The Instagram Scene in Southeast Asia

Instagram Scene in Southeast Asia

With over 400 million users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world. Through its simple layout and stunning photo capabilities, Instagram has changed the way that we share our lives with others. But even so, you have to wonder – how well is the platform growing in the rapidly developing Southeast Asia? This report will explore the opportunities and current best-practices of using Instagram in one of today’s most exciting regions of the world.

Overview of the top 6 markets

Singapore Malaysia Thailand Indonesia Philippines Vietnam
Population (million) 5.47 30.5 64.9 255.5 40 90.7
Active Instagram users in last month (%) 14 15 10 7 9 5
Growth in active social media accounts (%) 13 8 33 16 18 40

Market penetration

Southeast Asians have been renowned for taking up mobile social media technologies and Instagram is no exception. According to the GlobalWebIndex, around 10% of the population are currently active on Instagram. This is equivalent to around 60 million people or the entire country of Thailand being on Instagram. 10% may not seem like much but this figure is only slightly behind that of the United States (12%) and is actually ahead of Europe (8%).

Gender skew

Worldwide Instagram audiences are generally skewed to females, however figures indicate that this is even more of the case in Southeast Asia. Thailand (65%), The Philippines (64%) and Vietnam (62%) in particular have the strongest skew towards female users in the region. As noted by the project, Selfiecity, this may be due to the fact that women are more comfortable with expressing themselves online.

Word of mouth

Southeast Asian consumers commonly turn to Instagram as a medium to share their purchase experiences with their networks. Research has found that while 49% of digital buyers used Facebook to share their purchase experiences, Instagram and Twitter closely followed with 12% and 13% respectively.

Interesting facts

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Future growth potential

Aside from these current statistics, there are two key factors unique to Southeast Asia which indicate that there will be incredible opportunities to leverage Instagram in the coming years.

1. Demographics

There are nearly 618 million people currently living in Southeast Asia. Looking forward to 2020, nearly half of this population is expected to be below 30 years of age. 90% of Instagrammers are currently under the age of 35 so this poses an incredible opportunity to invest in a future-ready media presence.

2. Urbanisation

Southeast Asia is rapidly urbanising every day. New apartments are constantly being built in the major capitals to cater for the large numbers of people who are shifting from rural to urban areas. Instagram is the perfect platform to capitalise on this opportunity as it has been found to be more popular with urbanised than rural audiences.

Given these forecasts, it is clear that Instagram will continue to grow into an increasingly influential platform in Southeast Asia’s new media landscape. As such, there’s never been a better time to integrate it into your communications strategy than right here, right now.


Statista, Oct 2014. Social media sites most likely to be used to promote brands or products according to digital buyers in Asia.
GlobalWebIndex, Q4 2014. Figures represent percentage of the total national population using the platform in the past month.



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