Indonesia is a major player in the Southeast Asian internet market, with a population of over 276 million people and a rapidly growing economy. While only 53.7% of Indonesians have internet access, there is a strong social media user base that spends an average of 3.28 hours per day on these platforms.
The social media demographics in Indonesia are skewed towards younger users, but the growth rate of the older population (age 45 and above) has been significant in recent years. In just a three year period, the number of users in this age group has doubled. It is worth noting that this group is also expanding rapidly as the demographic age.
During the pandemic, we also see a substantial growth in social media use. This can mainly be attributed to the shutdown of numerous brick-and-mortar stores, prompting Indonesian to further connect with their friends and families over the internet. Also, merchants are relying on digital platforms such as e-commerce, social media, and messaging apps to continue engaging with their customers.
During the COVID-19 crisis, social commerce has risen to prominence, especially among those who have faced job losses, temporary work suspensions due to PSBB/PPKM regulations (now revoked), or salary reductions. Turning to platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram for direct selling, many have begun earning income through online sales, leading to a surge in “small businesses” that operate exclusively on the internet.
In Indonesia, where families traditionally shop for groceries frequently at the local wet markets (pasar) or from neighborhood fruit and vegetable vendors, a shift has occurred. More and more customers are now scheduling orders with their usual produce sellers through WhatsApp, arranging for particular delivery days and making cash payments upon receipt at their homes.
This trend isn’t limited to groceries; it’s spreading across nearly all retail sectors. Department store operators are embracing digital transformation, moving to online marketplaces and social media to reach customers.
In the fashion industry, retailers are placing a heightened focus on online sales. As Indonesian consumers grow more familiar with digital media, marketing through social media channels has proven extremely effective in driving sales. The rapid online dissemination of information is expected to make fashion trends shift more quickly and dynamically in the coming years. Fashion retailers are responding by developing adaptive business strategies that are both flexible and tailored to local needs. Casual fashion brands, in particular, have shown remarkable adaptability, successfully utilizing social media for customer engagement and influencer endorsements, often leading to increased digital sales.
Given the latest survey available, in Indonesia there are about 188.6 million active social media users (Log in at least once in a month) in 2022. This is about 68.9 % of the addressable demographics. Also, Throughout 2021 to 2022, the number of users has grown 12.6 %.
In Indonesia, WhatsApp is the most commonly used chat platform with almost 90% internet users active on it, followed closely by other Meta-owned platforms. Facebook and Instagram are used by 81-85% of the country’s internet population between the ages of 16-64. In the past four years, TikTok has experienced tremendous growth in Indonesia, with its user base increasing from 35 million to now more than 44% of the population.
In 2019, the Indonesian government temporarily blocked features like sending photos, audio, or video on social networks owned by Meta given the then riot which killed at least six people and leaving more than 200 people injured. After that, we started to see some users migrating to alternative platforms like Twitter, Signal, and especially Telegram.
Despite the temporary blockage of certain features on social networks owned by Meta in 2019, WhatsApp remained popular in Indonesia. According to a survey by GWI, it was the most popular social media platform in the country. During the pandemic, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia turned to platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram to sell products online and generate income. Additionally, brands increasingly used these platforms to reach consumers while physical stores were closed or subject to restrictions like PSBB (large-scale social restrictions) and PPKM (restrictions on activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19).
The boom in social commerce has also compelled social media giants like Facebook to further invest (however, the plan has been facing some headwind) in the country’s commerce potential.
Despite that, the rise in social commerce is obvious. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Matahari Putra Prima, the supermarket chains, aimed to expand its e-commerce presence. To adapt to changing consumer needs, the retailer launched the WhatsApp Chat & Shop service. This innovative approach allowed customers to easily arrange for groceries to be delivered directly to their homes, bridging the gap between in-store shopping and online convenience.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 0.95%, there is now around 178.7 million Facebook users in Indonesia . With male users account for around 53.67% and female users account for around 46.33%.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.05%, there is now around 97.17 million Instagram users in Indonesia . With male users account for around 48.55% and female users account for around 51.45%.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.36%, there is now around 106.9 million TikTok users in Indonesia . With male users account for around 0.34 and female users account for around 0.66.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.08x, there is now around 22.17 million LinkedIn users in Indonesia.