Asia Pacific Has Some Of The World’s Most Connected, Mobile And Social Digital Users
We Are Social and Hootsuite’s Digital 2019 report also finds 86% of Singaporeans now online, 76% active on social media and mobile subscriptions – amongst the world’s highest
We Are Social, the socially-led creative agency, in collaboration with Hootsuite, the world’s leader in social media management, released their Digital 2019 report, examining social media and digital trends around the world. Delving into data from more than 230 countries and territories, the 8th annual report finds internet users in Asia Pacific grew by 10% and active social media users up 12% on last year – both ahead of the global averages. In Singapore just under 80% of the population is on social media and it boasts 8.4m mobile subscriptions for 5.8m people, accounting for almost one-and-a-half phones per person.
Globally, internet users rose from 4.02 bn in 2018 to 4.39 bn, which equates to approximately one million more people coming online every day over the past 12 months. The Middle East was the region with the biggest increase in internet users, up 11%.
Across the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, with its population of 4.25 bn, there are now almost 2.21 bn internet users – up 10% on this time last year, which is slightly ahead of the global figure.
In Singapore, the portion of the population now connected to the internet is 86%, fuelled by a further 96,000 people who came online in 2018. The average Singaporean spends more than seven hours a day online.
The region’s standout story was India, however, where internet users in the past year jumped by more than 20% to almost 100m, taking internet penetration to 41%. This means that India was responsible for more than 25% – and Asia Pacific as a whole, 55% – of this year’s total global growth in internet users.
India and China, lead the world in accessing voice services, with half of all internet users asking their devices to do things for them. Singapore lags when it comes to voice – just over a quarter of internet users have used one of these, compared with a worldwide average of 39%.
Globally, almost three-and-a-half billion people are active on social media, accounting for 45% of the world’s population – up from 42% in 2018. Of these people, 3.25 bn access social media through mobile devices.
We spend an average of two hours and 16 minutes on social networks daily. Filipinos remain the heaviest users, browsing social media for more than four hours a day, compared with just 36 minutes in Japan.
In Asia Pacific, social media growth is up 12% in comparison to last year – one third more than the global average of 9% – and there was a 12% increase in active social media users in 2018 to just under 2 bn, with a 13% increase in active mobile social users to 1.93 bn.
Singapore has a very high level of social media penetration, with just under four fifths of the population on social networks, although the number of active users is down by 4.2% year on year.
Of the 4.6m Singaporeans active on social media, most (4.2m of them) regularly access social from their mobile phones. This equates to almost three quarters (72%) of the total population engaging with social via mobile compared with an average of 42% worldwide, making Singapore one of the top countries for mobile social use.
Facebook remains an excellent way to reach a wide audience of Singaporeans, with the country boasting an addressable Facebook ad audience of more than eight out of 10 of Singaporeans aged 13+, and a higher-than-average propensity to click on Facebook ads – a median of 11 clicks a month versus a global rate of eight clicks.
That said, Singaporeans are nowhere near as sociable as other people on Facebook, posting a median of only two comments a month against the global median of four.
Other levels of social media uptake are also considerably higher in Singapore than the global average, with 42% of the population aged 13+ addressable by ads on Instagram compared with an average of 15% worldwide; and 19% on Twitter vs 4% global average. More than half of Singaporeans are on LinkedIn versus the global average of just 11%. It was the only social network to report an increased audience in the country, up by 13%.
Globally, more than 5 bn people in the world – two thirds of the planet’s inhabitants – own a mobile phone. Across the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, there are 4.41 bn mobile subscriptions – an increase of 3% year on year.
Two thirds of connected phones are smartphones and the most popular apps in the world are Facebook Messenger, Facebook and WhatsApp. Forty-two per cent of global internet users access social networks on some kind of mobile device.
Nine of the top 10 m-commerce countries in the survey were Asia Pacific nations, led by Indonesia and China, where three quarters of internet users had bought something via mobile device in the past month, compared to the global average of 55%.
Thailand reports the highest uptake of mobile banking services of all the countries surveyed with three quarters of internet users accessing these, compared with 41% worldwide. With its tough laws on car ownership, Singapore is the biggest user of taxi/ride share apps in the world, with 52% of internet users accessing them each month versus an average of 30% worldwide.
TikTok, a Chinese social app similar to the now defunct short video network Vine, is the fourth most downloaded smartphone app globally.
Globally, three-quarters of all internet users reported buying products or services via the web in the past month, 55% on a mobile device. Total online spend on consumer goods worldwide during 2018 is estimated at $1.79 trillion, up by 14% on the previous year.
In Singapore, almost three quarters of internet users said they’d bought something online in the past month, in line with the average worldwide. This figure rises to more than eight in 10 in Indonesia, China and Thailand.
Christina Chong, Managing Director We Are Social Singapore, said: “Across the Asia-Pacific region, internet users grew by up to 10% on this time last year, in line with the global growth rate. Meanwhile, further growth reinforced Singapore’s reputation for having one of the world’s most tech-savvy populations – in part thanks to its incredible fixed and mobile internet infrastructure. All of this poses a challenge for brands, however, as campaigns need to be sophisticated, innovative and well-coordinated across all channels to ensure this engaged audience is targeted with impactful messages and not confusing ones.”
Penny Wilson, CMO of Hootsuite, said: “Although social media came under increased scrutiny and saw diminished trust among users in 2018, people around the world are spending more time on social – the global daily average is now 2 hours and 16 minutes, or one seventh of their waking lives. But to capture the attention of customers and prospects, brands need to rethink how they engage on social. Businesses must be respectful of their customers’ privacy, while still creating personal 1:1 connections via content that’s important, interesting and timely to the audience while being genuine and authentic to their brand.”