National

Cheap smartphones change
RI Internet behavior: Survey

The rise of a new generation of affordable smartphones will likely change how Indonesians access the Internet and conduct business, global market research firm TNS says.

Indonesia boasts the world’s second largest number of Facebook users and the third largest number of users of Twitter. However, research conducted by TNS found that although 87 percent of Indonesians who go online have social networking site accounts, only 14 percent access the sites daily, far below the global average of 46 percent.

TNS Global Technology Sector managing director James Fergusson said the firm’s survey showed that many Indonesians still relied on either Internet cafes or old generation smartphones to access the Internet.

“The inconvenience of getting to Internet cafes and the cluttered operating systems of old generation smartphones affect the frequency of Internet access and social media usage,” he said.

He said that it would change rapidly over the next 12 months because there would be an increase of a new generation of smartphones that had a user-friendly and intuitive Android operating system at a relatively low price. “The new smartphones will have specific features for Internet access and social media, so it will be easier to access the sites. It will drive a flood of more frequent Internet access.” Fergusson said that in Indonesia, Internet and cellphone usage went up and down throughout the day, with commuting hours and late night hours as the peak.

“Indonesians have dynamic graphics in Internet and cellphone usage, and many people still access the Internet and use cellphones even in the late hours before going to bed,” he said.

He explained that the increase in social networking usage would create an opportunity for businesses in Indonesia, because 30 percent of consumers were open to interacting with brands and businesses in the social media and more than 60 percent of social network users would post or read about brands on the sites.

“Brands are treated as friends in the social media. Marketers should keep this in mind while designing their digital strategies,” Fergusson said.

Besides revealing information on digital trends, the firm also shared a recent survey of teenagers. TNS Regional Youth Champion representative Robert Hutchison said that although teenagers were not normally individually wealthy, as a collective group, they have substantial purchasing power.

“Indonesian teenagers have the purchasing power of US$11 billion [per year], or around 20 percent of the 54 percent in Asia-Pacific. Of that amount of money, around 6 to 7 percent is spent on technology. Also, around 80 percent of the teenagers said that next year they will spend the same amount of money, or more, for technology,” he said.

Hutchison said technology and the Internet would benefit teenagers more than do them a disservice. “Teenagers use Internet technology only to find their voice. Exposing them to the Internet will help them develop unique skills, such as multitasking. The Internet will not affect their intelligence,” he said

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