1. Swiping up for an always-on lifestyle
Nearly all consumers surveyed have their mobile device with them for at least half of the day, and one in five are never without their phone. Yet, the majority of respondents surveyed feel they strike a good balance on their use of technology (76%).
People in the Philippines and Thailand are most dependent on their mobile phones, with 29% and 25% respectively saying they are never without their mobile phones. This dependence is set to grow, with nearly three in four people (74%) expecting their mobile usage to increase in the coming years, a trend greatest among respondents in Thailand (82%).
2. Keeping up as digital life charges ahead
Generational differences in how people feel about the surge in time spent online are apparent, however. Gen Z respondents, the youngest surveyed, are more likely to feel that they are overusing technology. Along with their millennial counterparts, Gen Z respondents were also the most concerned about having the right skills to keep pace with technology. This was a concern shared across generations, with 85% of respondents worried that their digital skills will not keep pace with a rapidly evolving digital environment.
3. (Lack of) trust in the digital world
Concerns around privacy and security of mobile devices surfaced for 93% of respondents across the region, amid a well-recognised surge in digital adoption. Of those who reduced their mobile usage in the past year, one in three Gen Z respondents in Malaysia cited privacy and security concerns as the top reason for the decrease. Conversely, people in Thailand were least concerned, with nearly a quarter of respondents not concerned about this at all.
4. Tapping into a more sustainable life
The study also reveals optimism about the potential for mobile technology to advance environmental sustainability. Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that digital access is “very important” for them to lead greener lives in the future. Interestingly, there were also differences across markets with lowest in Thailand (63%), Malaysia (57%) and Singapore (41%).
People cited the greatest benefits come in the areas of reducing paper, waste, and electricity (70% of respondents), being able to communicate more efficiently (67%) and providing better access to public transport with more information (55%). However, this does not take into consideration that surging data use will require greater energy consumption.
5. Mobile technology is closing the digital divide
The study also points to the greater potential women see in mobile usage, with more women than men saying mobile connectivity has enhanced their options for working and generating income and gave them better access to information and education opportunities. Interestingly, Singapore is the only country where this trend is reversed, with more males (54%) than females (49%) finding that mobile usage improves their lives significantly.
Respondents also recognise how mobile connectivity is inclusive, giving people greater access to essential services which enrich their daily lives, such as education (88%) and healthcare services (88%).
However, it is around financial inclusion where mobile usage is really levelling the playing field. 92% of respondents say mobile usage has increased their access to financial services while more than half (57%) believe their access to financial services has “significantly improved”. It is also worth noting the disparity between responses of those living in cities (60%) and rural areas (50%), which highlights the ongoing need to broaden the reach of these services to those outside urban areas.