ASIA: Asian countries lead the world in terms of smartphone usage and m-commerce and are also more open than other regions to the idea of shopping via wearable devices a new study has found.

The 2016 Connected Commerce report from digital agency DigitasLBi, polled 1,000 people in each of 15 countries, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India in Asia. This highlighted the global trend for smartphones to become increasingly important during all stages of the customer journey.

The first source of information is now retailer websites or apps, and the report surmised that these were used rather than brand sites as they also offer the opportunity to read other users' opinions – something that Asian consumers especially seek out before purchase.

Almost all online shoppers in China (95%) look for a second opinion before committing themselves to buying, and this behaviour is also prevalent in Hong Kong (89%), India (89%) and Singapore (88%).

And much of this activity is taking place mobile phones: more than 95% of Singaporeans surveyed had made a mobile purchase, followed by India, Hong Kong and China. And all were well ahead of Western countries, where US consumers – at around 75% – were most likely to have used a smartphone to buy online.

Asia is similarly ahead of the field in the desire to use wearable devices to shop: 48% Chinese and Indian shoppers surveyed would do so, followed by 46% of those in Hong Kong; Singaporeans (38%) were least enthusiastic.

There was a mixed picture in the rest of the world, ranging from a high of 42% in Spain to a low of 11% in the Netherlands.

"Shopping is said to be a sport in many parts of Asia, and looking at the data from Connected Commerce 2016 it appears to be true," said Justin Peyton, chief strategy officer for APAC at DigitasLBi, as he described consumers in APAC markets as being among the most active online buyers anywhere in the world.

"Regardless of location, they stay connected through phones looking for the right deals," he told Campaign Asia Pacific.

"It highlights a real opportunity for brands to support the decision making process with the right information or access to the right reviews regardless of channel and location," he added.

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