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Google: Malaysians use more smartphone than computers

Last week Google released new research that shows Asia is leading the world in smartphone use and engagement, as well as many other online shopping and viewing behaviours.

Google-Consumer-Barometer-Malaysia-devices

Malaysia is one out of only five places in the world where smartphone usage is higher than computers at 51% vs 39%. The others are all also from Asia: China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore. In China, the ratio between smartphones and computer usage is 70%:65%; Hong Kong 74%:61%; South Korea 80%:70% and Singapore 85%:74%.

In fact, 35% of the Malaysian users surveyed say they exclusively use their smartphones and no other device to access the Internet, making Malaysia the #1 country in the world when it comes to smartphone Internet access exclusivity

The same high smartphone adoption is true across the rest of Asia Pacific with many countries over the 50% adoption mark. And even countries that traditionally have lagged behind have registered significant growth like Vietnam at 36%, up 16% from 2013.

Aside from Malaysia, smartphone-only Internet access is true for 24% of Vietnam users, 16% of Singapore users and 145 of South Korea and Hong Kong users. In the Western world this trend is a single-digit one: e.g. Germany is at 7%, the UK at 6%.

The study, conducted by TNS, also reveals what Malaysians are doing on their phones:

  • Using search engines on smartphones is ubiquitous- 72% of Malaysians do this at least once a month, and the figures are even higher in the rest of Asia (Singapore: 88%, Vietnam: 92%, Korea: 99%, Japan: 91%). This is a global trend with the UK, France and Germany all reporting figures of 88%.
  • Where Asia really stands out is shopping on smartphones.
    • In Asia shopping online is gaining popularity with 28% of Malaysians saying they shopped online on any device (in the UK the figure is 77%, Japan is also high: 72%), but is generally behind the West. Shopping behaviour on smartphones is another matter:
      • 41% of Malaysians research products on their smartphones before buying. The numbers in Western Europe are much lower: UK – 21%, Germany 20%.
      • 28% said they researched products on their smartphone in-store. 26% did location-based research and 25% shared product photos on their smartphone; some of the highest percentages in the world.
  • Smartphones in Asia are also an entertainment destination- Over half (55%) of Malaysians use their mobiles to listen to music, half (50%) play online games and almost seven out of ten (67%) Malaysians watch online video on their phones.

The Consumer Barometer research also looked at general online behaviours. Malaysians have at least 1.2 Internet-enabled devices, using more than one device to achieve a task, or using devices simultaneously.

70% of respondents in Malaysia researched their last purchase both online and offline – one of the highest rates in the region.

The research showed the importance of the Internet to the travel industry. Flights are the most popular items for Malaysians to buy online with 86% saying they last bought their flight tickets online and 75% had last booked their hotel stays online. In the categories covered by the survey, apparel (42%), cinema tickets (37%) and insurance (26%) were the next most popular categories.

Digital also appears crucial to researching those big ticket purchases. 77% of Malaysians use the internet to check out which TV to buy and six out of ten (63%) research large home appliances like refrigerators or washing machines.

The new Consumer Barometer 2014 can be found at www.consumerbarometer.com.

The Consumer Barometer delivers global insights on consumers’ online behaviour. Working with TNS, Goolge conducted over 150,000 interviews across 56 countries to provide advertisers, agencies, journalists and academics with the most up-to-date digital insights.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy
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