Wednesday, November 16, 2011 | Posted by: Mark Henshaw
Categories: Brazil, China , India, Thought leadership | Tags: business, statistics, growth, research, IBR, emerging markets, media, technology, digital, social media, tech, International business report, Europe, Mark Henshaw, ICT, mobile, social business, e-commerce, G7
Businesses in emerging markets have taken to the use of social media much quicker than peers in mature markets, and the gap is set to widen, according to the latest findings from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR). Our Head of Media, Mark Henshaw, raises some questions for UK businesses seeking international growth.
The research reveals that 43% of businesses globally use social media in some capacity. However, this rises to 53% in Latin America and 50% in the BRIC economies. In mature markets the figures are much lower, at 40% in the G7 and just 35% in Europe.
Meanwhile, more than three-quarters (78%) of Latin American businesses plan to increase their use of social media, compared to two-thirds (66%) in the EU and just over half (55%) across the G7.
The results certainly surprised me. Do they surprise you?
Emerging markets leading the way
There is a warning that business leaders reluctant to embrace digital opportunities could lose out in an e-commerce market expected to be worth $1.4 trillion by 2015 [Source: Cisco Systems]. Emerging markets appear to be embracing social media opportunities faster than their peers in mature markets, showing more faith in the impact that an active presence in this space can have on their relationships with clients, with customers and, ultimately, on their bottom line.
With growth rates in these economies already outstripping those of their old-world rivals, these results are particularly pertinent, pointing to a split in mindset and attitude towards new ways of thinking and working. A reluctance to embrace social media use is clearly not the cause of Europe’s economic woes, but is it now holding the region back?
Moreover, the scale of some of the emerging economies – most notably China and India – is incredible. For instance, just a third of Chinese have access to an internet connection; in India, the figure is less than 10%. This means that in these two countries alone there are 2 billion people yet to be wired in. The internet is already becoming more accessible by mobile phone and other devices, so the potential target audience for social media is enormous.
Is your business looking to tap the emerging markets for customers using social media?
What are businesses doing?
Social media and digital technology can play a vital part in business development and expansion, from recruitment and marketing through to financial reporting. The research shows businesses using social media for a variety of reasons: advertising (53%) is the most popular use, followed by communication with customers (51%) and recruitment (43%).
What does your business use social media for?
Newspapers remain king
To end, I would just point out that newspapers should not be consigned to the waste bin of history just yet: 79% of business owners read a newspaper regularly and for 51% newspapers remain their preferred source of news. However, 11% say they now prefer online newspapers with a further 26% choosing to scour the internet for news.
What is your preferred source of news? Why?
Image: (CC) Mike Licht/Notions Capital
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* Media trends forecast 2011-20 – or how can we sell this to 80 million digitally connected Brazilians?