Convenience is the new king: BE:Asia

Asia's c-suite executes growing hunger for instant economic and political information is driving some of the biggest uptake of tablet and smartphone usage in the world.

The latest BE:Asia study from research firm Ipsos shows ownership of smartphones and tablets among top business executives has rocketed in the past year to 85% and 51% respectively, giving Asia the title of global leader in smartphone and tablet ownership.

Sylvia van der Waal, direct of Ipsos MediaCT, told Marketing at BE:Asia's Hong Kong launch event today, that the old stereotype of business executives with a briefcase and grey suits was "becoming a bit old".

These wealthy individuals were outpacing average consumers' ownership of new devices and jumping feet first into new media consumption.

She described the adoption of smartphones and tablets as good news for media brands, with their reach growing steadily among business elites.

"Do tablets and smartphones represent a new wave of media fragmentation? No. Business elites are far heavier consumers of media than anyone else and they are loyal to their media brands."

Outside the so-called "traditional media" brands, BE:Asia included social media channels Twitter and LinkedIn in this year's survey and will consider including Facebook in next year's research.

The results, not surprisingly, show a strong overall social media usage, up by well over a third since 2010 to 40%, while six out of 10 access online content via mobile devices, compared to half this two years ago.

Herbert Lam, regional digital director at UM, said reaching and connecting with the elite and business executives through social media can be very effective, so long as advertiser's respect their status.

"Interactions with brands are more than just a two way communication these days and consumers are constantly filled with ample opportunities to see, feel and interact with brands in new ways," he said.

"Often, brands aren't able to break from the clutter if there isn't a new digital engagement."

While their wealth may have eroded slightly in the past year, but Asia's business elite remain highly influential for luxury goods and media consumption.

With annual incomes of almost US$200,000 and an average net worth of more than $1.3 million, the still have a high capacity for spending, the research shows.

Around a third own watches valued at more than $5,000 and, despite the economic slowdown, more are flying in business or first class when traveling for business or leisure purposes.

An more in-depth look at the BE:Asia results, including media consumption, will be published in the next edition of Marketing.