Search traffic from smartphones and tablets exceeds that from PCs
As in other emerging markets, internet users in the Asia-Pacific region are leapfrogging PCs and going straight to smartphones to gain access to the web. According to eMarketer estimates, there will be 794.4 million mobile internet users in the region by the end of 2012, with that number jumping to 1.29 billion by 2016.
Still, right now the vast majority of website visits by users in Asia-Pacific are completed on a PC, not on a tablet or smartphone, according to the Adobe report, “The Dynamic Nature of Mobile Search in Asia-Pacific,” which analyzed data gathered from April through June 2012. The research showed that Japan and Singapore were the only two countries in Asia-Pacific in which fewer than 90% of website visits were made from a PC. Japan was the clear outlier, with 14% of all site visits made from a smartphone—an unsurprising result given that eMarketer estimates a smartphone penetration of 33% in Japan, compared with 22.3% for all Asia-Pacific countries.
However, the amount of website traffic driven by search was higher from both tablets (31%) and smartphones (28%) than it was from PCs (25%). That trend was most prominent in Australia and New Zealand, where 40% of search-driven visits were performed via tablet and 38% from a smartphone. Interestingly, China had the lowest amount of search-driven traffic from smartphones at just 6%. That was likely due to strict controls imposed by the Chinese government on internet users, which often censor search results.
Among search engines, Google drove the lion’s share of mobile search traffic in Asia-Pacific countries, with the exceptions of China and South Korea, where local search engines Baidu and Naver, respectively, ruled. However, even in those two countries Google’s prominence was more pronounced in mobile searches than in searches made from PCs. In China, for example, only 7% of PC searches were made through Google, while that figure jumped to 34% in the mobile space.
Mobile search in the Asia-Pacific region remains susceptible to disruptive forces that could quickly upset the status quo. But mobile's increased use means that brands and retailers can better serve visitors by ensuring that websites are optimized for on-the-go devices. In regions like China where local search engines dominate, a marketing and optimization strategy targeted to a specific engine will yield better results.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Location-Tagging Catches on for Social Posts” and “Mobile Banners Continue to Boast High Click Rates.”