Sunday, 25 August 2013 01:29

Are we digitally normal in Asia?

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Ground-breaking findings published in a Mindshare report entitled, Are you Digitally Normal? Ground-breaking findings published in a Mindshare report entitled, Are you Digitally Normal? Mindshare
Singapore is the nation most motivated to go online by entertainment. Thailand is second only to the Chinese in their motivation for transactional use of the web, while Malaysia takes a relatively high score for self-expression use.

These are some of the new ground-breaking findings published in a report entitled, Are you Digitally Normal? from global media agency network Mindshare.

The 2013 Mindshare Digital Normalness Index challenges some of the world’s widest held preconceptions about the motivations for the use of digital media by 33 nations across the globe, helping to reveal what really drives users to go online and in which mode they are in when they are there.

The Mindshare research focused on the motivation of online users within four areas

  • Communication/Self –expression
  • Entertainment
  • Information gathering
  • Transacting

A sample of 33,000 respondents was questioned about whether, and how often, they undertook a range of online behaviours, from blogging to online banking.

Statistical analysis was then used to group these behaviours by country and by motivation. At the same time an infrastructure score was created for each country by looking at internet availability and the average speed of connection.

These two scores were then cross-referenced, producing a trend-line to map the relationship between the two. This line demonstrated what was typical at any given level of infrastructure, and showed whether a country’s motivation score was above, or below "normal", based on the available infrastructure.

The research revealed that of the 33 countries, only 14 were above “normal” in their use of digital communications across the four motivation areas when compared to the quality of their infrastructure, leaving the rest, which includes the UK, US, Australia and Japan lagging behind “normal”.

Country list in alphabetical order:



Argentina takes 29th place in league table, scoring highest for online transactions. Argentina was found to be the lowest scoring Latin American country in the study, coming 29th overall in the league table.

Low scores of 32nd place for online entertainment and 27th for information seeking pulled the country down. Average positions of 15th place for self-expression and 14th for transactional behaviour protected Argentina from the bottom slot.


Australians are less motivated to go online for reasons of self-expression, instead favouring a search for entertainment. Australia takes 22nd place on the global league table, coming below average for self-expression and transaction, but scoring reasonably for entertainment. Information seeking yields an average score of 17th place in the table, whilst entertainment is 11th compared to other countries.



Belgium takes 23rd place in league table, but scores highly for self-expression. Belgium sits near the bottom of the league table in 23rd place, but beats other European nations such as Switzerland and Italy. The overall Belgian score is pulled up by a high score for self-expression, but ranks lowly for transactional behaviours such as online shopping.



Brazilians did well, but lag behind for entertainment. Brazil sits in 14th place globally, behind only Chile in the Latin American market. The country scored very highly for self-expression, in fourth place globally, but sat nearer to the bottom of the table for entertainment. Transactional and information seeking use of the internet saw Brazilians in average spots of 16 and 14 respectively.



Canada ahead of USA for online behaviour, but sits around middle place globally. Canada marginally beat neighbours in the USA, taking 16th place in the global league table. The people of Canada sat very near to the middle of the tables for each category, including the use of the Internet for self-expression, entertainment, information seeking and transactions. Conversely, the USA saw more extreme usage, with self-expression and transactional behaviours lagging well behind Canada. The findings come as Canadian officials have backed away from plans to trial online voting in pending elections.



Chileans lead Latin America in online use driven by key motivations, Chile a leader in self-expression. Chile saw extremes of behaviour in the research, taking second place for the use of the web for self-expression, but almost last place in the table for information CHINA Chinese citizens are the most highly motivated online users in the world. China came first for transactional use of the web and communication/self-expression, while faring in the top third for information and around average for entertainment motivators.



Colombian online behaviour highly motivated by being transactional, least so for entertainment. Colombia sits in the bottom half of overall league table in 19th place for digital normalness. Highest performing sector is transactional behaviour, such as online shopping, whilst self-expression, entertainment and information are all in the lower half. The findings come as pressure increases for the government to tax online sales in the same way brick and mortar store sales are.



Germany sits just above average in the global league table, but lags behind in entertainment. Germany is in 13th place overall, with scores between 10-12 for transactional, information seeking and self-expressional usage of the internet, but the country’s score is pulled down by its ranking for entertainment.



Hungary takes penultimate place in table of online motivational behaviour, scoring highest for information seeking. Hungary came in last position for self-expression, 23rd place for online entertainment and 31st place for transactional behaviours such as online shopping. The Hungarians ranked highest for information seeking, taking 15th place. Google recently signalled an increasing interest in Hungary by launching availability of Street View in the country.



India takes fifth place in online motivations study. India leads the way with entertainment and information gathering online, but lags behind in the areas of motivation to transact and self-express.



Indonesia takes 25th place in the global league table, scoring poorly for motivation to seek information. Indonesia takes 25th place in global league table, with average scores of 14th place for self-expression and 13th place for transactional behaviour. Below average behaviour in online entertainment and information seeking at 21st and 29th place respectively pulled Indonesia’s score down.

The Indonesian Internet Service Providers’ Association (APJII) says there are 63 million Internet users in Indonesia today, about a quarter of the nation’s population.



Italy scores poorly for being motivated by all elements of online behaviour except for information seeking. Italy sits near the bottom of the table in 27th position, scoring very low scores for self-expression in 30th place and transactional behaviour in last place. Starkly, however, Italy came second globally for information seeking and scored a reasonable 12th place for online entertainment.



Japan surprises by placing last amongst Asian nations. Japan took 28th place in the online behaviour study, showing that despite a very good infrastructure network and position as a technological world-leader, the motivations of Japanese users remains less clear. Japan ranked 26th for self-expression, 31st for entertainment and 29th for transactional behaviour such as online shopping, in a study which predicted online behaviours in comparison to technology infrastructure. Japan scored reasonably highly for information seeking in 11th place.



Malaysians lags behind in being motivated by transactional use of the Internet. Malaysia sits near the middle of the global league table, with relatively high scores for entertainment and self-expression use of the Internet weighed down by a very low score for transactional usage. Malaysians’ online information seeking activity was slightly above average.



Mexico sits in bottom third of global league table, but scores well for self-expression and transactional behaviour. Mexico takes 21st place in the global league, scoring poorly for being motivated by entertainment and information seeking in 26th and 22nd place respectively. Self-expression scored a credible 13th place and transactional behaviour such as online shopping sits in 15th place. Music streaming firm Spotify recently launched its service in Mexico, indicating a positive appetite towards digital services in the country.



The Netherlands lags behind in all areas of online motivation except self-expression. The Netherlands took 31st place on the global league table, with rankings of 29th for entertainment, 30th for online information seeking and 23rd for transactional behaviour. The Dutch scored highest for self-expression, taking 18th place.



Peru sits near bottom of global league table in 26th place. Peru scored well below average in all areas including self-expression, entertainment, information seeking and transactional behaviour. Entertainment was the highest scoring category for Peru in 19th place.



The Philippines ranks highly for being motivated by information seeking and entertainment behaviour. People in the Philippines show high levels of behaviour online when seeking information or entertainment, in stark contrast to self-expression and transactions. Mindshare’s research found that those in the Philippines sit very near to the top for the former and very close to the bottom of the league table for the latter.



Poland leads Eastern Europe for being motivated to go online for most reasons, but lags behind with self-expression. Poland was placed in 10th rank globally, with high scores for being motivated by transaction and entertainment pushing the country above other Eastern European neighbours.

The transactional side of the research will come as no surprise to Polish e-commerce retailers, as research by web site found that online shopping in Poland increased by 23-25 per cent in 2012. Information seeking online in Poland fared averagely, taking 16th place.



Portuguese citizens are the most highly motivated online users in Europe. Portugal comes top when looking at those nations motivated to go online to use digital media to search for information and scored highly for online usage driven by both self-expression and transaction. Overall Portugal came second when compared to all countries in the report.



Russians are most motivated to go online for entertainment, but sit near bottom for being motivated to seek information. Russia was second for being motivated to seek entertainment online, despite increasing restrictions from Russia’s Internet Bill. At the other end of the scale, Russia came 31st for being motivated by the use of the internet to find information. Russian behaviours were also analysed for transactions and self-expression, which saw average positions of 18th and 24th respectively.



Singapore citizens are within the top three most motivated online in the world. The research found that those in Singapore are not highly motivated by the use of the internet for seeking information, instead favouring it for communication/self-expression, entertainment and transactional reasons. Motivation to seek out entertainment sees Singapore ranked top globally.



South Africa took 30th place in the global league table. South Africa came between 22nd and 29th place in each category, scoring lowest for being motivated by self-expression. The highest score of 22nd place was for online entertainment. Smartphone based internet access has seen tremendous growth in recent years due to the comparable savings to be made when compared to fixed line internet access.



South Koreans rank highly for being motivated by transactional use of the internet. South Korea ranks highly for motivation by transaction and self-expression behaviour, but very lowly for information seeking.



Spain ranks highly for being motivated to seek information and entertainment online. The Spanish rank highly when seeking information or entertainment online, but poorly for being motivated to transact, Mindshare’s recent study found. The research saw Spain sit in a slightly above average 11th place for self-expression.



Sweden is the second most motivated nation online in Europe. Swedes lead the way for being motivated by entertainment and information gathering online, but lag behind in motivation to transact and self-express with average ratings.



Switzerland takes 24th place in global league table, but scored higher for being motivated by self-expression and information seeking. The Swiss rank well for being motivated by self-expression, taking 10th place for this, and also 10th for information seeking. However, the transactional side of the web pulls Switzerland down the table, having ranked 27th for being motivated by this category. Swiss also behave below expected levels with regards to entertainment online.



Thailand takes fourth place for being most motivated online. Thai citizens come second only to the Chinese in their motivation for transactional use of the web, but lag behind in the use of the internet for information purposes. Thailand also saw an above average score for being motivated by communication / self-expression and an around average score for use of the internet for entertainment.



The UK stiff upper lip reduced the country’s score for self-expression, but the motivation for transactional usage sits in the top five world-wide. The UK sat near the middle of the league table, taking 17th place on average. While people in the UK scored highly for being motivated to use the Internet for entertainment and transactional behaviour such as online shopping, motivation for usage for self-expression and information seeking was closer to the bottom of the table with 28th and 26th place respectively. The findings will back up recent tron the high street, which have seen online channels looking much more optimistic than traditional bricks and mortar retail.



USA lags slightly behind Canada, but ahead of Mexico. The USA took 20th place on the global league table, with low scores for being motivated by self-expression and transactional behaviour such as online shopping. Reasonably high scores in entertainment and information seeking helped keep the USA out of the bottom ten. The findings related to transactional behaviour will be likely to back up an on-going desire to simplify online shopping platforms to service multiple states, with varying shipping conditions and taxes all providing a headache for online brands.



Venezuelan is motivated to use online media for information seeking but lag behind in other areas. Venezuela came near the top of the league table in sixth place for usage of the Internet motivated by information seeking, but lagged behind with self-expression, entertainment and transactional behaviour. Overall, Venezuela was in 18th place of 33 countries, with the information seeking score helping to pull it up the table slightly.


Norm Johnston, Global Digital Leader at Mindshare said:

“This new research is a fresh way of looking at online national audiences and shows the importance of understanding that every group is motivated by different reasons when they go online - and when in these different “modes” they need to be communicated with in bespoke ways, making the use of Adaptive Marketing techniques vital.

The research also challenges our pre-conceptions; for example the USA is the world’s richest nation, but with people who are less motivated to go online for transaction (26th) than almost every other nation on the planet!”

The full report is available for free download here 

Country Self Expression Entertainment Information Transaction Overall
Argentina 15 32 27 14 29
Australia 32 11 17 20 22
Belgium 7 20 20 30 23
Brazil 4 28 14 16 14
Canada 17 15 18 17 16
Chile 2 18 32 4 11
China 1 16 8 1 1
Colombia 21 24 19 9 19
France 22 33 33 12 33
Germany 12 27 9 10 13
Hungary 33 25 15 31 32
India 19 3 4 19 5
Indonesia 14 21 29 13 25
Italy 30 12 2 33 27
Japan 26 31 11 29 28
Malaysia 8 9 12 32 15
Mexico 13 26 22 15 21
Netherlands 18 29 30 23 31
Peru 25 19 24 21 26
Philippines 27 4 3 28 8
Poland 20 13 16 8 10
Portugal 3 17 1 7 2
Russia 24 2 31 18 12
Singapore 9 1 21 6 3
SouthAfrica 29 22 28 25 30
SouthKorea 6 8 23 3 7
Spain 11 6 5 22 9
Sweden 16 5 7 11 6
Switzerland 10 30 10 27 24
Thailand 5 14 25 2 4
UK 28 7 26 5 17
USA 31 10 13 26 20
Venezuela 23 23 6 24 18

Yozzo is a Telecom Consulting Firm, based in Bangkok, Thailand. The company specializes in MVNO, Devices, Media & Broadcasting - mostly, but not limited to ASEAN. 


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