SINGAPORE: While more consumers across Asia Pacific are shopping online, security considerations remain a potential stumbling block to faster growth in the sector, according to a new survey.

The latest MasterCard Online Shopping Survey, based on an online poll of 8,738 consumers in 14 countries across the region, reported that nine in ten APAC online consumers had made an online purchase in the previous three months.

And eight in ten who had shopped online during 2016 intended to make at least one online purchase in the first half of 2017.

But only just over half of consumers in the region (53.9%) felt secure shopping online. This sentiment was most evident in India (72.1%), Indonesia (66.4%), China (63.5%), Australia (62.2%) and New Zealand (59.8%).

At the other end of the security confidence scale were consumers in Vietnam (34.0%), South Korea (34.6%), Japan (36.6%) and Hong Kong (37.4%).

The research found that that providing secure payment facilities, cited by 85.9% of respondents, was the most important factor in getting shoppers in the region to make online purchases, marginally ahead of price (85.5%) and convenience (85.1%).

Interestingly, this consideration resonated most strongly in Indonesia (95.3%), where two thirds of consumers already felt secure shopping online, although it was also prevalent in the Philippines (92.2%), Taiwan (91.5%) and Malaysia (91.2%).

Delivery of purchases was another bugbear. When asked what would help improve the online shopping experience, 62.9% of respondents wanted free or minimal delivery charges, more even than sought assurances that transactions are secure (45.9%).

"The verdict is in – consumers across Asia Pacific want enhanced security and convenience when shopping online," said Ben Gilbey, SVP/ Digital Payments & Labs, Asia Pacific, Mastercard, adding that there was a need for a "relentless focus" on developing solutions to address continuing underlying fears about the safety and security of payments.

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by WARC staff