According to market research firm Gfk, mobile devices have become consumers’ primary gateway to the internet across Asia Pacific, reports Digital News Asia.

Accessing the internet via smartphone has become a daily activity for 83% of online users in the region, led by China (93%), followed by Thailand (89%), Indonesia (88%), Singapore (87%) and Vietnam (81%) – Gfk Report

In a report titled ‘ The Connected Asian Consumer’, Gfk ran a study in May this year with over 8,000 smartphone owners across eight Asia Pacific markets. The survey covered China, Japan, India, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

A Reliance On Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are becoming remote controls for day-to-day living, used more than any app across most Asian countries.

Indonesia, India and Singapore are leaders in messaging apps use. Over 80% of users in these countries say they use it at least once a week.

A higher proportion of connected consumers actually text more than they talk on smartphone. Only in China where approximately 60% prefer to talk as much as they text. It’s no wonder popular messaging app, Line, is currently debuting on the New York Stock Exchange at $9.5 billion under LN. It is shaping up to be this year’s largest technology IPO.

Social Media Use

Social media was initially used as means for social networking. However that model has evolved into being utilized by brands and businesses to engage potential and loyal customers, social media is now a key tool in driving the business agenda.

86% of Indonesians and 81% of Thais use social media on a weekly basis.

Social media use for ecommerce is also gaining significant traction. Consumers in Singapore and Indonesia report fairly high usage of social media for ecommerce, with 37% and 35% of users doing so weekly.

In bigger mobile markets such as India and China, online shopping is on the way to disrupt offline retail. Mobile payment is another area likely to encourage growth of online shopping.

A significant percentage of connected consumers in India (72%) and Indonesia (60%) agree that using the phone to transact money is easier than sending cash, as online payment has become very secure.

This report confirms the consumer purchase journey is no longer linear, as consumers are shopping in various of ways. Brands need to be available at every touch point, integrating online and offline experiences in order to cater to the multi-channel consumer.

A  version of this appeared in Digital News Asia on July 14. Read the full version here.


Thailand wire nest of electricity and telephone wires. Source:

For the first time Thailand’s smartphone subscriptions will overtake fixed-line telephones this year, with smartphones expected to reach approximately 50 million users, according to the June 2016 Southeast Asian Ericsson Mobility Report. Thailand was one of the top countries in the world for net mobile subscription additions in Q1 of 2016.

The report confirms that Thais are very social media driven, as almost half of all subscribers access social networking apps, instant messaging and online videos on a daily basis.

The report also reveals that the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to overtake mobile phones by 2018. Within the time span of 2015-2021, the number of IoT connected devices globally is expected to grow by 23% per year, with mobile IoT to experience the highest surge in growth.

Thailand's smartphone subscription overtake fixed-line telephones

There is potential for mobile broadband in Southeast Asia as mobile becomes the go-to device. Source: Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2016.

“Smartphone subscriptions in Thailand are expected to continue to increase and is forecast to pass those for basic phones this year”, Says Camilla Vautier, Country Head of Ericsson Thailand, in an interview with Bangkok Post.

Vautier also predicts that by 2021, smartphone subscriptions will reach 80 million, compared to 40 million in 2015. This is partly due to the affordability of smartphone devices, and the popularity of data-intensive apps. Mobile carrier companies have been competitively rolling out data intensive packages for consumers, which highlights the increasing popularity of app coverage in Thailand. This means that voice now contributes less than 5% of mobile traffic, consumers are more interested in application coverage and data-centric bundle deals.

These stats are very favorable for Thailand and for the Southeast Asian region as it sees a rise in middle-income households that will drive demand for high-speed broadband access. With increasing spending power, high internet penetration and a priority in data-driven mobile coverage, Thailand’s ecommerce potential will surge with the country’s connectivity growth.

Access the Ericsson Mobility Report here.