all is not quite as it seems, with huge disparities appearing across the different APAC nations.

To find out a bit more about the state of mobile commerce and marketing in the region, I’ve rounded up several studies and surveys that reveal some interesting stats.

This follows on from similar posts looking at mobile commerce in the UK and US. And for more information on digital in APAC, download one of our latest reports:

Smartphone penetration

  • Furthermore, in Southeast Asia alone, smartphone owners spent an average of more than three hours per day on their smartphones in June 2013. 
  • They spent the most time using chat apps, social networking and entertainment activities like games and multimedia.

APAC consumers more open to mobile commerce

  • A survey carried out by SAP found that APAC consumers are more likely to use mobile commerce than the global average.
  • 80% of respondents in the region used their mobile to pay their utility or telecoms bill, compared to the global average of just 50%, while 63% had used their phone to make a bank transfer compared to 52% globally.
  • Almost half  (42%) of Asia-Pacific respondents said they had used their mobile phone to purchase goods and would continue to do so.
  • The survey highlighted the fact that online security is still a barrier to adoption, as 54% of people said they would increase their m-commerce transactions when they gained more confidence in mobile security.
  • A further 57% pointed to improved personal data security as a key driver for increasing adoption of transactions and communications over mobile.
  • The report is based in part on a survey of 3,288 respondents in China, India, Japan and Australia.

Social in APAC

  • Stats collated by We Are Social show that the average mobile social penetration for APAC is 24%, ranging from 58% in Brunei down to 0% in North Korea.
  • Overall there are 943.3m active social media users in APAC accessing their social networks via mobile devices.
  • Looking at some of the bigger nations, mobile internet penetration is at 59% in Australia where users spend an average of 1hr 40 minutes on the mobile web each day.
  • In China mobile internet penetration is at 43%, with the average time spent online per day at 1hr 55 minutes. More than two-thirds (69%) of smartphone users in China have made a purchase using their device.

Mobile marketing budgets

  • Although APAC has impressive mobile penetration levels and consumers are increasingly interacting with brands via mobile devices, only around half (48%) of companies surveyed in the Econsultancy State of Digital Marketing Asia Report use mobile marketing (up by only 3% since last year).
  • The report also found that content marketing and mobile marketing are among the top three areas companies are planning to increase investment in (after search engine optimisation), with just under two-thirds (63% and 62% respectively) saying they plan to increase budgets for these channels.

Which of the following digital channels or disciplines do you use for marketing?

  • The second annual State of Digital Marketing in Asia report, published by Econsultancy in association with Campaign Asia-Pacific, looks in detail at the relative levels of spending across different traditional and online marketing channels across the region.
  • Nearly 400 companies participated in this research, which also looks at how organisations are measuring marketing effectiveness, examines the barriers to digital marketing and ecommerce in the region, as well as assessing the existing levels of industry skills and knowledge.

Multiscreening high in New Zealand and Australia

  • Mobile web users in New Zealand, Australia and Japan are above the global average in their multi-screen activity, according an InMobi report from May 2013.
  • Some 70% of mobile web users in New Zealand took part in multiscreening, ahead of Australia, on 64%, and Japan, on 63%.
  • The global average for multiscreening among mobile web users is 62%.
  • Other APAC countries surveyed were further down the list. India registered 58% for multi-screening activity, ahead of Singapore, on 56%, and China, on 54%.
  • Koreans were the least likely of any of the countries examined to engage in multi-screening, with just 50% of mobile web users doing so.

Use of multiple devices

  • A Microsoft survey that looked into which devices APAC consumers wish to buy or receive as a gift in 2014 found that 35% of the respondents want a tablet for both work and play, while 25% are also keen on notebooks and Ultrabook devices for the New Year.
  • The online survey was conducted in 10 APAC countries with more than 1,300 respondents in November 2013.
  • It also found that it is increasingly common for consumers in Asia Pacific to own multiple devices, with just more than half (53%) of respondents owning at least a desktop PC, notebook and a smartphone.
  • The survey also investigated how people stay connected using their mobile device. 56% of respondents said that they wake up to a social media, email or messaging app first thing in the morning. 
  • The top three genre of apps used during the daily commute were social media, messaging and music apps, with 58% of respondents stating that they logged onto their social media accounts once every three hours.

APAC buck global trends for use of mobile marketing

  • Mobile marketers in APAC have significantly different goals compared to other regions, according to a report from Millennial Media.
  • According to its own campaign and platform data from Q3 2013, mobile advertisers globally were primarily seeking to drive site/mobile traffic (34%), sustain an in-market presence (25%) and improve brand awareness (22%).
  • However in Asia-Pacific the focus was on sustaining an in-market presence (46%). Furthermore, driving site/mobile traffic was cited by just 15% of respondents, though brand awareness rated roughly the same on 18%.
  • Finally, APAC advertisers gave much more weight to the use of mobile for product launches and releases (17%) than the global average (2%). But they didn't see it as playing a major role in driving registrations (2% vs. 9% globally) or footfall (1% vs. 8% globally).
David Moth

Published 12 February, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1687 more posts from this author

Comments (1)


Mathias Vanluchene

Note that 'only' 15% smartphone penetration in the Philippines actually means an amount of around 16 million smartphones, with a very high growth rate. This is very interesting in the long run.
Especially when you compare it with for example Malaysia, where 80% market penetration actually only means 30 million smartphones, in an almost saturated market.

over 2 years ago

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