Tokopedia Portal

                           Tokopedia Portal

Tokopedia has recently emerged as one of Indonesia’s biggest C2C marketplace sites, allowing merchants to open shops onsite and handling online transactions.

In this ‘websites around the world’ series we’re sharing some fascinating and useful insights into different website design approaches around the world, including how and why they’ve evolved differently for different audiences. This will help you to better understand your own reactions to websites from cultures different from your own. And you’ll pick up ideas about how you can adjust your own website and social media marketing to appeal more to your international market.

After kicking off last week with China, this week we’re looking at Indonesia. Indonesia is strategically important, a powerhouse in the APAC region and growing as a significant global marketplace and international business partner.

digital penetration indonesia

 Digital penetration in Indonesia 2014

Currently, 83.7 million or 33% of 251 million Indonesians use the internet. That puts Indonesia at #6 globally just behind Japan and is expected to reach around 102.8 million users in 2016. It’s an especially remarkable development, when you consider that poor or damaged infrastructure has made access and connectivity a challenge throughout the archipelago.

One of the most common errors that new investors in Indonesia still make is to see the country as a single market. Indonesia is a huge, segmented market of distinct needs and behaviours. Whatever your company’s size (but especially if you have a small workforce and small marketing budget) you need to target a specific market – not the whole 1700-island, 251-million population archipelago! Even the ‘utility-entertainment’ division of Indonesia’s internet user population is a simplification – although a solid starting point.

Indonesia’s fastest-growing internet user group is 30-39 year-olds (‘utility’ users), followed by 20-24 year-olds (‘entertainment’ users) then 25-29 year olds (both ‘utility’ and ‘entertainment’ users).

Telkom Flexi - business division of Telkom, Indonesia's largest telco.

Telkom Flexi – business division of Telkom, Indonesia’s largest telco.

Another common errors new investors make is to look no further than Jakarta, including internet user demographics. Bad mistake! Indonesia’s secondary cities are powerful, rapidly growing market places and home to Indonesia’s fastest-growing internet user groups.

The Indonesian internet market is rapidly moving towards e-commerce, paid online content and B2B services (utility users), away from the social media networking and simple, free entertainment which characterised the evolution of Indonesian web design and web features for the urban ‘entertainment user’ under-25s who dominated Indonesia’s internet market up to 5 years ago.

The older, wealthier utility users use the internet primarily from home and secondarily from the office, using laptops, smartphones and desktops. Entertainment users still use Wartels (public internet cafes) but are increasingly using smartphones…which are an increasingly favoured option especially where connectivity is more reliable.

Simple breakdown of what Indonesia’s main internet users use the web for.

Indonesian websites combine plenty of colour and visual busy-ness with a comparatively spacious look – more so than – say – the average Chinese or Japanese website’. Imagery may include a few moving elements, usually most obvious in top or side website banners, which often include a Flash design. Icons and symbols, often using friendly and ‘cute’ concepts in restful colours, provide a welcoming and friendly impression to attract and encourage brand recognition, buy in and loyalty.

 Utility users in the late 20s to 40s age group are the key Indonesian demographic for international investors, as this is the market which is comfortable with the digital medium for trade and commerce, is increasingly investing in it and has the capital to do so both at the organisational and personal level.

Generally, visuals and information presented in Indonesian websites – as with other ‘high-power distance’ cultures – aim to guide where users should go and what they should know. While website design is changing, sites overall follow a formal layout. with limited choices. Restricted access to information is often favored. Keep this in mind when considering your Indonesian audience.

Indonesian websites reflect cultural values of harmony, community, beauty, social interaction, high social status, luxury, emotions and symbolic association, seen in design colour, images, logos, layout and slogans. Visual elements often combine national ‘aspirations’ with underlying philosophical cultural values.

Founded by Indonesian students overseas as an expat student forum, Kaskus combines social networking with online shopping. Note the soft colours, heavy use of image links and combination Indonesian-English text,.

Founded by Indonesian students overseas as an expat student forum, Kaskus offers social networking and e-shopping. Note the crispness of text and image and combination Indonesian-English text.

‘Clean’ and ‘beautiful’ are often emphasised by website designers as key design qualities. You should carefully consider what these concepts mean to different audience sensibilities. Commercial sites tend to look busy yet uncluttered, with plenty of white space, and the latinised Indonesian text. Embedded links may not be apparent until the user hovers their curser over the words/image.

The massive Indonesian digital market is well worth taking time to explore. There’s plenty of other interesting information and

websites you can browse like TechInAsia, which posts regular updates on Indonesia’s top websites and other great insights if you’re doing business across the APAC region., whether tech-related or not. Redwing Asia maps Indonesian websites from Indonesian to global website ranking.

Although this blog has largely displayed shopping and social media websites, you can check out the many popular news websites such as Viva and corporate websites like Semen, Indonesia’s largest cement producing company which combines a more generically international look with an Indonesian sensibility (yes, the orthography of ‘cement’ in Indonesian translates badly in English).

Love our cute mascots - group identity and brand buy in...and in flat design, too.

Cute culture online – group identity and brand buy in…and in flat design, too.


Viva is one of Indonesia’s widest-read online news websites.

Your in-country contacts can also help you check out more local websites to give you a more nuanced picture of the varied Indonesian website landscape.

We’d love to hear your comments and questions! To find out how InterMondo can support your communications requirements in an international environment, click here.