Social media has evolved from its original purpose of simple networking to now being heavily used by brands and businesses for customer engagement and to further their business agenda, according to the latest GFK report.
The market research company names Indonesians, Thais and Indians as the most avid users of social apps, with 86, 82 and 81 per cent respectively using them on a weekly basis.
In India, 64 per cent of connected consumers surveyed said they had had engagement with at least one brand on social media in the previous week. For Indonesians the figure was 54 per cent, which makes the two groups the most open in Asia Pacific to being engaged by businesses online.
They are also the top two markets where consumers watch online videos/advertisements by brands.
“Today’s social platform has changed over the years to now cover a much broader audience – not just the younger crowd who were the predominant users at the beginning,” says GFK APAC director for digital marketing intelligence Karthik Venkatakrishnan.
Shopping by app
Shopping apps are also becoming more popular, according to The Connected Asian Consumer survey, which involved more than 8000 smartphone owners across eight APAC markets in May.
India leads the pack with 54 per cent of smartphone owners using the apps, followed by 48 per cent in China, 37 per cent in Singapore and 35 per cent in Indonesia.
About half the online population uses a shopping app more than once a week, the survey shows.
Only the developed markets of Australia and Japan are still doing most of their online shopping by computer.
GFK says the categories used most by consumers for research and final purchases over the internet are airlines, hotels, music, apparel and smartphones. In the bigger cities of China and India, consumers are increasingly buying smartphones online.
Mobile payment is another area likely to encourage the growth of online shopping, says the report. In India, 72 per cent of connected consumers in India agree that using a phone to send/receive money is easier than other methods of sending cash, and that paying for their shopping online is more secure than before. This approach is shared by 60 per cent of Indonesia’s smartphone users.
“As society’s reliance and use of digital technology continues to deepen, businesses that do not have a strategy for digital and social platforms will get left behind, especially as more and more consumers in the lesser-developed markets eventually connect online,” says Venkatakrishnan.
“The consumer purchase journey is no longer linear – brands need to be available at each touch point at moments that suit consumers, integrating their offline and online experiences.”
With the increasing use of smartphones and improving internet infrastructure across APAC, the mobile device has become consumers’ primary gateway to the internet. The GFK study shows that accessing the internet via the smartphone has become a daily activity for 83 per cent of online users across eight key APAC markets, led by the Chinese (93 per cent) and followed by the Thais (89 per cent), Indonesians (88 per cent), Singaporeans (87 per cent) and Vietnamese (81 per cent).
Messaging apps are used more than any other app, particularly in Indonesia, India and Singapore. More than 80 per cent of users in each of the respective countries say they use a messaging app at least once a week. At the opposite end is Japan, where only 39 per cent use messaging apps on a weekly basis.