Taiwan’s Digital Marketing Trends and Business Landscape

Before launching any kind of digital market strategy, it’s crucial to understand the economic background of the country and what kind of market the strategy will be engaging with. In Taiwan, economic indicators highlight a growing economy and one that has experienced high levels of development in the last decade.

The Taiwanese gross domestic product (GDP) currently sits at $605 billion, growing from $589.9 billion in the previous year, and from $446 billion a decade ago. While many economies the world over have been damaged by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 in 2020, Taiwan appears to be one of the exceptions.

Source: https://www.doingbusiness.org/en/data/exploreeconomies/taiwan-china

Taiwan’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis appears to be stronger than most. The East Asian island state was able to implement controls and policies that spared it from the brunt of the pandemic – even as COVID-19 ravaged communities and shattered economies in nations nearby.

While the virus brought panic and tragedy to Taiwan’s shores and resulted in the deaths of seven citizens, local medical centers report a total of 545 recovered patients as of November 2020, out of a total case number of only 609. Economically, Taiwan has proved similarly resilient, with around 23% of surveyed employers saying that they plan to expand their workforces through the 4th quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, unemployment figures have only increased by 0.1% during this time.

This makes Taiwan a very interesting proposition for digital marketers. Not only has the field of digital marketing proved to be a hardy one in terms of its response to COVID-19, but also this inherent positivity is augmented further by the nature of Taiwan’s economy. This could make Taiwan a relatively safe option for business expansion during a time of widespread uncertainty.

A brief rundown of the advantages of digital marketing in Taiwan

  • A strong and growing economy
  • Apparent swift recovery from the ravages of COVID-19
  • High levels of digital literacy among Taiwan’s population
  • A growing eCommerce market, allowing easy access for foreign investors (Taiwan enjoys the highest rates of eCommerce engagement in Asia at 65.2% of the population and an average consumer spend of $866 in 2018.)

Some of the disadvantages of digital marketing in Taiwan

  • Trade sanctions are imposed by the neighboring People’s Republic of China (PRC), which may harm businesses who want to trade in both markets. (Despite this, the PRC remains the biggest source of purchases from Taiwanese customers.)
  • Recent amendments to tax regulation have made it more expensive for foreign-owned businesses to operate in the Taiwanese market. For example, foreign providers with a Taiwan-derived revenue of above $15,412 are now required to file tax returns every two months and to pay VAT at 5%.
  • Additional taxes have been applied to importers of international goods, which may make transactions more expensive.
  • Taiwan does not enjoy full recognition as a nation-state, which may impact the rights of international traders in the future.

Developing a Digital Strategy in Taiwan

Digital marketers need to know which channels to target. Just like in any other market, Taiwan covers a diverse range of consumers across a broad variety of channels. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key channels marketers need to be aware of.

As mentioned above, the Taiwanese people are highly digital literate and enjoy a 92.8% penetration rate in terms of internet usage, the fourth-highest rate of usage in Asia. In addition to this, 81% of Taiwanese people were using a smartphone as of January 2019. Tablet devices and wearable tech still lag behind, achieving only 29% and 6% penetration, respectively. However, these figures are growing.

Laptop and desktop computers are widely used in Taiwan, and 67% of the population uses one or more of these devices. This means that an effective digital marketing strategy for Taiwan must not only be highly mobile-focused but also retain laptop and desktop aspects.

However, even laptop, desktop, or mobile-specific digital marketing campaigns are not homogenous. Instead, they must be geared towards the right operating system to catch the maximum market share.

Source: https://www.slideshare.net/DataReportal/digital-2019-taiwan-january-2019-v01

  • Across all devices, Windows enjoys the largest market share at 35.78%.
  • Android and iOS are close behind in second and third, with 28.44% and 26.5% of the market, respectively.
  • OS X and Linux achieved 6.55% and 0.86% market share, respectively.
  • 1.39% of the market is taken up by operating systems of an unknown source.

On mobile, however, it is a slightly different story.

  • Android is the most popular mobile operating system in Taiwan, with over half of the market share (53.63%).
  • iOS is second on the list with 45.54%.
  • 0.02% of mobile devices featured unknown operating systems.

Government Policies Affecting Digital Strategies

The Taiwanese government takes a keen interest in the development of their digital economy. As such, government policy can have a significant impact on marketing endeavors in Taiwan.

  • The aforementioned VAT regulations have made it slightly more expensive and complex for foreign organizations to enter the market.
  • As of 2019, the government has introduced the cloud government uniform invoice, or Cloud GUI, to make the process more straightforward.
  • Despite increases in VAT-related costs, this could have a positive impact as it stimulates market activity by removing the VAT burden on the consumer.
  • The tax-exempt threshold on imports was reduced in 2018 to $64.22 (down from $96.33).
  • Other government policies are directly supporting the digital economy, such as rolling out free Wi-Fi across 4,400 hotspot connections nationwide.

The Digital Experience in Taiwan

Social networking sites (SNS) have a significant impact on Taiwanese culture and society. As such, they also have a great impact on commercial trends and buying habits. The growth of social media seems to have slowed, and the figure has remained unchanged between April 2019 and 2020. However, penetration remains high, and around 88% of Taiwanese people are social media users, totaling 21 million individuals..

  • Facebook is by far the most widely used platform, with 77.74% of the market share.
  • Interestingly, Pinterest is second with 9.15%.
  • Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram lag behind the leaders, with 5.64%, 5.57%, and 1.26%, respectively.
  • This demonstrates that a slightly different social media approach might be required for digital marketing success in Taiwan compared to the US.

Taiwan’s mobile browser market share is a little less one-sided:

  • Chrome leads the way with 51.65% of the market share, followed by Safari with 39.58%.
  • No other browsers come close to this. Only Samsung Internet (7.2%) achieves more than 2% of the market share.
  • Opera, Firefox, and UC achieve 1.04%, 0.17%, and 0.14%, respectively.

In terms of search engines, the landscape is similar to that in the US:

  • Google sits in first place with 93.22% of the market share.
  • Yahoo is in second with 5.6%, while Bing picks up 1.1% in third.
  • No other search engines achieved 0.1%, with Baidu, MSN, and Ecosia all achieving 0.03% or less.

Digital Advertising in Taiwan

Despite the recent stagnation in terms of social media user numbers, active user figures are expected to increase by 2023. This is reflected in increases in social media advertising spend. Social media advertising continues to grow its share of the broader online advertising market, with a CAGR of just under 18%.

The advertising landscape is also growing more diverse, as technologies such as programmatic advertisements take over the space. This is being supported by increasingly effective targeting strategies, as digital marketers gain a better understanding of the needs of their customers.

Reach Out to the Principle Team to Discover More About Digital Marketing in Taiwan

To learn more about digital marketing and advertising with social media in Taiwan, contact us at Principle.

About Principle

Principle helps businesses of all sizes make better decisions through data. For the better part of a decade, we have helped global brands and Fortune 500 companies turn data into intelligence and actionable insights they can use in digital marketing.

Our team of 100 employees includes experts across Analytics, Paid Marketing, SEO, and Data Visualization. We offer actionable and measurable data analytics strategies, SEO, and campaign management services that deliver the digital transformation your business needs to outperform the competition.

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To learn more about digital marketing and advertising in Japan or elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, feel free to contact us at Principle.

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