The digital scene across the Asia-Pacific region is already booming, but industry experts are also predicting that APAC businesses will begin to rethink their current digital plans this year, finding alternative ways to enhance their online offerings to better appeal to consumers.

But what else is expected to happen across the region this year?

There has been a lot of speculation about what will and won’t be big in digital this year, however, IMS APAC recently compiled a specific list of what they believe will be the top 10 digital trends in APAC in 2013:

1. The Internet of Things

If you’ve heard this term tossed around a lot lately but aren’t quite sure what it means, then you’re probably not alone.

The term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is referring to the connection of consumer devices and physical products to the internet. Key elements of this include image recognition technology, NFC payments and embedded sensors

APAC countries already seem to be excelling in this area, with 21% of Asian enterprises indicating they have at least one IoT solution in place, well above the global average of 15%. 

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Because of this, and because of the increasing popularity of mobile devices, IoT is predicted to increase significantly this year. 

2. Mobile advertising revenue will continue to grow

Mobile advertising revenue in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to grow substantially by 2015.

The growing popularity of tablets will drive revenue growth from display advertising, higher video viewership on mobiles will drive mobile video advertising, smarter mobile advertising campaigns will be created and the mobile advertising ecosystem will become more fragmented.

3. Visual social media will continue to rise

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Pinterest and Instagram are already two of the most popular social media offerings around and 2013 will see further growth in this area, particularly in the APAC region.

Brands will improve their grasp on the social behaviours of consumers on these visual social media sites, delivering content that consumers actually want to see, thereby stimulating engaging marketing. 

4. Social conversion will become more integrated and more multi-channel

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Businesses and brands need to ensure the content they distribute on social networks is relevant and 2013 will see marketers paying more attention to this.

IMS suggest that social will become more integrated, as brands begin to understand user behaviours and associate relevant meaning to this.

Only then will marketers be able to churn more useful and quality data about their target audience, therefore delivering more compelling messages.

5. More user friendly mobile experiences for consumers

Businesses really need to make this a priority in 2013 and a few suggestions are given as to what features businesses should focus on to ensure the mobile experience is more user friendly for consumers.

These include: keeping email and websites short, simple and digestible; increasing the tapping accuracy of mobile sites; making call-to-action buttons more prominent; and streamlining the conversation. 

6. The rise of Big Data

The concept of big data is becoming more prolific – and businesses are realising the potential of associated IT solutions.

This year, spending on big data is expected to grow substantially, particularly with the context that APAC consumers are already considered to be the world’s “most prolific online shoppers”.

According to Gartner, data-related technology will see an increase in spend, from $28 billion in 2012 to $34 billion in 2013.

Forecasted IT spending in 2013 is also expected to grow significantly, rising to $743 billion, a 7.9% rise on 2012. 

7. More payments will be made on mobile

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Online transactions and instant payments using NFC-enabled smartphones will grow in popularity this year, as m-commerce continues to rise.

While Japan and China have already rolled out NFC-enabled phones, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan are all planning to launch their NFC at some point this year, leading experts to predict that APAC will have the highest number of mobile payment users by 2016. 

8. Brand journalism will become more common

CISCO recently listed brand journalism as one of the top trends for 2013 – and there’s little evidence to currently prove the opposite. 

Brand journalists are essentially content creators that produce stories around a brand, telling industry related news that is of interest to consumers, rather than just brand related content.

This is particularly suitable for the social media environment, as brand journalists build trust through transparency, engaging consumers with conversations and stories. 

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9. Virtual ownership will dominate 

Almost 50% of mobile users in the APAC region download a mobile app each month.

This high usage of smart mobile devices, and the love of owning music and movies, has stimulated the trend of virtual ownership and the implications of this for established businesses that offer goods delivered digitally is huge.

The invention of various platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Kindle and Netflix also continue to encourage further virtual ownership.

10. Cloud computing will take off

In 2013, more brands will be open to cloud computing, embracing it for its speed and agility.

Personal cloud platforms like Google Docs, Apple iCloud and Dropbox have already gained a good following and it is thought that come the end of the year, businesses will also be jumping on the bandwagon, as the ability to share documents and reduce costs will appeal to many in the current economic crisis.