ADI: Region lags in purchases via mobile

Rigby: Smartphone purchases rising

Southeast Asia has seen significant gains in smartphone traffic and conversions, but still lags other countries, according to Adobe, the world's leader for digital transformation.

The company announced its latest Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) "Japan & Asia-Pacific Best of the Best" report based on aggregated and anonymous data from 100 billion visits to more than 3,000 websites in Asia.

ADI publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. The Best of the Best report covers companies using the Adobe Marketing Cloud that rank in the top 20% in their industry on various key performance metrics.

According to the report, time spent on websites and stickiness in Southeast Asia (SEA) overall is decreasing, but conversion rates were on the rise across both desktops and smartphones, suggesting that conventional metrics may no longer be the proxy for the quality of customer experiences.

In e-commerce, conversion means turning site visitors into paying customers.

Comparing data from SEA, Australia and New Zealand, India, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and the US, Southeast Asia experienced the largest drop in time spent on websites, by 13.3% year-on-year on average, as it experienced a phenomenal growth in smartphone conversion (+40%).

Srivatsan: Brands need to adapt

This highlights an evolution in the way consumers are engaging with brands, as reflected in shorter attention span -- possibly encouraged by improved network connection speeds and bandwidth in SEA. The shift towards smartphones as the primary device of choice is also highlighted, prompting brands to adapt to consumers who are becoming more selective with how and when they engage with content.

As desktop traffic fell across the board for all countries, SEA's top 20 websites saw the biggest drop of 14%. But, the SEA average fall was also the lowest (-5.5%).

Despite the falling desktop traffic trend and a corresponding rise in smartphone traffic in SEA, desktop conversion rates grew year-on-year, and were still more than double the conversion rates of smartphones.

"While consumers in SEA are still making their purchases largely via desktop today, brands should not ignore the rising smartphone trends that will fast overtake desktops," said Scott Rigby, head of digital transformation at Adobe.

He said SEA's smartphone conversions have grown incredibly over the past year, but are still behind all other countries measured. Brands need to adapt quickly to the way consumers are engaging on the web to make gains for the decreased time spent and visit rates seen across almost every industry.

According to the study, SEA experienced a 17.9% year-on-year increase for smartphone traffic but still falls behind other Asia-Pacific countries in terms of overall smartphone traffic (+36.8%).

Smartphone visit rates dropped for both the Top 20 and average performers in SEA, indicating consumers are less likely to return to a website in the same month than in 2015. SEA fell in line with the stickiness decrease trend measured in almost every other country; however, the year-on-year decline was minimal (-0.5%) compared with other countries. The Best of the Best were a bright spot and saw the best year-on-year increase of 11.6% compared with the top 20 in other countries.

The report highlights an unsurprising but important takeaway: an increase in online competition.

"To stay competitive, brands need to adapt and ensure that their consumer experience offerings continue to meet expectations," said VR Srivatsan, managing director for Adobe Southeast Asia.

That means brands need to invest more in their mobile marketing strategies, given that consumers engage with brands digitally more through their smartphones than their desktops.

In Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, specifically, online visit rates have increased across most industries, the report found. However, the length of time visitors stay on these sites has actually decreased. The exception is Australia and New Zealand, where top performers achieved average website visits of an impressive nine minutes.

The telecommunications sector had the highest average monthly visit rate, while, for the second year in a row, the automotive, travel and hospitality, and technology sectors experienced the lowest visit rates. This could have negative repercussions for the media and entertainment sectors with regards to marketing and advertising.

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