Paul Howell
Jan 06, 2012

Emerging markets "in love" with social media: Forrester Research

Forrester's new study shows that some of the world's keenest social media users are in China and India

Emerging markets

Global research provider Forrester has released a new study on social media adaptation around the world. The results show some of the world's keenest users are in China and India.

The research, released on 4 January, was based on 95,000 consumer surveys across 18 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. It found that those in emerging markets, namely China, India, Brazil and Mexico, were among the highest users of social media platforms. 93 per cent of online consumers in those countries used at least one social networking site. But more dramatically, the vast majority of those consumers (more than 75 per cent in both India and China) are also active creators of content - compared with just 24 per cent of online consumers in the US.

Overwhelmingly, western users of social media are passive online. Forrester labels more than 70 per cent of them as "spectators", preferring to consume content rather than create it themselves. While two thirds of consumers in emerging markets update their status at least weekly, only one third of US online consumers, and just one quarter of European social media users do the same.

In Asia, the love for technology and social networking is clear. But this hasn't translated in to the Japanese market as quickly as some may have expected. There, just 28 per cent of online consumers visit social networking sites on a monthly basis. Three times as many people do so in metropolitan China.

Forrester says its research offers a compelling picture for brands looking to gain influence online. "As social media continues to influence consumers’ online behaviours, it’s vital that companies understand the differences in social media adoption and behaviour across different regions," it concluded.

It advises companies to:

  • avoid global "cookie-cutter" approaches to social media;
  • move social spending to regions and approaches that can have the biggest impact;
  • not expect a lot of interaction with Western consumers;
  • prepare for mobile-based social media "on-the-go".

This article first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific

Campaign India

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