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Resource  10, Apr 2014

How are mothers in Southeast Asia using the internet?

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Did you know that Google Plus is probably more popular amongst mothers in Southeast Asia than Instagram or Twitter?

Having surveyed more than 10,000 mothers across Southeast Asia, Singapore’s theAsianparent.com and parent company Tickled Media recently released a detailed report titled ‘The Asian Digital Mum Report’. Its aggregation consists of 4,586 mothers from Thailand, 668 mothers from Malaysia, 2,729 mothers from Singapore, and 2,465 mothers from Indonesia.

However, its sample respondent methodology should be taken into consideration; the survey was targeted at women living in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia,or Indonesia, who are either pregnant or have children in the 0-16 years age group, and are readers of theAsianparent.com. This might mean that the results might be skewed towards mothers who are already readers of a website which offers parenting tips. Furthermore, while the report was named ‘Asian’, and is technically correct, it might be more accurate to call it ‘Southeast Asian’ instead.

Even so, the report does provide useful points for marketers looking to reach these Southeast Asian mothers. At a glance, here are five key points any marketer looking to target this audience should know:

1. Women tend to forgo traditional platforms like newspapers, TV and magazines, and increase usage of the internet after they enter motherhood. In fact, 80 per cent of those surveyed upped their consumption hours of all things online after they became mothers.

Justina Goh, 33, mother of a 15-month-old child, said, “After becoming a mum, I really do not have the time nor interest to read magazines or newspapers. Watching TV is also out, as before one year your baby should have no screen time, and as a new mother, my baby is mostly with me.” (Sic)

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2. Eighty six per cent of those surveyed spend at least seven hours per week on the internet for personal matters while 72 per cent of them spend the same amount of time for work. That said, 60 per cent of Asian mothers interviewed spend at least an hour daily on the internet for work, while 33 per cent of them spend more than six hours for the same purpose.

Eighty two per cent of mothers surveyed, however, reported that they spend at least an hour daily on the internet for personal matters, while 14 per cent spend more than six hours daily for the same purpose. That said, women known to be better multi-taskers than men, and it is possible that a mother could be spending time on both, work and personal matters simultaneously.

According to the report, mothers with children aged 0-1 years, and 13 years and above, spend 14 per cent more time on the internet, as compared to mothers with children in any other age group. The internet, of course, can be rather anti-social at times; people can watch a television programme as a group, but can’t exactly browse the web on a desktop together. This might then explain why mothers might not be able to spend so much time on the internet, when their children are in the 1-12 years age group, since those are important growing years where mothers might spend more time with children to nurture them.

3. About 3. 91 per cent of Asian mothers read parenting tips via the internet. One young mother, Liza Manap, 21, who is expecting her first child this coming May, said, “As my due date approaches, I find myself constantly surfing the net for the latest baby products and the best advice on newborns.” While the most read topic online amongst mothers in Asia is “parenting tips”, the least read topic goes to “beauty and fashion tips”.

Marketers looking to target this niche audience might want to enter the content space. For example, brands involved in infant formula should think about writing on nutrition and differences between breast milk and formula milk. A tech startup helping parents monitor their children could even pen a few guest pieces on locations for a family trip.

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4. 99 per cent of all Asian mothers interviewed own a smartphone. That’s right — mobile is key. In fact, these respondents use their smartphones for activities like social media, visiting parenting sites, checking email, shopping online, and a general browsing of the Internet. In Singapore, for example, mothers are extremely active on their smartphones. 85 per cent of them use mobile devices to check emails, while 73 per cent of them use smartphones to shop online.

While expatriate mothers in the city-state might prefer an iPhone over an Android, since 57 per cent own an iPhone as compared to 32 per cent who own an Android, one mother did bring up the point that bigger screens might appeal more to this audience. Meiling Wong-Chainani, mother of two, said, “I had an iPhone but switched to the Samsung Android smartphone as I prefer their bigger screen. It is so much easier on the eyes to read and play with the apps.”

In terms of messaging apps used by mothers in Singapore, WhatsApp is still on top of its game. 97 per cent of mothers in the island nation reported that it is their dominant choice of messaging app, while the runner up Japanese chat app LINE only accounted for 26 per cent. Thailand, however, is completely different when it comes to chatting on mobile devices. LINE happens to be the dominant chat app in the other Southeast Asian country with 89 per cent of mothers saying that it is their top choice.

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5. Mothers are pretty social too. However, while 98 per cent of all Asian mothers surveyed use Facebook, only 19 per cent of them use Twitter. Google Plus (53 per cent) is surprisingly more popular than Instagram (37 per cent) and Twitter. In terms of usage of Google Plus in Asia, the dominant market goes to Thailand who accounts for 60 per cent of all activity. Instagram, on the other hand, sees more activity from both Singapore and Thailand, while Malaysia and Indonesia are lagging behind in terms of usage.

In terms of the time of day, 52 per cent of Asian mothers interviewed said that they use social media after 7 PM, while 17 per cent noted that they use social media before 12 noon, and 31 per cent use social media between 12 noon to 7 PM.

For further information on ‘The Asian Digital Mum Report 2014′ or access to the report itself, please contact Neetu Mirchandani, VP of Strategic Alliances and Communications, APAC, Tickled Media, at neetu@tickledmedia.com.

Elaine Huang

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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