News / Science & Technology

Indonesian Smartphone Usage Surges but Still Lags

A Blackberry Z3 smartphone is shown by a model during its launch in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 13, 2014. The Z3 is priced at (US $200) in the country.
A Blackberry Z3 smartphone is shown by a model during its launch in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 13, 2014. The Z3 is priced at (US $200) in the country.
A new Nielsen Survey Study reveals that smartphone ownership continues to surge in Indonesia.

The survey shows smartphone ownership has risen up by 5 percent over the previous year, according to Anil Anthony, Consumer Insight executive director of Nielsen Indonesia.

“In urban Indonesia, the penetration of smartphones is 23 percent, which [means] one-in-four people has a smartphone," he said. "That is quite low when we compare [it] with other developing countries in Asia, but better than India and the Philippines.”

The survey of 1,900 participants was conducted over the course of 2013 in several big cities, including Medan, Bandung, Surabaya, and Makasar.

Uday Rayana, a communications observer in Jakarta, questions if rising smartphone usage is a positive sign.

"Actually this is due to the smartphones spectacular growth which now has become part of our lifestyle and in accordance with our behavior of hanging out together and establishing communities," he said. "But the question is how productive are these kinds of social media activities?"

Karania, a human resources professional staffer in a business firm, told VOA that her smartphone has helped her in her job.

“When I have free time, I always spend it by using my phone”, she said, adding that most of her smartphone activities involve chatting and browsing the Internet.

Meanwhile, Eggi, who lives in a Jakarta suburb and runs an online food business, says his smartphone helps him interact with his customers.

“Mostly I use my smartphone for my business," he said.

According to the study, average Indonesian smartphone users spend more than two hours daily on their phones, with most of the time spent chatting, browsing or using Internet apps.

The Nielsen Survey states that, on average, women spend more time chatting than men.

The survey said young adults between 25-30 are the most active smartphone users and spend most of their time talking on the phone.

The level of smartphone usage reaches its peak after office hours.

According to a Nielson report last year, usage varies wildly between countries in East Asia.  Some, such as Singapore and Malaysia, have a smartphone penetration exceeding 80 percent, while the Philippines stands at just 15 percent and India at 18 percent.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.)

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