Culture key to ecommerce trends

27 April 2012

LONDON: Internet shopping habits are subject to significant cultural differences around the world, payment processing firm WorldPay has said.

The company's new Global Online Shopper Report, which polled web users in 15 nations on their e-commerce behaviour, revealed wide national variations in online spending patterns.

Generally, spending rates were consistently higher in the emerging world, with the typical Indian respondent allocating 36% of their disposable income to online goods and services. This total dropped to 31% in China and 27% in Brazil, with the UK the top-ranked mature market on 25%.

But continental Europe generally saw the lowest rates of online spending, with Finns allocating 13%, Spain 17% and France 19%. The global average across all 15 markets was 22%.

Elsewhere in the report, WorldPay detected a significant trend towards media fragmentation, with shoppers increasingly willing to make purchases via mobile devices as well as laptops and PCs.

Across all markets, 19% of shoppers have now used a smartphone to shop online – a total that rises to 55% among "heavy spenders" who spend more than 30% of disposable income online.

Cultural variations also had a significant bearing on media platform choice. China was the nation with the highest proportion of users making purchases with smartphones, on 46% of the total, while France was bottom of these rankings on 7%.

Philip McGriskin, chief product officer of WorldPay, said: "The way shoppers engage with mobile devices is evolving and driving the future of eCommerce as consumers look to purchase through apps, mobile websites and using their device on the move.

"This increased mobility is expanding the audience of potential consumers for merchants to target but, in tandem, presents challenges in offering the best experience for these consumers whenever and wherever they demand it."

The WorldPay report also found that, despite cultural differences in shopping habits, the e-commerce sector is also becoming increasingly globalised.

Cross-border shopping is a growing trend, with almost half (44%) of consumers having made a purchase from an online vendor that is based overseas. Australians were found to be most open to the these transactions, with 76% of consumers willing to make a purchase of this kind.

Data sourced from WorldPay; additional content by Warc staff