Consumers in Asia are spending significantly more time online each day, with mobile accounting for almost all of that increase over the past two years. Daily internet usage on mobile has jumped by as much as an hour to more than two hours a day in most Asian markets.

Daily time on the internet via a PC/tablet has plateaued or declined in four of five markets surveyed by GlobalWorldIndex (GWI). The firm recently released in-depth data collected from consumers in Australia, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Singapore.

Looking at the data over the past two years, overall time spent online per day increased in all the markets surveyed – from 1.5 hours (India) to about 20 minutes (Singapore and Australia). India was the only market that saw a significant increase in PC/tablet usage (up half an hour). The rest were flat or down. Malaysia saw PC/tablet use fall more than half an hour per day.

The vast majority of the increased internet usage was via the mobile internet, with the five markets posting growth between 36 and 85 per cent. Malaysia led with a daily rise of 1.5 hours over the past two years to more than three hours a day, according to GWI.

India was the second fastest gainer, with daily mobile internet usage up just over an hour to 2.5 hours a day. Indonesia followed closely, increasing by almost an hour to 2.5 hours a day. The mature markets were up slightly less, with Singapore mobile internet usage rising from 90 minutes to almost two hours a day and Australia growing from about three-quarters of an hour to just over an hour a day.

Viewed as a percentage of total internet use, Malaysians were on top, with mobile internet time accounting for 39 per cent of the total. Indonesia was second (36 per cent), followed by India (35 per cent), Singapore (30 per cent) and Australia (21 per cent), the GWI reports showed.

That is a significant jump from two years ago, when just a quarter of daily internet time was via mobile in all the markets except Australia (just 17 per cent in 2012).

A fairly consistent trend across the five countries was that more than half of peoples’ total daily media time was spent online. Australia was on the low end (50 per cent) while the others ranged from 60-63 per cent. Other media included TV, gaming via consoles, traditional press and radio. The average Malaysian was online 8.2 hours a day, compared to just 4.9 hours for an Australian (the per cent of time viewing TV was also similar across the markets – 17-18 per cent, except for Australia, which was 28 per cent).

Social networking
Despite the large differences between the amount of time spent online, another constant across all five markets – though not a surprise – was that the time spent consuming social networking as a percentage of total online time was in a narrow range of 31-38 per cent. That translated to 2.8 hours a day in Malaysia, 2.4 hours in Indonesia and 1.2 hours in Australia.

The per cent of active social networking users (of total internet users) ranged from 86 per cent in Indonesia to 59 per cent in Australia. The proportion of people using social networking apps on their mobiles is now more than 50 per cent in the developing markets, while just 31 per cent in Australia and 44 per cent in Singapore.