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Mobile Marketing in Indonesia: An Emerging Digital Economy

As the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia boasts tremendous potential for growth and consumption.

Indonesia is home to the fourth largest population in the world, with 274 million residents. Gen Zs and millennials account for 58% of the population, compared to the US and China’s 46%, opening itself to a wealth of opportunities for digital brands and apps looking for new growth. 

But what are the driving forces behind Indonesia’s robust economic development? And what are its engines of growth? Let’s start our deep dive into the country’s potential with a look at the population.

Indonesia’s Online Population

Known as the “Land of a Thousand Islands,” Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands. With this, there are 1,300 ethnic groups, six major religions, and the world’s largest Muslim population. Linguistically, Bahasa is the official language, but over 800 languages are spoken in Indonesia, with most people fluent in more than two languages. These are just some of the many cultural details you must consider for your next campaign, as understanding Indonesia’s cultural diversity is paramount to success

Demographically, local users show a distinct difference according to their ages.

Gen Z (18-24 years old): The Most Active Users

This generation is very open-minded and easily accepts changes. They are the most active social media users and are highly influenced by it. The most popular apps for Gen Z users are TikTok, Instagram, and Reddit. As such, Marketers can cater their strategies to engage Gen Zs through social media with tactics such as influencer marketing. 

Millennials (25-34): Experienced and Credibility-Conscious E-Commerce Users

Indonesian millennials have been a major driver of economic growth since they are predominantly well-versed in technology and are growing their purchasing power. 

Besides social networking apps like Telegram and LinkedIn, millenials frequently use e-commerce applications such as Shopee and Tokopedia.

Gen X+ (35+): Stability- and Health-Conscious

Gen-X’s favorite apps include Facebook and WhatsApp. Although most assume users over 35 prefer offline products/services, due to the global pandemic, Gen X+ users’ high purchasing power and increasing online presence have made them ideal customers for e-commerce companies.

Popular Apps in Indonesia

Social Media Apps

Indonesia’s most popular social media platforms are YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, and TikTok. The average amount of time people spend on social media is 3 hours and 37 minutes per day, with an average of 8.5 different platforms per user.

With this growing number of users and time spent, taking advantage of social media can bring success. Online video such as YouTube or TikTok has a strong influence on Indonesian shopping behavior, but that is just one of the many great opportunities. With a high average of 8.5 different platforms, having a diverse campaign strategy is another option to consider.

Tips to Reaching Audiences on Social Media in Indonesia

  • Indonesian consumers are cost-conscious and always put prices first. In response, promotions serve as a profitable growth engine. Customer retention and customer loyalty are two key factors to consider during promotional periods.
  • Respect for local religions is a must. Islam is the dominant religion in Indonesia. This explains why your localization efforts must pay heed to certain animals such as avoiding dogs and pigs. An example of this is when JD.com changed its company logo from a puppy to a pony in the Indonesian market.
  • Indonesians are diehard fans of K-dramas and hold Korean culture in very high esteem. Korean stars are hot-ticket spokespersons and great brand ambassadors for Indonesian companies. Therefore a dose of local pop culture in advertising can go a long way in raising your brand awareness.

Mobile Gaming Apps

Indonesia has been considered one of the key destinations for Chinese game-makers to develop overseas markets. According to the “Mobvista 2022 Chinese Mobile Games Go Global White Paper”, Indonesia saw the fastest development of casual mobile games launched by go-global Chinese publishers in 2021, with a growth rate of over 20%.

Download volume of popular Chinese casual handheld game markets abroad in 2021

In terms of game categories, casual games such as matching games, board games, and solitaire have drawn an increasing number of Indonesian users.

For player demographics, most Indonesian gamers are male teenagers or young adults. Male players account for 55%, and female players account for 45%.

Tips to Capture Indonesian Gaming App User Interest

  • Indonesia boasts one of the highest numbers of mobile e-sports tournaments in Southeast Asia. Among other things, local players and viewers find MOBA games particularly appealing. Therefore, game developers should prioritize short videos and streaming media for their marketing strategies.
  • Language localization is a prerequisite for retention. Games that benefit from lasting popularity in Indonesia have always localized their products into the official Bahasa language. In addition to game localization, ad creatives require an understanding of local pop culture.
  •  Awareness of unique local culture and customs is critical. Indonesian users are especially fond of vivid colors and unconventional ads. Note that green is a widely used color in local ad creatives since it is often associated with Muslim culture.

 Stumble Guys' ad creatives

       Stumble Guys’ ad creatives (Source: CAS Overseas Edition)

E-Commerce Apps

Indonesian users love to shop online. As many as 95% of Indonesian customers preferring to do online shopping on their phones. The best-selling categories include fashion products and accessories, beauty and personal care, electronics, and groceries.

Social media platforms are a game-changer for e-commerce, with 80% of Indonesian e-merchants choose to promote their products in digital communities.

Take Shopee, for example. They have garnered success in Indonesia by offering attractive cash rewards, free shipping, and discounts. At the height of the pandemic in 2021, Shopee dethroned Tokopedia as the No. 1 e-marketplace in the country.

Tips to Capture Indonesian E-commerce App User Interest

  • For advertisers seeking further growth in Indonesia, timing matters. Tailor your marketing strategies to capitalize on festivities to drive conversion and growth.
  • Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is Indonesia’s most celebrated traditional festival. During Ramadan, e-commerce apps see the most significant number of visits and games become a popular form of entertainment.
  • Apart from Ramadan, the 25th of every month in Indonesia is payday, a golden business opportunity when people pay the bills, buy essentials, and can’t wait to splurge on things to treat themselves.

That’s all on Indonesian apps! Want to learn more about local markets? Brazil and Indonesia, Japan, and Korea all have deep guides by Nativex that you can learn from. Also, contact the Nativex team if you want to learn more about how we can help you.