Chris Reed
May 9, 2013

Indonesia – the world’s most social mobile centric country

Over 60 million mobiles will be purchased in Indonesia in 2013, a staggering figure. With a 114% penetration rate of mobiles this market is driven by the replacement market and social media.

Indonesia – the world’s most social mobile centric country


Samsung lead this charge and are part of the near two thirds of mobiles that are bought from international brands, however they face competition from the ever increasing local/China market growing to 37% and rising. Virtually all of the international brands bought are Samsung, Nokia and BlackBerry with Apple having a miniscule part of the market.

For smartphones every brand is growing. BlackBerry increased sales by 30% with their 37 models to capture 50% of the market while Samsung’s 225 models led them to increase sales by 133% to 39%. Apple increased their sales by 84% to a miserly 2% with 13 models. The Nokia Windows phone soared by 211% to also be on 2% with their 22 models. They dominate the feature phone market but have found it very difficult to match Samsung in the smartphone market in Indonesia as with the world.

Most of the market is being driven by social media on mobile. Only 22% of the population have web access at home with 65% having access in web cafes but only 9% have PC’s. A multitude of mobile brands therefore compete for the time of Indonesians who often don’t have any other distractions to entertain themselves and their mobile really is a lifeline with the outside world. 

Meeting friends and having fun through social chatting, playing games and joining groups and engaging on mobile is an integral part of their lives. Indonesia is facebook’s 4th largest market and Twitter counts Indonesia capital Jakarta as its No.1 city followed by nearby city Surabaya at No.6. Indonesians send out an average of 15 tweets a second making them the 4th largest twitter country in the world. 87% of Twitter messages are sent via mobile.

53% of tweets from Indonesia are retweets, and this has been described as the main reason as to why Indonesian topics are often becoming headlines in the trending topic space on twitter.

One of the best examples is that of Irfan Bachdim, an Indonesian soccer player. When he tweeted advertising for Pocari Sweat (a brand of isotonic drink), a lot of his fans actually retweeted his tweet, and it created a trending topic of Irfan Bachdim and Pocari Sweat, further propelling the brand awareness of Pocari Sweat to the global market.

Brands like Arsenal Football Club have also realised the power of twitter in Indonesia and have created their own Indonesian twitter feed in English and Bahasa.

An enormous 96% of Indonesians use social media, more than any other country on earth. More than read newspapers or listen to the radio.

It is therefore no coincidence that both facebook and Twitter are now considered social mobile brands and no longer pc brands (if Twitter ever was). They follow every other social media brand such as Mig33 (who I am CMO for) who started as a social mobile brand and gained users as a result of this need to engage with others without the technological infrastructure that we take for granted in Singapore.

There are 240 million people in Indonesia, 160 million of which are over 15. All of them will own at least one mobile phone and many under 15 also do! Distribution is key for Indonesia, there is 97% distribution for feature mobiles and only 78% for smart phones.  The size of screens on mobiles in Indonesia is reflected in the surge of smartphone sales with the 2-3 and 3.5inch screens rocketing in popularity.

What this means for brands is that if they are not engaging on social mobile they are simply not engaging in Indonesia. With Indonesian’s preference for local brands it’s amazing that the top ten most popular brands on Facebook according to Social Bakers include Blackberry, Yamaha Motor Indonesia, Surfer Girl (a Bali-based company), Intel, Samsung, Axe and Tango Wafer (an Indonesian snack brand).

Twitter’s top 10 in Indonesia is completely filled with local brands. The only international brands in the top 20 according to Social Bakers are Universal Music Indonesia, Yamaha Indonesia, 7-11 Indonesia and Nike.

The strength of local brands is very powerful and considering the numbers of motorbikes and BlackBerrys  in Indonesia, even these foreign brands have to engage on mobile social.

To gain a foothold with the Indonesian online community, brands first need to listen to what’s being talked about on social mobile platforms, and then initiate a dialogue that reflects local interests. Indonesians will not be impressed with a brand simply because it is “famous” unlike Singaporeans who often just like a brand because it is “famous”!

This is true of politics too. In a typical regional election the battle was not won on the doorways it was won on social media. Challenger Jokowi’s Facebook fan page had nearly nine times as many followers as incumbent Fauzi Bowo (18,712 vs. 2,862 ). This figure has now risen to over 150,000 and compliments the 1.5million who have watched his speeches on YoutTube.

Games are also a powerful tool for social mobile brands and brands like EA and Rovio are at the forefront of developing them for countries such as Indonesia and their multitude of mobile devices. Rovio even launched the Angry Birds facebook app in Jakarta such was its strategic importance to Rovio and desire to capture the Indonesian market.

Music has been a driver for social mobile but not in a good way! Only 11 million CD’s were bought in Indonesia last year, compared to the ever growing and probably conservative figure of 6 million people who download illegal music every day.  That works out at 2.2 billion illegal downloads every year.

The majority of all music is pirated. Brands like Vevo (the JV between Sony, Universal, Abu Dhabi Media and EMI) won’t go to Indonesia because of it. Mind you they also won’t come to Singapore either which actually has the highest number of illegal downloads per capita in the world.....

With thanks to GFK for some of the revealing facts and figures.


Campaign Asia

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