Ecommerce sales rise in Asia

06 January 2011

SINGAPORE: Shoppers in key Asian markets like China, India and Indonesia increased their ecommerce expenditure last year, new figures show.

Financial giant Visa and research firm The Nielsen Company surveyed 3,156 regular web users from these countries - along with Malaysia, Taiwan Thailand - concerning internet spending habits during 2010.

Overall, 87% of respondents had bought products and services via this route, peaking at 98% and 97% in mainland China and Taiwan respectively.

"China in particular continues to attract attention of many ecommerce retailers because of the growing number of affluent consumers who are going online to shop," said Paul Jung, Visa's head of international ecommerce.

Elsewhere, India also delivered an above-average score on this measure, hitting 89%.

At the regional level, customers typically spent $2,086 (€1,573; £1,338) through the web in 2010, although there was a wide disparity observable across the featured nations.

Taiwan topped the charts on $4,041, considerably in front of mainland China, where this amount reached a more modest $2,557.

Malaysian consumers posted $2,006 and their Thai counterparts generated $1,763, according to the Visa/Nielsen analysis.

Indonesia recorded $1,572, slightly ahead of India, providing the lowest total on $1,547 over the 12 months assessed.

The travel category stimulated the highest outlay among netizens, who spent a median $550 to acquire airline tickets, secure accommodation and other various offerings supplied by agents.

Share trading registered $320, beating electrical appliances and white goods on $166, the $92 yielded by banking and finance, and the $75 received by the computer hardware sector.

"Going online to book airline tickets, purchase financial services or electrical appliances is growing to be as common as paying a visit to the nearest mall or supermarket," said Jung.

"In fact, many shoppers who buy online feel it's more convenient to shop on the internet than go to an actual store."

The primary reasons for buying from web retailers included the ability to conduct transactions at any time, a factor mentioned by 83% of interviewees.

Finding and comparing products easily also proved popular with 81% of the sample, the same rating as the opportunity to save money having searched between the differing prices presented by sellers.

A further 74% of those polled enjoyed obtaining items in this way as it meant they could avoid bricks-and-mortar outlets.

When asked to rate their ecommerce experiences in 2010, 76% of adults agreed payment processes were suitably easy to understand, and 72% expressed satisfaction regarding the speed of completing purchases.

Data sourced from Visa; additional content by Warc staff