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Smartphone App Habits Differ by Development Level in Asia-Pacific

Users in more advanced markets spend less daily time, use fewer total apps

October 18, 2016 | Mobile

Asia-Pacific leads the world in smartphone users. eMarketer predicts the region will account for approximately 55% of the world’s nearly 1.18 billion smartphone users in 2016. But in individual countries within Asia-Pacific, there are surprisingly different habits when it comes to smartphone usage, particularly when it comes to how users engage with smartphone apps.

Daily Time Spent Using Smartphone Apps vs. Web According to Smartphone App Users in Asia-Pacific, by Country, July 2016 (minutes)

July 2016 research by Google and TNS, for example, found a noticeable gap existed between smartphone app vs. mobile web use among smartphone users in Asia-Pacific. For example, in more developed markets like Japan and South Korea, daily time spent with the mobile web via smartphones outpaced time spent with smartphone apps, often by 10 minutes or more. Meanwhile in emerging markets in Southeast Asia, like the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, daily time spent was more likely to favor smartphone apps over mobile web use.

Divergent habits are also evident when examining the frequency with which smartphone app users in Asia-Pacific use their apps. According to the same Google and TNS study, smartphone app users in developed countries like South Korea and Singapore had installed more apps on average than their counterparts in region’s emerging markets. However, smartphone app users in emerging markets like India, Thailand and Vietnam used a higher percentage of their apps on a daily basis.

Average Number of Smartphone Apps Installed and Share Used Daily According to Smartphone App Users in Asia-Pacific, by Country, July 2016

This split in app habits follows mobile trends observed in other regions of the world. While mobile users in emerging markets remain enthusiastic about downloading and spending time with apps, those in more developed economies need more encouragement. This may be one reason for marketers’ growing interest in sophisticated mobile app marketing techniques like retargeting as companies look for ever-more-novel ways to engage smartphone-toting consumers.

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