KPMG: Western companies are behind on social media

09 March 2012

Western businesses have been slower at adopting social networks such as Twitter and Facebook than their rivals in developing countries, according to a report by KPMG. The conclusion is remarkable as relatively far more consumers in Western countries adopt social media and have done so at a quicker rate than consumers in developing countries. The report found firms in China, India and Brazil were 20-30% more likely to use social media than companies in developed countries such as the US, UK and the Netherlands. The results are based on a survey amongst 1,850 managers and 2,016 employees from 10 countries.

KPMG - Social Media

Social media take-up

On average, it found that 70% of companies now use social media. The survey found that 98% managers at firms in China and 95% of managers in Brazil said they use social media at least several times a week, compared with 80% of managers in the UK. Only 48% of UK companies use networks such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with suppliers, clients and customers. That compares with 72% in the US and 83% in China. However, the report found that firms in Western countries had fewer problems using the internet for social purposes compared with their rivals overseas. "The emerging markets seem to be quickly finding that social networks offer a relatively low-cost opportunity to leapfrog the competition in developed markets," said Tudor Aw, KPMG's head of technology, Europe.

One the main explanations for a higher uptake in emerging market countries is the fact that they have a lower dependence on 'legacy systems", such as email.

Usage of blocked channels

The KPMG report also found that employees banned from using these networks often use them anyway. One third of employees surveyed whose firm had blocked access used workarounds to get onto social network sites.


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