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Indonesia, with rising internet penetration and ad investment, is following trends in other emerging economies, with early development concentrated firmly in cities. According to eMarketer estimates, overall internet penetration reached nearly one out of four people in the highly populous island-state in 2012. By contrast, data from Yahoo! and TNS found internet penetration in urban Indonesia reached 57% last year.
That figure propelled online access above newspapers, to become the No. 2 medium in the country’s cities, behind TV.
Unsurprisingly, the young and moneyed were the most likely to access the internet, but it was notable just how youthful online reach really was in Indonesia. Nine out of 10 teenagers between 15 to 19 years old went online, the highest rate of internet penetration of all broken out age groups. Internet activity remained fairly uncommon among the older population. Only one out of four of those between 40 to 50 years old went online.
In 2012, mobile phones became the preferred means of accessing the internet, with 62% of those in urban Indonesia going online via feature phones or smartphones.
Internet cafes lost reach, as more consumers adopted personal access points—if not by phone than from home. Less than half of internet users accessed at cafes last year, down from 83% in 2009.
Feature phones were the leading mobile device used to go online. At 86% penetration, their presence was more than four times that of smartphones, which reached 20% of the urban population. And while those accessing from home spent the most time online, at 11 hours per week, the amount of time residents spent online on mobile was not far behind. In 2012, the report found mobile accounted for 10 hours of internet time, up from 8 hours in 2011.
Regardless of whether internet users were on mobile or desktop, they have a penchant for social networking. Visiting a social networking site was the top online and mobile activity, with 90% penetration online overall and 76% penetration on mobile.
Instant messaging was the next most popular mobile internet activity in urban Indonesia, but by a much lower percentage, under half reported instant messaging over the mobile internet. Looking up information and accessing email each reached approximately two out of five mobile internet users, but the report expected those percentages to continue rising.
Online overall, residents were more likely to use the internet for research and email, but social networking and entertainment were still primary activities, a reminder that internet activity in the country remains the terrain of the young.
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