News & Insights

Instagram usage doubles in Asia Pacific as people migrate onto photo-sharing platforms

·  39% of connected consumers in APAC now using social media platform Instagram, and 51% of Taiwanese use it,  providing new opportunities for brand engagement

·   Visual platforms most popular in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, where camera-enabled smartphones have high penetration

·   Yet as consumers shy away from traditional online advertising, influencers are key for brands looking to engage

The use of social media platforms Instagram has doubled across Asia Pacific since 2014 as engagement with these highly-visual platforms continues to grow, according to Connected Life, the latest study of over 70,000 consumers from global research consultancy Kantar TNS. Developments in mobile technology are a clear driver, with the number of smartphone users across the region now numbering over a billion[i], and increasingly powerful smartphone cameras giving connected users the opportunity to take and share photos instantly.

Across Asia Pacific, connected consumers are expanding their use of social media beyond Facebook and testing newer, more visual channels. Instagram has gained the most traction in Malaysia, with 73% of connected consumers using the platform to share beautifully edited and curated pictures with followers. Hong Kong and Singapore are not far behind, with 70% and 63% respectively. In Taiwan, 51% of the connected consumers use Instagram as well. The number has doubled from 2014 (23%), and the usage rate is higher among younger group, with 71% of the 16-24 year old Taiwanese use Instagram.

It’s not just more developed Asia where Instagram isgrowing in popularity. Developing Asian countries are not left behind, with an average of 40% of connected consumers using Instagram. For many people in these mobile-first countries, social media is the totality of the web experience as is the main access point for the internet, causing platform usage to rise sharply in line with mobile penetration. Instagram is the key photo platform across these markets, with 24% of internet users in Vietnam using Instagram and 16% of connected Cambodians on Instagram.

While young people are the biggest social media users across all platforms, the rise of the ‘Insta-Gran’ is also gaining momentum; one in five (19%) internet users in APAC aged 55 – 65 now use Instagram, a 47% jump since this time last year.

The rise of these platforms provides brands with new opportunities to target and engage consumers. However, brands need to be mindful of evolving consumer attitudes as they look to take advantage of the diversifying social media landscape. The Connected Life results reveal that almost a quarter (23%) consumers in Asia Pacific ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands. Businesses need to avoid being invasive as a third (33%) already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising.

In addition, the Kantar TNS study found that influencers and celebrities hold the key to connecting with consumers. Two out of five (40%) online 16 – 24 year olds in Asia Pacific say they trust what people say online about brands more than ‘official’ sources, such as newspapers, brands’ own websites or TV adverts. Again, younger people are the more influencer-oriented group, trusting bloggers and peers rather than information from brands. The older generation’s ‘influencer network’ is still primarily friends and family. However, considering this group’s adoption of other trends, they may soon being referring to social media influencers for inspiration and information.

Zoë Lawrence, APAC Digital Director at Kantar TNS, said:


“The rise of Instagram highlightshow consumers are eagerly adopting visual ways of expressing themselves, as they embrace the ability to capture and share moments. Importantly, the adoption of these new platforms is incremental – people are using them in addition to Facebook, WhatsApp and other social channels. This provides brands with multiple new channels to engage with consumers in a deeper and more effective way. 

 “What’s crucial is that brands no longer look at social channels as blank media space for advertising. The results show that consumers are demanding content that is integrated seamlessly into the platform, enhancing rather than interrupting the use of it. To do this successfully, it’s essential to maintain the brand values of the platform being used. Instagram is a place for highly-curated, enhanced images. Brands need to approach each platform individually to ensure the content created mixes seamlessly into the user-generated feed and maintains their own integrity.”

About Connected Life

Connected Lifeis a leading global study of the digital attitudes and behaviours of 70,000 internet users across 57 countries. It uses comprehensive analysis of how connectivity changes people’s behaviour to address the big challenges for marketers. It does so by looking in detail at consumers, connections, content and commerce, providing the strategic guidance needed to keep, engage and influence the people that matter.

The fieldwork was undertaken in all markets between June and September 2016. Instagram usage measured by those who identified as using platform at all (daily, weekly, monthly or less often).

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About Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies with experts in over 80 countries. We provide actionable insights to help companies make impactful decisions and drive growth.

With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer relationships we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business.

We are part of Kantar, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies.

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About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies. Working together across the whole spectrum of research and consulting disciplines, its specialist brands, employing 30,000 people, provide inspirational insights and business strategies for clients in 100 countries. Kantar is part of WPP and its services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.

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Estella Wu 吳曉蓁t: +886 (0)2 2577 5505 (Ext. #154)

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