Online retail set for boom in Asia Pacific

14 July 2010

SINGAPORE: Consumers in Asia Pacific have become the most prolific users of ecommerce in the world, a report from Nielsen, the research firm, has found.

According to figures from the company, 35% of adults in the region now devote at least 11% of their monthly expenditure to the web, compared with a global average of 27%.

This total climbed to a high of 59% in South Korea, while 41% of the panel in China also spent more than 10% of their outgoings via the internet.

"Technology and the internet will very likely fundamentally change how and where shoppers spend their money and interact with retailers," Pete Gale, managing director of Nielsen's retailer services in APIMEA and Greater China, said.

"We are already seeing a strong trend in markets like Korea, where a significant population of online shoppers buy essentials such as groceries, cosmetics and nutrition supplies over the internet."

When asked if they were planning to order goods in this fashion during the next six months, just 11% of contributors had no intention of doing so, measured against 18% internationally.

South Korea and China led the way in terms of uptake, with 96% and 95% of participants in these nations respectively saying they would use online shopping services. 

In terms of specific categories, 52% of the sample as a whole expected to obtain books through the web, falling to 44% for clothing, accessories and shoes, and 35% for airline tickets.

Some 31% of respondents said they frequently bought items from online-only retail sites, while 19% agreed they were more likely to spend money on the new media platforms run by bricks and mortar chains.

"As consumers look for more convenience and 24/7 access to products and services, this is a great opportunity for retailers to redefine their channel strategy in order to meet the changing needs and wants of consumers," Gale sugggested.

Overall, 13% of the individuals polled in APAC had never made a purchase on the web, which was lower than the corresponding score of 16% across the globe, Nielsen added.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff