Indonesia Brand Strategy Stagwell Group

Indonesia is set to be a top five economy – how can brands get a piece of the action?


By Danielle Long, Acting APAC Editor

April 11, 2023 | 8 min read

Indonesia is poised to become the next boom market and tipped to become one of the world’s largest economies in the next 25 years, so how can marketers ensure their brands are positioned for growth?

Indonesia poised to become boom market

Indonesia's capital city Jakarta

More than half (60%) of Indonesia’s 270 million population is aged under 30 years, presenting a huge opportunity for marketers looking to grow their brands in APAC’s biggest emerging markets.

A mobile-first nation, which values social media, short-form content, gaming and crypto, but also maintains conservative morals and strong family and community values, Indonesia presents a complex consumer market for marketers.

In a bid to better understand the market and its potential, Stagwell affiliate media agency Coconuts Media partnered with global insights company National Research Group (NRG) to conduct a study of the consumer behaviours, tech adoption, content preferences and attitudes that are shaping Indonesia.

The ‘Exploring Indonesia” report is “one of the most extensive deep dives into the country’s culture, people and digital consumption habits,” according to Coconuts Media managing editor, Indonesia, Andra Nasrie.

The research will help drive investment from global media, tech and entertainment companies, in addition to showcasing the opportunities it presents for brands and advertisers.

Sushma Panchawati, SVP of content & strategy at NRG, tells The Drum, “For marketers and brands especially, we believe these insights are coming at an optimal time considering the trajectory of the country – predicted to be one of the top 5 largest global economies by 2050. Those who are paying attention and are fast-moving will be able to play a significant part in the country’s growth story.”

Understanding Indonesia

The report reveals the values and attitudes of Indonesians, who consider themselves honest, respectful, and family and community-conscious, which is reflected in home lives, with 84% of the population living in multi-generational households.

It also highlights the best platforms to engage Indonesians – as the rise of cost-effective Android handsets has helped ensure widespread smartphone ownership, with the report revealing 75.4% of respondents owned a smartphone – with 92% of these on Android.

While cash is currently still king in Indonesia, accounting for half (49%) of payments, mobile wallets are growing in popularity driven by the explosion of ‘super apps’ including Grab and Gojek, that consolidate a range of services – including finance and messaging in addition to rideshare and food delivery.

Indonesia’s favourite entertainment is social media (30%), music (17%), streaming TV or movies (15%) and online short-form video (13%). Instagram is the most frequently used social media app; however, TikTok is also booming, with 61% of people using the app multiple times a day.

When it comes to content, YouTube is a firm favourite and is used by 84% of Indonesians for an average of 14.6% hours a week. Indonesia’s limited high-quality internet access means subscription streaming platforms have yet to achieve significant adoption, with Indonesian’s viewing paying for streaming services as a luxury - 69% of low-income Indonesians do not subscribe to any platforms.

However, the key to adoption is sports content, which is essential for Indonesia’s sports-mad population. Vidio is the fastest-growing streaming service in Indonesia thanks to its live sports broadcasting, including FIFA World Cup, Premier League, and local content, as well as its affordable plans, which start at less than $2.

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How to navigate Indonesia's market complexities

The report's specific insights into the Indonesian audiences will enable marketers to create better-tailored strategies which encourage deeper engagement with consumers.

“For those interested in entering the Indonesian market, having a mobile strategy is table stakes, and even more effective for those brands that can show up on social media platforms, ranked the no. 1 entertainment activity,” says Panchawati. “On a more personal level, adhering to their very family and community-driven cultural values will help brands forge more authentic, trusted connections with these consumers.”

“Brands need to be cognizant that affordability is a common thread that ties these behaviours together, which may continue to pose a challenge for some of the bigger names and Western services in the industry. Indonesians consider paid streaming to be a luxury, with 69% of low-income Indonesians who do not subscribe to any services and 57% who list “lower cost options/tiers” as the top reason to pay for a new service.

"Additionally, the country’s shared moral code of conservatism, often at odds with the younger, city-dwelling population, is also not to be overlooked, as there are many guardrails around content that’s considered taboo or outright banned from the country," says Panchawati.

Pornography and nudity banned are banned in all entertainment in Indonesia and three-quarters of Indonesians would refuse to watch a new film with LGBTQ+ themes. Platforms such as Reddit and Vimeo are banned in Indonesia - as is crypto as a form of payment; however, there are more than 14 million crypto users in the country.

Despite this, Indonesians are increasingly more accepting of changing gender views, such as women not wearing hijabs on TV and occupying more important senior jobs.

These sorts of complex and nuanced insights are extremely important for brands looking to navigate this market as its importance continues to increase globally, says Stagwell managing director, Asia-Pacific Randy Duax.

“Indonesia’s rise in urbanization and consumer spending power is a force to be noticed by the world stage,” says Duax. “For global brands to be part of this growth story that is helmed by a tech and social media-savvy Indonesian generation – that in particular has an urban-empowered female consumer – brands must authentically mirror the trust and consumer understanding of local brands by bringing integrated online-offline experiences to earn wallet share.”

Indonesia Brand Strategy Stagwell Group

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