A new report by leading online researcher, The Nielson Company, has found that social media is having an increasing impact on purchasing decisions, with Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube topping a list of the seven biggest online brands in the region.
Online reviews are now the third most trusted source of information behind family and friends, particularly for purchases of consumer electronics, cosmetics and cars.
The report also found that 74 per cent of the world’s population have visited a social networking/blogging site, and Internet users are spending an average of six hours per month on social media sites.
Megan Clarken, managing director of Nielson’s online business in the Asia Pacific region, said: “Businesses can no longer afford to simply observe the social media phenomenon, they need to embrace it.”
Australians lead the world in social media engagement with an average of seven hours per month spent on social media sites. Linkedin saw the fastest growth among social media sites in Australia, with its audience numbers increasing by 99 per cent from July 2009 to May 2010.
Among other findings, The Nielson Company reported that users in Japan post over one million blogs per month. 16 per cent of Japanese internet users also use Twitter, whose visitor numbers have jumped from less than 200,000 to more than 10 million in the year to April 2010. Meanwhile in India, 57 per cent of Twitter visitors have signed up in the past year, with close to one third of India’s social media users using microblogging sites such as Twitter.
Online product reviews are also increasing their influence on purchases in India, particularly for consumer electronics. 64 per cent of consumer electronic products are based on internet reviews.
In China, over 80 per cent of social media content is delivered via bulletin boards. Chinese Internet users are also the most likely in the region to post a negative review with 61 per cent of users saying they are more likely to share negative reviews than positive reviews.
In China, social media games are also used as a stimulus to drive new users and gain reach with existing users.
However, Korea is said to be one of the world’s most social media engaged countries, with 95 per cent of its Internet population visiting the country’s leading social media site, Naver.