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APAC: Untapped Opportunity for Digital Marketers

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

It’s no surprise that digital ad spend is on the rise globally, but did you know that real-time bidding (RTB) is the fastest growing segment of display worldwide? As we discuss in our latest white paper, IDC projects that over 40% of digital ad inventory will be sold and purchased through RTB by 2017, with Asia Pacific (APAC) leading the pack.

Real time bidding revenue forecast: APAC, LATAM, EMEA

Since APAC can represent 40+ countries depending on who you’re asking, we’ll narrow this conversation to two major opportunities for online marketers. China and Japan have made huge strides in terms of ad spend and revenue in the past couple years, and analysis based on booming Internet and mobile adoption suggests the potential for eCommerce is only going to get bigger. Let’s take a closer look at these two growing economies.

China: One billion urban consumers

Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2016, the number of Internet users in China will amount to double the entire US population. And according to eMarketer’s worldwide mobile ad spending forecast, issued last month:

Marketers will spend $6.39 billion on mobile ads in China in 2014, up 600.0% from just $913 million last year; this total will increase another 90.0% to $12.14 billion in 2015. By way of this year’s gain, China will surpass both the UK and Japan to become the second-largest mobile ad market in the world.

Several factors are contributing to this astronomical digital growth in the world’s most populous country, namely:

  • Broadcast advertising is highly regulated by the government, with demand for TV airtime far exceeding supply.
  • The nation’s per capita disposable income rose 10.9% from 2013 to 2014; this means consumers can focus less on necessities and more on luxury items like smartphones and interests like travel.
  • An increase in online penetration: China currently boasts 632 million Internet users.
  • Much less reliance on desktop than US consumers. Astoundingly, 46.9% of Chinese people purely use mobile devices.

What are urban consumers in China most likely to purchase? Here’s the current breakdown, and how it will evolve, according to Accenture:

0 at 4.59.10 PMAs you can see, dining, retail and electronics are the dominant purchase drivers among China’s most affluent citizens, but travel is making moves toward the top of the list.

Japan: Digitally driven

When eMarketer projected the top 5 mobile Internet, digital and total media spenders in 2015 by country, Japan came in third after the US and China.

Some digital marketing-related facts about Japan:

  • Approximately 80% of the population has Internet access.
  • Affordable luxury is an emerging purchase category
  • Compared to the APAC average, time spent on entertainment sites is almost double in Japan.
  • In 2013, Japan’s smartphone penetration rate showed a 40%+ YoY increase.
  • That same year, online retail reach in Japan was amongst the highest in the world at 86%.

This focus on web retail may be explained in part by the popularity of mobile devices in Japan, especially among millennials. According to Exact Target’s Japan Consumer Insights Report, here’s the breakdown of consumer smartphone usage by demographic:

Ages 18-24

Ages 25-34

Ages 35-44

This healthy adoption of smartphones by the younger set indicates that millennials might also be a good demographic target for digital advertisers eyeing Japan.

Looking for more insights into the opportunities that APAC provides online advertisers? Check out our coverage of India, Japan, Indonesia and Australia, or inquire about our Singapore office.


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