Yvo Wonders: As mobile as it gets

In the Netherlands it’s a very common thing to take out your phone when you have to wait for something, when you’re sitting in the train, or just about whenever there’s any good excuse for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day the phones start to grow into our hands. With this in mind, I wasn’t really expecting things to be really different in Asia, and rightly so.

Earlier, I shared my journey to Asia and how I am trying to translate the inspiration I get from the cultural differences into new ways to look at marketing. This blog post is the third part of this series.

Especially in Southeast Asia, people spend a staggering number of 3,6 hours on average on the mobile internet every day, according to a research done by Google. To compare, in the U.S. this is 2 hours a day and in the U.K. it is 1,8 hours.

When we take a look at the use of smartphones versus computers, we spot something interesting that might explain this a bit more. In Asia, 60% of people state they use their smartphone more often than a computer or tablet to go on the internet, while in Europe this is only 29%. A difference of 109%! It makes sense though. In terms of investment, the choice to buy a smartphone over a computer or tablet for most people is a right one, as nearly everything they need to do can be done with a smartphone.

Why is this good to know? Well for one, the Asian Market has a very high potential. It is the largest in terms of GDP (36,2% with a total value of $27 billion). And the strong growth of the Asian market in the past is expected to continue according to the IMF with an average of 5,4% expected in 2018 compared to a global 3,9% growth. So getting familiar with the mobile centricity of this market is a must in order to reach the right level of engagement with potential new customers in this area.

Next to this, mobile centricity becomes more and more relevant in western markets, seeing a growing use of mobile devices over PC’s in the last few years.

We can expect this trend to continue over the next years with a lot of opportunities for increasing marketing performance in markets globally. These are the 3 most important areas that can benefit the way you interact with your customers:

  1. Reach

The growing ‘mobile lifestyle’ makes it possible to get your story out to the entire world on a highly personalized level. By focusing on mobile friendly channels like the website, social media and an app, a large group of consumers can be reached wherever they are, at any time.

  1. Interaction

There’s a growing trend with apps that allow for a high level of brand interaction. Live broadcasting and social sharing is big in Asia. While my friends on Facebook in the Netherlands don’t regularly do much live streaming, my Vietnamese friends even film themselves when they are eating. The power of influencing goes both ways as adoption of these direct forms of social sharing gives way to more powerful levels of interaction with a brand or product.

  1. Conversion

In the Netherlands, as well as other western countries, mobile payment is nothing new. Using your smartphone though for paying in a supermarket will raise some eyebrows. Large parts of the Asian market are far beyond this point. The majority of consumers are using mobile payments such as WeChat.

WeChat, for the ones less familiar with it, is a multi-purpose messaging and social media app with its user base mostly within Chinese borders. You can compare it with WhatsApp, including multiple other functions like a newsfeed, city services and payment services. The last one, conveniently called WeChat Pay, functions as a digital wallet that user can connect to their bank account or credit card. It enables users to make mobile transactions with businesses and other contacts in easy, low-level ways through QR code and in-app payments. But while this is something we use ‘from time-to-time’ in, for instance, the Netherlands, it is highly integrated in the daily lives of Chinese people and used to pay electricity bills and to book transportation. Therefore, we may be on the right track here, but we still have a long way to go.

So all in all, the mobile movement is still growing strong, both in Asia and in western markets. Many marketing lessons can be learned from the current mobile trends to make it easier to engage with consumers and to ultimately increase conversion. We see applications coming up and find new ways of doing marketing to fill up the gaps. What are you doing to keep up?

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