Most Asia-Pacific regions are smartphone-first. Should you be?

Asia-Pacific markets lead the way for mobile-first access to online news.

Reuters Institute research, which looked at seven Asia-Pacific markets, confirms that Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia are all mobile-first markets.

In three of these markets mobile-use has reached or is approaching 60%. This widespread use of smartphones has been facilitated by higher penetration rates of smartphone making and mobile broadband in the region.

These figures are much higher than in some developed markets in North America and Western Europe, but indicate future rises in mobile use.  

Publishers are already adapting to this new revenue stream with investment and experimentation in mobile alerts and notifications to reach news audiences.

The Asia-Pacific Digital News Report highlights key differences in demographic mobile use which could help publishers in their approach to mobile…

In nearly all Asia-Pacific markets (except Singapore), young people aged 18–29 are the most avid smartphone users. The same pattern is also found in the US and the UK.

Demographic differences in smartphone use:

Those surveyed in the report were categorized into three age groups: 18–29, 30–45, and 46 or above.

Respondents aged 18-29 are often described as ‘digital natives’ as they were born and grew up with digital technology. The other two age groups are considered ‘digital migrants’. The term ‘digital migrants’ refers to individuals who have media habits and preferences shaped in a largely pre-digital media environment.

The study found various differences in mobile use relating to age:

  • In nearly all Asia-Pacific markets (except Singapore), young people aged 18–29 are the most avid smartphone users. The same pattern is also found in the US and the UK.

  • Across all the countries the 30–45 age group has a higher level of smartphone adoption than those aged 46 or above.

  • In Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and South Korea, smartphone use is so prevalent that even many members of the two older age groups name it as the main device for news.

Why should you go mobile-first?

Mobile access to news offers consumers greater convenience, especially on-the-go. The report found that 30-40% of respondents chose to pay for news if it was accompanied with access via their smartphone.

Want to find out other media trends in the Asia-Pacific markets? Take a look at the APAC report by the Reuters Institute of Journalism.

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