We all know how much smartphones have become a part of everyday life but to think that their proliferation has long overtaken that of the personal computer changes the playing field considerably.
The figures are somewhat astounding.
According to a primary consumer survey conducted by Counterpoint Technology Market Research with a sample of 3500 respondents across all continents, almost half of respondents spent more than five hours per day on their smartphone.
The report also found that respondents change their phones on an average of every 21 months – contributing to the total spending on hardware within the industry exceeding a phenomenal USD 370 Billion annually.
Western economic powers have known the importance of mobile platforms for their e-commerce and marketing efforts for some time now, but recent trends have shown large-scale adoption lying heavily across Asia.
If they haven’t yet, startup founders and marketers need to recalibrate their approach on how they engage their target audiences or risk being left behind:
The Region’s huge tapable smartphone market
Taking Southeast Asia as an example, the 650 thousand-odd population represents a huge group of consumers that are ripe for targeting. Making up the third largest mobile market globally in terms of internet users, the region spends more time on the mobile internet than any other market.
The fact that two-thirds of them are spread across rural regions further increases the propensity for them to use mobile phones as their primary or only medium for Internet usage.
Many if not most of the abovementioned group skipped the traditional broadband and landline phase and jumped straight to mobile usage. Personal computers, on the other hand, cost a lot more to appropriate as well as connect to the Internet. The increasing affordability of owning a mobile phone only heightens demand exponentially.
Let your target audience define your approach
There is not cut and paste method that will work across every market across Asia.
Southeast Asia, for example, is made up of extremely diverse cultural backgrounds that make up the region, yet share certain nuances that change their respective playing fields considerably.
Indonesian consumers, prefer to shop online on weekdays – according to data collected by iprice. The exact window for online purchases is between 10 AM till 5 PM, suggesting that most Indonesian do not browse, or at least complete their orders on weekends.
Shoppers in Indonesia also tend to prefer to pay by bank transfers, unlike Singapore, where mobile payment proliferation has been growing steadily over the last several years.
The whole of the Southeast Asian region prefers to browse on their mobiles while purchasing on their desktop when given the opportunity. This kind of information is invaluable when reaching your target audience.
The changing face of mobile interaction
One also needs to be cognisant of the fact that technological advances will always define consumer demands. Let’s take Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a prime example, said to be the bridge that is making smartphones even smarter.
AI is rapidly bringing processing speed and efficiency — letting us do things we already do, creating a more personalised, user-friendly relationship with our smartphones. Smartphones are already able to capture and learn users’ behavior, such as when they walk, swipe, scroll and type, without the cumbersome need for active authentications.
Startups should always be aware that integration with such innovation can be paramount to a business. One industry where this is apparent is in healthcare, where AI is already organising patient records and deciding on treatment plans.
It cannot be stressed enough that there is a growing need for startups to keep the smartphone at the forefront of all their strategic efforts. They should always be aware that they are catering to a new breed of audiences that consume information on the go. The relevance and reliance on cellular devices in the sphere will only continue to rise – especially in emerging countries – over the span of the next decade. To not pay attention to their integral role would signify being left behind.