Asians increasingly use phones for online shopping: poll

Economy April 04, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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Asia's appetite for online shopping has shifted from the PC to the smart phone with more than half of Indonesian and Thai consumers using their mobile phone to shop, according to the latest MasterCard survey.


China leads the region with the greatest propensity to conduct online shopping (102 index points), ahead of New Zealand (87), Australia (85), Singapore (84) and South Korea (82). China’s score was up 4 points from last year.
Driving these shifts in behaviours in China is increased confidence in shopping. Only 21.4 per cent felt a lack of security while shopping online, down from 32.8 per cent in 2011 and 35.3 per cent in 2010. There is also an emerging view that shopping online is “easy” among 89.5 per cent of the Chinese respondents, an increase from 80.8 per cent in 2011. 
About 68 per cent of New Zealand respondents use the Internet for online shopping, among other activities, and 82.3 per cent shopped online in the past three months.
Singapore and Hong Kong, Asia’s premier shopping hubs, recorded the biggest increases in online shopping behaviour with both markets registering a 9-point increase last year. 
There was a notable increase in smart phone shopping. Indonesians top the region with 54.5 per cent using their smart phones to shop in the last three months. China follows closely with 54.1 per cent and Thailand with 51 per cent. 
One in five of Asia-Pacific shoppers purchased a fashion item using their mobile phone in the past three months. Australians (32.4 per cent), Koreans (28.8 per cent) and Singaporeans (28.5 per cent) have bought something “fashionable” online through their smartphones. 
Across all 14 Asia-Pacific markets, mobile banking apps had the highest awareness-familiarity levels at 45 per cent, followed by in-social-networking-app shopping (34 per cent), in-game-app shopping (33 per cent) and SMS/MMS-based payments (31 per cent).
As for mobile NFC (near field communication), 25 per cent of the respondents reported being aware or familiar with the technology. 
Topping the list of categories of interest are coupon/deal sites, which interested close to 40 per cent of the respondents across the 14 markets surveyed. These types of sites are particularly strong in China (70 per cent), Hong Kong (54 per cent), Vietnam (51 per cent), South Korea (50 per cent) and Singapore (47 per cent). 
Some 36 per cent of consumers are also interested in music downloads, of which Thais (45 per cent), Filipinos (44 per cent) and Indians (45 per cent) are quite attuned with music downloads. 
Fashion-related items are also of interest with 35 per cent indicating interest in this category. These items, however, elicit stronger interest among Chinese (54 per cent), Thais (43 per cent), South Koreans (43 per cent), New Zealanders (40 per cent) and Australians (40 per cent).
The MasterCard Online Shopping Survey, which serves as a benchmark for consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted across 25 markets from November-December. The report for the Asia-Pacific region includes interviews with 7,011 respondents from 14 markets who were asked questions about their online shopping habits.