Digital Trends In Emerging Markets

Digital has consumed the world, the exciting medium that knows barely any boundaries. We zoom in on emerging markets such as Vietnam, the Phillipines, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand, to talk about how digital has flourished and what are some of the evident trends.


The second annual State of Digital Marketing in Asia report published by Econsultancy revealed that roughly 66% of marketers in Asia plan to increase spending and experimentation online.  63% out of almost 400 marketing professionals indicated that they will increase investment in social media over the next 12 months. reports that the highest growth in social media is expected to come from emerging markets. Given the fact that Facebook, Twitter and such have already taken over most of the developed world, “it makes sense that the next frontier of opportunity lives in emerging markets, such as Indonesia and India”.

In the Philippines, media agencies predict that digital will surpass newspapers in advertising spend allocation. Starcom MediaVest Group’s digital director Quad De la Paz states that clients have started taking digital investments very seriously, with some pouring as much as US$75,000 per month into digital campaigns. He notes that digital investments are continuing to grow in the double digits. Mobile users in the Philippines account for a staggering 35 million users (40% of the population). This growth rate is much faster as compared to any traditional media in history.

In Vietnam, the transition of consumer focus from television to online video viewing is rapid. Reportedly, 52% of Vietnamese consumers watch online videos on a daily basis. The Internet penetration is approximately 35.6% in Vietnam. Nguyen Tien Dung from Maxus Vietnam, a subsidiary of GroupM, affirmed that advertising on social networks “has become the choice of a lot of enterprises and brands”.

For Indonesia’s market, digital advertising spend is forecast to see high growth. Andy Prabowo, digital marketing manager for Merck in Indonesia noted that integrating digital, mobile, social, and big data is a matter of execution. It depends on development of the strategy.

According to the bar graph, 87.8% of Internet users in Indonesia go online for social networking:




Online brand discovery

According to the Brand Discovery Index (BDI) 2013, digital and social media are utilised more for online brand discovery and purchase in emerging markets. The report also reveals that social media is six times more important for brands in Indonesia and Thailand than in Japan or the UK.

Mobile As A Channel

Additionally, mobile is also a highly significant digital channel for these markets. The BDI showed that campaigns in Thailand and Vietnam are four times more effective as compared to developed markets.

According to Jana, digital advertising – particularly mobile advertising – should be the focal point in emerging markets as advertising “continues to heat up”. Though majority of consumers in these markets do not have computers, mobile phones are everywhere. Increased budget is evidently being allocated to mobile advertising at the cost of traditional channels. Consumers in emerging economies go to their mobile phones for insights on purchasing decisions (online reviews, competitor brands, customer service and more). Jana advises that brands wishing to reach these consumers in fast growth markets should “engage with them through their mobile phones”.

In Cambodia, mobile penetration is at 126%. It is also the first country to have mobile subscriptions exceed that of fixed lines. Mobile is definitely prevalent in the emerging market.

Loyalty To Brands

Another digital trend in emerging markets is that Internet users are much less loyal to brands, with 73% of Filipino Internet users willing to try out new products. This means that if you are running a new business in these markets, you have a higher chance of getting consumers on board as they are not set in their ways.

Young Users

For emerging markets, young users account for a huge share of total online minutes:


In Indonesia, the digital native (under 35 years old) is the younger generation born and living in the Internet era. According to the bar graph below, they tend to set the trends in the cyberspace:


We hope that this helps you gain a fresh perspective on all things digital. Virtual sweets and treats for everyone!