The Multidevice Movement: Thais, Taiwanese and Aussies

The sun has set. A Thai college student texts a selfie to her boyfriend as she types up her homework in Bangkok. A businessman in Taipei swipes through the day’s news on his tablet while calling his wife. And in Sydney, an Aussie mom of two emails her boss a draft of a presentation before heading out for a walk with her wearable. Each is connecting—to friends, family, colleagues and the outside world—through multiple devices.

But what do these devices mean to people in Asia Pacific? Are they mere communication tools? Are some more valuable than others?

In an exploration of multidevice usage around the world, Facebook IQ commissioned GfK to conduct a study of multidevice users around the world. For this second post in our Multidevice Movement series, we surveyed 1,000 adults ages 18–54 who use a smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop at least once a week in three markets in Asia Pacific: up-and-coming Thailand and well-established Australia and Taiwan.

We saw near universal multidevice usage in each of the markets surveyed. Over 95% of people in each market use at least two devices and a third use three: a smartphone, a tablet and a desktop or laptop. For people in the emerging market of Thailand, this is a relatively recent phenomenon: 39% of Thais surveyed have gone from one to many devices in the past couple of years.

Young people are leading the multidevice movement on mobile. This is most noticeable in Thailand, where three out of four multidevice users are Millennials and almost one out of four are students. In the more mature markets of Australia and Taiwan, the majority of multidevice users are ages 35–54, and in Australia, half are parents.

We learned that despite cultural differences, people in these markets have something big in common: an appreciation for their devices.

 

A world of possibilities is at their fingertips

Beyond facilitating communication with others and providing greater access to entertainment, devices make people more aware of opportunities that were previously out of reach. Over 60% of multidevice users in each market say that using multiple devices has improved their lives—this is especially true in Thailand (83%).

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And each device plays a part in people’s everyday lives. Smartphones help people connect with friends and family, like through the taking and sharing of photos. Tablets ease boredom, providing access to entertaining games and online videos. And desktops/laptops are productivity engines people use for day-to-day shopping and to look up information online.

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A smart, inspiring sidekick

If any device reigns supreme, it is the smartphone. Smartphones are the favorite device for many people in Thailand (61%) and Taiwan (47%), and they’re tied with desktops/laptops in Australia (40%).

Why? Smartphones offer greater access to information, giving people more control over their future and inspiring them to feel more confident. 21% of people, on average, in the three markets say that smartphones make them feel empowered. And people want to share the wealth. While popular belief says that smartphones are our most personal device, people in Thailand (85%), Taiwan (76%) and Australia (68%) are happy to share their smartphones with others.

People in all three markets use their smartphones more than any other device throughout the day. Thais especially use their smartphones to get a head start on their morning. 79% of Thai multidevice users say they have used their smartphones by 9am—compared to 66% of Aussie and Taiwanese multidevice users—more than 2X the number who say they have used either their tablet or desktop/laptop.

Whether they are lying in bed, watching TV, doing household chores or even (yup!) using the bathroom, smartphones are people’s constant companions.

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Just like smartphones once did, trendy devices like wearables are finding their way into the repertoire of multiple devices in people’s lives. One out of four people in Australia, Taiwan and Thailand say that wearing wearables makes them feel “advanced,” and it’s projected that shipments of wearable devices will have grown by 20% by 2019, reaching 173 million units worldwide.1

 

What it means for marketers

Brands can stay top of mind to the people who matter most by capturing their attention through their devices, both new and old, telling relevant and cohesive stories across multiple screens.

Deliver a seamless multidevice experience: Multidevice usage is near universal in Australia, Taiwan and Thailand. In Thailand, 30% of multidevice users own four or five devices. Throughout the day, people are carrying content with them seamlessly, with more than 75% of multidevice users syncing information between different devices. To deliver best-in-class experiences, brands should provide quality, integrated content across screens as people toggle between devices.

Leverage personalization: From young Thai students to mature Aussie parents, the Asia Pacific community is made up of an evolving and diverse tapestry. For example, we know that Aussies have a soft spot for their desktops/laptops, with as many multidevice users saying their desktop/laptop is their favorite device as the number who say their smartphone is. Brands can harness the power of personalization by tailoring messaging to the right person on the right device at the right time.

Be future-ready: People are challenging conventions by seeking out and experimenting with novel products, services and devices. Brands can keep pace by shifting with people’s changing behaviors, designing innovative creative with people’s modern tastes and device preferences in mind.

 

1“Fueled by Growing Demand for Smart Wearables, IDC Forecasts Worldwide Wearable Shipments to Reach 173.4 Million by 2019” by IDC, Sep 14, 2015.
Source unless otherwise specified: “Multi-device Study” by GfK (Facebook-commissioned study of people ages 18–54 who use a smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop at least once a week in AU, TH and TW), Oct—Nov 2015.