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Context Matters – Things to Know before Entering into a New Market


One of the main objectives of the Mozilla Taipei office is to develop products that meet the needs of users in emerging countries. How do we know the behaviors and lifestyles of locals when we are based in Taipei? What are the different cultures and trends we must be conscious of before entering a new market?

Through this article, you will learn:

  1. What we do. 
  2. Things to think about before entering into a new market. (We take Indonesia as an example in this article.)
What do we do?

The research team from Mozilla Taipei is the scout team that reached out to end users and experts in various countries. We search for behavior insights and user pain points, and, more importantly, we send context data back to the teams for product development and communication.



Mozilla researchers collaborate actively with stakeholders. User insights and stories enable the product and business development teams to search for potential opportunities and make product decisions. Product feedback helps the marketing team shape the message/language of the brand to get closer to local culture. We also work on qualitative research with the quantitative team to get a clearer picture of the market. 



Last but not least, we work with community members. We have global communities in Mozilla, a group of Mozilla enthusiasts (volunteers) who donate their time and efforts to make the Internet better. They provide a lot of support whenever we conduct local surveys or have questions. They also assist us with reporting bugs and defects after the product is developed, to help us enhance the product.

Things to think about before entering into a new market

Let’s take Indonesia as an example. Here is a quick background introduction. Indonesia has the largest population in Southeast Asia ( the fourth largest population in the world) [1] and 87% [2] of Indonesians are Muslim. Indonesians have spent more time online than the world average, which is eight hours and 36 minutes [3].
Based on our study and the insights we collected in Indonesia, here are four things you need to know about Indonesian users.

a. Religion & Culture
Religious activities are the first priority in their daily lives.

How many of you have religious applications on your phone? Have you ever met someone who does? In Indonesia, the majority of the population is Muslim and Indonesian daily life is also tied to religion. We found that many people have multiple religious applications on their phone although they only have small storage spaces. This brings up an interesting question: How can we provide content that will not exacerbate the problem of storage scarcity?


Family and community-centered living styles are important.

Indonesia has a family-centric culture; family and friends are very tightly bonded. It’s hard to reject the requests of close friends and family, but as mobile phones become cheaper, phones are transitioning from family assets to personal assets that contradict the value of community.

This photo is a teenager who works at a hot dog stand. He explains where he found this 1-megabyte application to use as a screensaver, intended to scare friends and family who access his phone without permission. Can you imagine having to do so to protect your privacy? Digital security for this young man is real, and the benefit is something he can feel.


Indonesians seldom access forbidden content.

In general, the culture in Indonesia is very conservative. The culture encourages people to follow the rules, not break the laws, and this is also shown by their digital behaviors. From our backend data, we saw that people barely used private mode or the VPN (Virtual Private Network) until the May 2019 presidential election period when a few social media functions were blocked. 

Many people tried to communicate with friends and family through social media, using any free tool they could find to break the blocks of social media. They found a free VPN. And of course, they don't even know what the three words ”VPN” stand for. They just know that it's the key to open the door. But as a result, many of the free VPNs stole their data, which led to crimes and fraud. We have learned how powerful and connected social media is, and we have also found people with strong motivation to commit micro-rebellions that were not encouraged by social societies. 




b. Economic Condition

Indonesians have a top-up mindset

Indonesian users have relatively little disposable income. They prefer to buy a small number of goods and services even if they have to pay more in the long run. We call it a top-up mindset. The mindset affects both their online and offline behaviors. They pay weekly rather than monthly when purchasing Internet data. They buy small packages while buying daily necessities. The photo below is a typical stand we took on the street in Jakarta. All the shampoo, snacks, and coffee are sold in small amounts. So if you want to provide services, especially subscription services, in Indonesia, try to make your product as affordable and minimal as possible.



Indonesians like to save a little and earn a little.

Indonesian users are very price-sensitive, they use online services to save money and earn money. They collect coupons and buy products based on where better deals are available to save money, even if the amount of the difference is small. For example, one participant installed an e-commerce app to get an in-app-only discount. He deleted the app after using it. 

To earn money, Indonesian users are very patient in collecting reward points that can be exchanged for goods or cash back. E-payment is almost everywhere in Jakarta, and people prefer to use e-payment to get extra cash back. It’s good to think about how to leverage the Save Little and Earn Little mindset to deepen users’ engagement with your products.



They seek multiple income sources.

Many people in Indonesia are single-income families. They are looking for opportunities to use online services to supplement their income. We notice that because of accessibility problems, social media and networking apps are becoming tools for them to run a small business and earn extra money. However, most of them struggle over how to equip themselves with better sales skills and how to scale up their business.

There's also a privacy and security issue when transactions take place on these platforms. So, how we can enable them to run a successful business more efficiently and securely might be a topic we should think about. 



c. Phone Specification
The majority of consumers are still using lower-end devices.

How does phone specification affect users’ digital behavior? Most Indonesian users currently use low-end mobile phones. (87% of users use middle-to-low end mobile phones, according to our internal data). We notice that they manage their phone storage and memory actively, such as deleting unimportant apps, photos, and downloaded files. You may wonder why they don’t use free cloud services. It’s because “data is money” in Indonesia. Any wifi uploading or downloading of all the photos and files might cost a lot.

They have a lighter is faster mindset

Indonesians think the lighter and smaller the application, the faster it runs. Their argument is that larger size applications would take up more processing power, cost more data (more money), and slow down the mobile phone. That means they’ll choose the lighter one when given the choice between two apps with similar functions.

Apparently, many companies know this mindset and take action to create Lite edition products, such as Facebook Lite, Go to Youtube, and Firefox Lite.

Storage-saving behavior is not changing.

It takes time to change the habit. While Indonesian users upgrade their phones to better ones, they don’t change their behavior right away. They keep using the better phones as if they were low-end ones. For startups who would like to develop products/apps for the Indonesian market, size is very important to Indonesians. Please don’t overlook their sensitivity to size while improving applications.


d. Risk Management
Avoid unexpected issues.

Indonesian users are tempted to make efforts to avoid unexpected issues on their mobile phones because they fear they may not be able to handle the problems properly. What do they do? They seek to use the existing features in an app instead of trying a new one. They prefer using the current version instead of updating to the latest one to avoid any unexpected conditions.

For instance, the photo shown here was taken from one heavy user of Firefox Lite. The user keeps using the previous version that we released two years ago. He decided not to update it because he is afraid that all tabs and history may be gone after upgrading. We should think about how to give users greater confidence and security during the feature enhancement, and take this into consideration.


Follow trends to minimize risk.

One method Indonesians use to minimize risk is to follow the trend. Indonesian users believe these services or products must be safe because they are used by many people. So, we found that many people in Indonesia are using almost the same apps when they talk about social media, e-commerce, transportation, travel, and entertainment. For startups or market newbie, co-branding could be a better way to get into the market rather than starting from zero. 



Use intuitive ways to troubleshoot.

Once they face unknown issues, Indonesian users tend to apply the most intuitive strategy, close the device, or restart their phones. They don’t know how to handle the situation so they just hope the problem will be solved by itself. 

When a phone is hijacked by a fake alarm, normally Indonesian users turn off the device immediately.
(When a phone is hijacked by a fake alarm, normally Indonesian users turn off the device immediately.)

Last but not least, Mozilla Taipei will host Mozchat to share our insights and findings from time to time.
Follow us on
Twitter or Mozilla@LINE to get the latest updates.


Reference :

[1] Worldometers 2018.10

[2] The news lens

[3] The Jakarta Post: How Indonesians embrace the digital world