SINGAPORE/LONDON: Nearly half (48%) of mobile users make regular purchases online while a fifth browse products online before buying in stores, according to a new global survey which also shows the APAC region is leading the way for mobile.

Taken together, more than 70% of mobile consumers shop online, said mobile advertising network BuzzCity, which worked with the Mobile Marketing Association to question 3,590 consumers in 26 countries, including 11 in Asia-Pacific.

It found a third (32%) of APAC consumers shop with their mobiles compared to a fifth (21%) with PCs while another third (30%) of those surveyed said they would consider using their mobiles for shopping.

Malaysia has the highest number of mobile shoppers, at 42% of the population, compared to 39% in Sri Lanka, 35% in the Philippines, 32% in India, and 28% in Indonesia, The Star Online reported.

But there's a similar pattern in Thailand where 1-in-4 use their mobiles to make purchases and 29% use their devices in-store for research purposes.

Wararin Phoonuch-Aphai, BuzzCity's manager for Thailand, told Mobile Commerce Press that she expected advertisers to increase their digital presence to connect with shoppers as smartphone penetration in the country grows from its current 60% level.

Returning to its global findings, BuzzCity warned that more consumers are leaving physical stores without making a purchase.

It found 22% leave stores for a better deal online compared to 13% in 2013 while another 27% reported they could not find what they wanted in stores compared to last year's figure of 14%.

With fewer shoppers engaging directly with shop assistants, Dr KF Lai, CEO and founder of BuzzCity, warned retailers that "mobile first shouldn't mean mobile only".

"Consumers are changing the way they chose their purchases – it has become more complex and will continue to evolve," he said.

"The survey highlights mobile's potential to undermine traditional brand power and the imperative for marketers to maintain the relevance of their message across all digital media," he added.

Data sourced from BuzzCity, The Star Online, Mobile Commerce Press; additional content by Warc