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Asia tops smartphone adoption globally: Google

Singaporeans love their mobile phones the most and Asians prefer using a mobile over a computer. This was released in the Google report ‘The Consumer Barometer’ which revealed that Singapore has the highest smartphone penetration at 85 per cent.

The trend is seen across Asia-Pacific as Korea comes in at 80 per cent, after Singapore and Vietnam is up by 16 per cent from last year, at 36 per cent.

“It’s amazing to see Singapore in the global #1 spot. This is a massive wake up call to any business in Singapore without a mobile­optimised site or app. In 2014, this is no longer a viable approach — you’re effectively slamming your shop door in the face of your customers. 88 per cent of Singaporeans say they experienced problems when accessing websites on their phones, so clearly there’s a lot more work to be done. It’s vital for every business to think mobile­first, ” said Julian Persaud, Managing Director of Google Southeast Asia.

Smartphones are the way to go for users, instead of computers, in many countries across Asia — a new trend for 2014. In Malaysia over a third (35 per cent) of users surveyed said a phone was their only device for going online, and in Vietnam it’s true for almost a quarter (24 per cent). Singapore reports 16 per cent and South Korea and Hong Kong are both at 14 per cent. In the Western world this trend is largely a single­digit one — Germany is at seven per cent, the UK is at six per cent.

Going multi-screen
Nearly eight out of ten Singaporeans use two or more connected devices — the fourth highest in the world — which underlines the importance of the multi­screen trend. This is a trend that’s picking up the rest of the region as well, with nearly 3 out 10 in Vietnam and Thailand and more than 3 out of 10 in Malaysia reporting the same.

Shopper Savvy
Shopping on smartphones is even more of an Asian trend: 48 per cent of Singaporeans research products on their smartphones before buying. The numbers in Western Europe are much lower: UK ­ 21 per cent, Germany 20 per cent. Over a third of Singaporean smartphone users (35 per cent) used their phones at some stage in the buying process of the last item they bought, this is the one of the highest rates in the world (behind China at 33 per cent) and well ahead of the US at 21 per cent.

Flights are the most popular items for Singaporeans to buy online, with almost nine out of ten (89 per cent) Singaporeans online saying they had bought a flight online and eight out of ten (83 per cent) booking hotels. In the categories covered by the survey, clothes (43 per cent), cinema tickets (41 per cent) and insurance (40 per cent) were the next most popular categories.

Entertainment Hub
In Asia viewers now turn to screens of all sizes to get their entertainment, and sometimes more than one screen at once. 40 per cent of Singaporeans go online while watching TV, and when they do, the vast majority — 83 per cent — of them use a smartphone.

Over half (53 per cent) of Singaporean smartphone owners use their mobiles to listen to music, over a third (37 per cent) play online games and almost seven out of ten (68 per cent) watch online video on their phones.

Google worked with TNS on The Consumer Barometer and conducted over 150,000 interviews across 56 countries.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.