Emily Tan
Aug 15, 2013

Singaporeans go online for entertainment, China for self-expression and transaction: Mindshare

GLOBAL - Against the backdrop of 33 nations, China is the world’s most motivated nation to go online for self-expression and transaction, while Singapore leads the globe in using the internet for entertainment, according to the Mindshare Digital Normalness Index.

Singaporeans go online for entertainment, China for self-expression and transaction: Mindshare

Released as part of a report titled, Are You Digitally Normal?, the index is aimed at determining what drives consumers to go online. The research drew on a sample of 33,000 respondents who were surveyed on whether, and how often, they undertook a range of online behaviours, ranging from blogging to banking. Statistical analysis was then used to group these behaviours by country and by motivation.

What makes this index unique among others of its kind is that it attempts to factor in the online infrastructure of each nation surveyed by assigning each country a score based on internet availability and the average speed of connection.

The two scores were then cross-referenced to produce a trendline mapping the relationship between the two. This line demonstrated what was typical at any given level of infrastructure, and showed whether a country’s motivation score was above or below this ‘normal’ level based on the available infrastructure.

Of the 33 countries surveyed, Mindshare found only 14 were above ‘normal’ in their use of digital communications across all four motivation areas (communication/self-expression, entertainment, information and transaction) when compared to the quality of their infrastructure—leaving the rest, which includes the UK, US, Australia and Japan lagging behind ‘normal’ in at least one respect. While the US, for example, has a strong blogging community, it ranks 31st for the motivation of self-expression, as its use of the internet is mostly driven by a desire to be entertained, according to the report.

In contrast, the BRIC countries are all above 'normal' in their use of digital communications across the four motivational areas when compared to the quality of their infrastructure (Brazil 14th, Russia 12th, India 5th and China 1st).

Norm Johnston, global digital leader at Mindshare commented that one of the report’s chief values is that it challenges preconceptions. “For example the USA is the world’s richest nation, but with people who are less motivated to go online for transaction (26th) than almost every other nation on the planet,” he said. Another example, South Korea, one of the most advanced digital nations in the world, is only 23rd globally when it comes to being motivated to search for information, while scoring highly on all other motivations.

Here are the findings for all markets in Asia-Pacific that were surveyed:

Australia (global overall rank: 22)

Australians are less motivated to go online for reasons of self-expression, instead favouring a search for entertainment. Information seeking yields an average score of 17th place in the table, whilst entertainment is 11th compared to other countries.   

China (1)

China came first for transactional use of the web and communication/self-expression, while faring in the top third for information and around average for entertainment motivators. 

India (5)

India leads the way with entertainment- and information-gathering online, but lags behind in the areas of motivation to transact and self-express.

Indonesia (25)

Indonesia averages 14th place for self-expression and 13th place for transactional behaviour. Below-average behaviour in online entertainment and information seeking at 21st and 29th place, respectively, pulled Indonesia’s score down. The Indonesian Internet Service Providers’ Association (APJII) says there are 63 million Internet users in Indonesia today, about a quarter of the nation’s population.

Japan (28)

Japan surprises by placing last amongst Asian nations, showing that despite a very good infrastructure network and position as a technological world-leader, the motivations of Japanese users remain less clear. Japan ranked 26th for self-expression, 31st for entertainment and 29th for transactional behaviour such as online shopping, in a study that predicted online behaviours in comparison to technology infrastructure. Japan scored reasonably highly for information seeking in 11th place.

Malaysia (15)

Malaysians lag behind in being motivated by transactional use of the Internet. Malaysia sits near the middle of the global league table, with relatively high scores for entertainment and self-expression use of the Internet weighed down by a very low score for transactional usage. Malaysians’ online information seeking activity was slightly above average. 

The Philippines (8)

The Philippines ranks highly for being motivated by information seeking and entertainment behaviour. People in the Philippines show high levels of behaviour online when seeking information or entertainment, in stark contrast to self-expression and transactions. Mindshare’s research found that those in the Philippines sit very near to the top for the former and very close to the bottom of the league table for the latter.

Singapore (3)

The research found that those in Singapore are not highly motivated by the use of the internet for seeking information, instead favouring it for communication/self-expression, entertainment and transactional reasons. Motivation to seek out entertainment sees Singapore ranked top globally.

South Korea (7)

South Korea ranks highly for motivation by transaction and self-expression behaviour, but very low for information seeking.

Thailand (4)

Thai citizens come second only to the Chinese in their motivation for transactional use of the web, but lag behind in the use of the internet for information purposes. Thailand also saw an above average score for being motivated by communication / self-expression and an around average score for use of the internet for entertainment.

The complete table and full report can be found here.


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