Dramatic Rise in Smartphone Penetration

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Kuala Lumpur, August 23, 2013 – Google released new research that showed Malaysia’s smartphone penetration has increased nearly 300% since 2011, revealing opportunities for smart businesses to reach and engage this growing segment of the population.

According to the study, conducted by IPSOS MediaCT, more than 1 out of 3 Malaysians now own a smartphone, compared to just 1 in 10 two years ago. Malaysians are also engaging more with mobile than ever before: 57% use their smartphone on a daily basis, higher than both the US and the UK. 3 in 5 won’t leave home without their phone, and similarly 3 in 5 search from a smartphone every day.

Yet while smartphones are increasingly become a key part of Malaysian life, the majority of large advertisers in Malaysia don’t yet have a mobile website; meaning they’re missing out on the increasing volume of traffic coming from Malaysia’s smartphone-savvy consumers.

“Malaysian consumers have embraced smartphones, but Malaysian businesses have yet to follow,” said Sajith Sivanandan, country manager at Google Malaysia. “It all comes down to basics: know your customer. The opportunity is significant, but if you can’t be found on mobile, you are sending business to your competitors.”

With smartphone ownership on the rise, business in Malaysia is being transformed by smartphones. 9 in 10 Malaysian smartphone owners have researched a product or service from their device. 3 in 5 who start research on smartphones go on to complete purchases on a desktop; 1 in 2 complete their purchase offline. Products (69%) aren’t the only thing mobile-savvy Malaysians are searching for. Other hot searches include travel (57%), restaurants and bars (53%) and even job offers (49%).

Google’s research shows that mobile is big for small and medium business in Malaysia, too. 94% of smartphone owners have searched for local information, while 9 out of 10 have taken action as a result: such as contacting the business, visiting in person, or buying or booking something online. 2 in 5 Malaysians search for local information on a daily basis.

According to Google’s research, 95% of Malaysian smartphone owners report noticing mobile ads. In addition to building and maintaining mobile-friendly websites which people can navigate easily without pinching or zooming, businesses can take advantage of Malaysia’s smartphone boom by running mobile advertising campaigns on search engines, mobile websites, or smartphone apps.

“Big or small, national or local, there is no business in Malaysia which isn’t being transformed by smartphones,” said Sajith. “If you’re an advertiser wondering when to develop your smartphone strategy, the answer is ‘yesterday’.”

 

From mobile to multiscreen

Malaysian consumers haven’t just gone mobile–they’ve gone multiscreen. While 41% of Malaysian smartphone owners would give up their TV rather than their mobile (this was 33% in 2011), a greater percentage prefer to use both at the same time: 43% of Malaysian smartphone owners regularly use their devices while watching TV, while 56% do so while browsing the web on desktop. For anyone who’s done a quick search on mobile to see what other television shows the actor on screen has starred in, this probably won’t come as a surprise. But it’s a significant opportunity for smart marketers to create campaigns that work across multiple screens, especially considering that 84% of smartphone owners surveyed searched for a product or service from their phone after seeing an offline ad.

“We used to tell marketers to go mobile, but it’s clear that’s no longer enough,” said Sajith. “Malaysian consumers are master multitaskers, and businesses need to start creating campaigns that work across all screens: desktop, tablet, mobile and television.”