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Indonesian internet users turn to smartphones to go online

Organisations with a cyber footprint in Indonesia must understand most internet users in the country access online content and services on smartphones

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Mobile software

Almost all (93%) of Indonesia’s 88 million internet users access the internet from smartphones, with the Blackberry Mobile Messenger the most popular app, according to market researcher GfK.

The Crossmedia Link survey, from GfK, found that besides smartphones, 11% of Indonesia’s users go online with desktops and 5% use tablets.

“Our study reveals that Indonesia has a very active online population who spend an average of 5.5 hours a day accessing an average of 46 apps and web domains with their mobile device each day,” said Guntur Sanjoyo, managing director of GfK in Indonesia.

The smartphone sales volume in Indonesia exceeded that of basic feature mobile phones in 2014 to become the more dominant handset type, according to GfK’s point-of-sales tracking. Last year, Indonesians bought nearly 33 million smartphones.

The Crossmedia Link survey also found that nearly two in three consumers (64%) in the cities of Jakarta, Bodetabek, Bandung Surabaya and Semarang form the country’s online population. Over half (51%) are aged 13 to 27 years, with more males (56%) than females (44%).

The top three mobile apps used are Blackberry Mobile Messenger (BMM), Google Playstore and Google Search, installed by 92%, 87%, and 70% respectively. Other popular apps include Whatsapp Messenger, Youtube Watch page, Line, Facebook, Gmail and Instagram.

The use of smartphones as the primary means of broadband internet access in Indonesia is driven by the large LTE network investments by the mobile operators during 2015, said Craig Skinner, principal analyst, consumer at Ovum.

Read more about online activity in Asean

“The mobile broadband handset availability increased rapidly during 2015 and will continue to do so in 2016. Handset penetration was 55% in 2015, and is expected to increase to 75% by end 2016. With fixed broadband household penetration at 8% in 2015, smartphones are the primary means in Indonesia of broadband internet access,” said Skinner.

Mobile-first web design

This growing trend of internet access via smartphones means that organisations providing online services in Indonesia need to be aware that most of their customers will access their services through a smartphone.

“This transformation process towards digitisation in Indonesian… makes it imperative for advertisers to revise their focus from product to customer centric advertising strategies which engage their consumers around the mobile platform,” said Sanjoyo.

Skinner said: “This needs to be taken into account when designing the customer website and a mobile first design principle should be adopted. This includes being aware of device limitations like screen size and the touch interface, optimising navigation, keeping the page load size small and reducing network usage.”

Among Asean countries, the heavy push into LTE network investment by the Indonesian mobile operators means that Indonesia’s smartphone penetration has moved up the rankings to a level similar to the Philippines and Vietnam, and closed the gap with Malaysia, said Skinner.

 Typically, the Asean countries with higher smartphone penetration also have a higher fixed broadband penetration. This has made Indonesia unique, where smartphones are the primary broadband internet access means for a large proportion of the population.

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That’s not really surprising given the average income of Indonesia, just under $14.5k USD, is it? Much cheaper to get a smartphone with internet access than to buy a computer where internet access costs extra.
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