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Social Media Dominates Asia Pacific Internet Usage

4 minute read | July 2010

Social media usage has seen unprecedented growth in Asia Pacific in the past year and is now one of the most critical trends in the online sector, according to Nielsen’s Asia Pacific Social Media Report.

The survey found that three of the seven biggest global online brands are social media sites – Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube. Close to three quarters of the world’s Internet population (74%) have now visited a social networking/blogging site, and Internet users are spending an average of almost six hours per month on social media sites.

Social media is having an increasing impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions – in Asia Pacific, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends. This is particularly so for purchases of consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars – products where consumers are most likely to base their purchase decisions on online product reviews. But not ever country shares the same way.



Blogging… it’s Big in Japan

  • Japanese Internet users are the most avid bloggers globally, posting more than one million blogs per month, significantly more than any other country in the region.
  • Japan’s adoption of Twitter continues to grow, with unique visitor numbers increasing in the last year from less than 200,000 to more than 10 million.
  • Sixteen percent of Japanese Internet users now use Twitter, which compares to 10 percent in the U.S.

Grass roots celebrities attract China’s social networkers

  • Bulletin board systems underpin popular social media behavior in China – more than 80 percent of social media content is bulletin board systems.
  • Social media games are used as a stimuli to drive new users and gain reach with existing users, while content sharing behaviors are more popular among the more experienced users. Virtual product placement within social networking site games is becoming one of the most profitable methods of revenue for social networking sites.
  • ‘Grass roots’ celebrity tracking dominates online conversations in China, with social media celebrities such as Sister Phoenix and Mr. Yuan outperforming real life celebrities in popularity.
  • Chinese Internet users are the most likely in Asia Pacific to post a negative online product review, and are the only consumers in the region more likely to share negative reviews than positive reviews – 62% of Chinese Internet users say they are more likely to share a negative review compared to 41 percent globally.

Facebook threatens Orkut’s share in India

  • Although 70 percent of social media users in India identify Orkut as their preferred social media site, Facebook is gaining market share with 50 percent of social media users claiming to use Facebook most often, compared to 38 percent for Orkut, with the most common reasons for switching include friends moving sites, preferring the look and feel of the site, and offering more features.
  • Twitter has enjoyed exponential growth in popularity in India, with more than half of Twitter users (57%) having signed up in the past year. Close to one third of India’s social media users (32%) use microblogging sites such as Twitter at least once a day.
  • Online product reviews are increasing their influence on purchases in India, particularly for consumer electronics – 55 percent of Indians that read online product reviews have purchased products based on feedback. Consumer durables/electronics are the most common products purchased based on reviews (64% of purchases).

Koreans a-buzz about social media

  • By population, Korea is one of the most social media engaged countries in the world, with the country’s leading social media site, Naver, attracting 95 percent of the Korean Internet population every month.
  • While penetration of social media amongst Korea’s Internet population is already strong, it continues to grow (Twitter alone saw 1900% growth in the year to May 2009) with much of this growth coming off the back of Korea’s June election and the adoption of mobile social networking.

Australians flock to online forums

  • Australia leads the world in social media engagement, with the highest global average for time spent per month engaging with social media, averaging over seven hours per month
  • In contrast to many countries, Australians look to communities of interest such as parenting or sports sites as a key channel for social media discussion – 62 percent of Australian Internet users visited a message board or forum in 2009.
  • LinkedIn has seen one of the fastest growth trends amongst social media sites in Australia, with unique audience numbers increasing by 99 percent from July 2009 to May 2010

“The findings highlight, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that social media is here to stay and needs to be taken seriously by the broader business community, from the CMO to the CEO,” notes Megan Clarken, Managing Director of Nielsen’s online business in Asia Pacific. “With three quarters of the global Internet population now participating in some form of social media, businesses can no longer afford to simply observe the social media phenomenon, they need to embrace it.”

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