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This month some of the most interesting data to make it into our Internet Statistics Compendium came from Asia-Pacific countries.
In particular, mobile can be seen to be having a big impact in South Korea and Malaysia, and there has been significant news elsewhere in the region also.
We are often looking to the APAC region for insights into the latest digital trends and how new technology is being adopted across a diverse continent.
This month some interesting analysis from Nielsen has highlighted how Asia-Pacific countries are leading the rest of the world when it comes to e-commerce, with Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China and South Korea all with more than 90% of consumers having made a purchase online.
In comparison, only four countries from Europe (Poland, Germany, France and Great Britain) and two from the Americas (Brazil and the US) have similar levels of online retail spending.
Not unexpectedly, much of the growth of e-commerce in the region is due to the increase in mobile shopping. This certainly seems to be the case for South Korea, as highlighted in Google’s recent AdMob mobile metrics report.
Web traffic from smartphones has increased by 75% between December 2009 and December 2010 with 97% of all mobile internet traffic coming from high-end devices. In addition, mobile ad requests were seen to grow by an impressive 5139% to 2.1bn during the same time period, making South Korea the fastest growing country for web traffic in Asia.
According to Nielsen, mobile broadband is also seen to be having an impact in Malaysia, a country which has not had quite the same degree of growth as South Korea but is set to see considerable changes as 3G service providers offer more competitive pricing.
At the end of last year, internet penetration in Malaysia hit 41%, and while around half of Malaysians aged between 20 and 34 own a phone with internet capabilities, many don’t go online with their devices due to high costs. With the technology in place there is clearly opportunity in the mobile web sector as 3G starts to become more affordable.
Elsewhere in the region, the last couple of months have seen a number of reports about the continuing growth of Baidu. According to Digital East Asia, revenue for China’s leading search engine is growing at more than 88% per year to RMB2.436b ($372.0m).
This is set to continue as the company further promotes its box computing product and dominates a large market of around 400m web users, but with a comparatively small online penetration at just over 15%.
China and Malaysia, where a vast proportion of the population are yet to be connected, are two of the most intriguing countries within the APAC region. With the effect of smartphone availability in South Korea in mind, these are vast areas where mobile could potentially be more integral to the web landscape and the inevitable uptake of activities such as online shopping than it has in countries with more close-knit populations.
For marketers, the need to acknowledge that a majority of internet users in these countries will be consuming content via a mobile screen as opposed to desktops and laptops will be imperative to the success they have in reaching out to them.