2019 Year in Search Indonesia – Insights for brands

Veronica Utami, Muriel Makarim / November 2019

Indonesia has the fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia.1 As digital begins to play an increasingly important role in the consumer journey, our annual Year in Search report explores what Indonesians look for when they turn to Search along their paths to purchase. By diving into online consumer behavior across verticals, we discovered what truly matters to Indonesians and identified opportunities for businesses.

See an excerpt of the five emerging trends below, and download our 2019 Year in Search Indonesia report to get detailed insights into what consumers are looking for across Indonesia’s booming Auto, Food and Beverage, Media and Entertainment, Beauty, Shopping, and Travel verticals (the report is also available for download in Bahasa Indonesia at the bottom).

1. E-money is spurring digital transactions

Unbanked and cosmopolitan Indonesians alike are embracing e-money as a convenient and practical option. Searches for “digital wallet” have seen 2.7X growth in 2019 year on year (YOY), with the keywords “dompet digital terbaik” (best digital wallet) growing in popularity.2

Uncoincidentally, this spike comes at a time when the government is integrating cashless payments in various areas like public transportation. Another boost on this trend comes from brands offering incentives to consumers through deals and promotions.

2. Non-metros are fueling online shopping growth

Non-metros are expected to see double the gross merchandise value growth compared to metros by 2025, and this is indicated by the increase in searches across some categories.3

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And as non-metro consumers increasingly purchase locally unavailable products on e-commerce sites or buy flight tickets through online travel agency sites instead of going to travel agencies, they represent a large growth opportunity for businesses.

3. Indonesians are turning to digital for TV content

YouTube is increasingly the go-to for content that is typically watched on TV. From 2018 to 2019, we saw a 1.2X growth in YouTube searches for “sinetron” (soap opera) and a 2X growth for news.7


As consumers begin to branch out in their use of media, marketers can meet them on more than one channel. By telling a cohesive story with integrated, customized campaigns across both YouTube and TV, brands can have up to 67% higher return on investment than non-integrated campaigns.

4. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated

Consumers are looking for more personalized, value-add features across all brands — from auto (1.6X growth in the search term "keyless") to travel (1.4X growth in the search term "lounge" in connection to airport searches).9

This doesn’t necessarily mean consumers want finer things — they’re looking for beneficial products that will make their lives more convenient.

5. Consumers care about sustainability

Consumers are increasingly conscious about the environment. For example, we’ve seen 3X YOY growth in searches for “sedotan stainless” (stainless steel straws).10

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On par with this trend, brands across Indonesia are aligning their messaging to what matters to consumers. According to Ethan Lim, VP of marketing at Danone Indonesia, the company has focused on protecting water resources and optimizing packaging.

e-Conomy SEA 2019: Swipe up and to the right: Southeast Asia’s $100 billion internet economy