Soaring 3G, 4G use to boost mobile ads, commerce

By Tue Lam   August 5, 2018 | 08:21 pm PT
Soaring 3G, 4G use to boost mobile ads, commerce
A 4G sign is pictured at a department store in Bangkok, Thailand : Photo by Reuters
Widespread adoption of 3G and 4G networks in Vietnam presents a lucrative growth opportunity for mobile advertising and commerce.

Vietnam had more than 123.9 million mobile subscribers active on 2G, 3G and 4G networks as of June this year, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The number of 3G and 4G subscribers had soared by 29.2 percent year-on-year. Preliminary statistics showed that the combined adoption of 3G and 4G reached 51.5 million subscribers in early 2018.

Mantosh Malhotra, Southeast Asia and Pacific head of telecom equipment giant Qualcomm, said the growth was impressive and predicted 3G and 4G numbers to rise to 120 million by 2020, or 67 percent of all mobile devices.

Doan Duy Khoa, head of consumer insight, banking and technology industry division at Nielsen Vietnam, told VnExpress International that the extensive 3G and 4G adoption in Vietnam would create huge opportunities for mobile advertising and commerce.

Vietnam is ranked third in consumers’ internet access in Southeast Asia, behind only Singapore and the Philippines, he said. “Vietnamese spend 24.7 hours a week on average on the internet compared to nearly 26 hours in developed countries like Singapore.”

Two-thirds of local internet users surveyed by Nielsen said they regularly use smartphones to browse the net.

Khoa said this trend has been fostered by the upgrades to the 3G and 4G telecom infrastructure and the increasing mobile connection speeds on smartphones.

By 2020 some 60 percent of Vietnam’s population is expected to use smartphones.

Khoa quoted statistics from market research company eMarketer as saying Vietnam’s mobile advertising revenues were worth $77 million last year, double that of the previous year.

He presumed the growth is on the rise.

Mobile advertising growth would be driven by new ad formats like in-app ads, mobile video ads and mobile search services, Khoa said. “The rising trends of connectivity and smartphone use also give impetus to mobile commerce growth.”

Smartphones inspire consumers to search online for brands, products and services before buying, and share their impressions after a purchase, he said.

Khoa recommended that marketers should use smartphones as a tool to build brands and loyalty programs and promote sales. “Many providers of air, accommodation, and tourism services are leading the mobile commerce charge in Vietnam.”

eMarketer predicted the mobile retail sector to grow by 24.3 percent to $1.14 million this year. The figure is expected to climb to $1.8 million in the next three years.

But Khoa warned that mobile advertising and mobile commerce sectors face challenges since consumers tend to quickly turn off ads or even block and skip them. “Thus, to get past this, the advertising content must be very good.”

“Consumers’ attention span is very short when it comes to mobile phones, especially compared to tablets and laptops. So, ads must be designed to run for six or 12 seconds instead of the 30 or 60 seconds of traditional ads,” he added.

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