Mobile dominates Southeast Asian internet, says Google’s Year in Search report

Google has released its Year in Search 2019 report for Southeast Asia, showing that 90 per cent of the region’s 360 million internet users now connect primarily via mobile phones.

The report offers five key search insights for brands in the territory seeking to drive business impact in the new year.

The Year in Search notes that Southeast Asian consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated consumers with higher expectations, seeking high quality products and services that improve productivity; expect convenience at a relatively low cost; and are using search to make comparisons, ultimately guiding their purchase decisions. Indonesian consumers are increasingly searching for “best” products, while Malaysian consumers are more proactively researching what goes into their food and beauty products.

Southeast Asian consumers are increasingly dependent on the internet as a source of entertainment and trusted advice, turning to search in higher numbers to seek reviews before making purchases and as a platform for entertainment. Thai users have shown a huge surge in “near me” related queries for food.

Users in the region are increasingly socially conscious and concerned with the social impact of their purchase decisions. From trending search terms, Google’s Year in Search report shows that users are increasingly influenced by environmental news and regulations around them.

The report also discovered growth opportunities beyond metros, with more people living in rural areas fast catching up with the urban population on the use of the internet. Google expects their potential to grow to be twice as fast in areas outside the big cities, bringing all Southeast Asians on board with online retail. 


Finally, the report identified growth in digital financial adoption as influencing the way consumers make their payments. According to Google, the digital financial services sector is set to grow in Southeast Asia and strongly shape the way consumers pay for their goods and services.

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