SINGAPORE: Internet users in China are more likely to shop online than their counterparts elsewhere in Asia Pacific, a survey has revealed.

For the MasterCard Online Shopping Survey, some 7,011 people were interviewed in 14 markets across the Asia Pacific region to establish their online shopping habits. China led the charts overall, registering a score of 102 on MasterCard's Index for 2012, up four points from the previous year.

Among the factors driving this shift in behaviour are increased confidence and less worry about security – just 21.4% of Chinese respondents felt shopping online was not secure, a significant reduction from 32.8% in 2011 – as well as the growing sense that online shopping is easy and convenient.

"With the exception of a few markets, online shoppers are becoming more confident about using their phones to shop and I'd expect that trend to continue as more sophisticated technologies come onto the market and more products are offered online," said Porush Singh, a senior vice president at MasterCard.

China was a long way ahead of the rest of the region in terms of online shopping propensity, its score being 15 points ahead of the second placed country New Zealand on 87.

Australia was the third-ranked nation, on 85 points, while Singapore scored 84 points and South Korea 82 points.

The biggest increases in sentiment from 2011 were recorded by Singapore and Hong Kong, both leading shopping hubs, with each recording a nine point year-on-year increase in 2012.

But four countries saw a net decrease, with Thailand dropping from 88 points to 80, South Korea from 82 to 82, India from 81 to 78 and Malaysia from 79 to 71.

MasterCard's survey also revealed a notable increase in shopping via smartphones. Indonesians topped the region with more than half of respondents (54.5%) having used their smartphones to shop in the last three months. China followed closely with 54.1%.

Those least likely to shop online via their mobile phones were respondents from New Zealand (18.2%), Australia (18.7%) and the Philippines (21.4%).

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by Warc staff