SINGAPORE: Smartphones and tablets are exerting an increasingly strong influence on purchase habits in Asia and beyond, new figures show.

Visa, the financial services provider, and TNS, the research firm, polled 8,000 web users in Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.

Overall, it was discovered that 40% of respondents had viewed product information on the internet through smartphones and tablets during 2012.

Scores on this measure actually surpassed the 40% benchmark in each of Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, according to the report.

Paul Jung, Visa's head of ecommerce solutions for Asia, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, argued that the benefits offered by such gadgets means their influence will only rise going forward.

"The prevalence of smartphones and tablets translates to easier online access for consumers to retailers anytime, anywhere, and we expect to see more people browsing and shopping on-the-go as a result," he said, as reported by Campaign Asia.

In terms of mcommerce, Hong Kong was especially advanced, as 13% of digital purchases were attributable to mobile phones, and a further 11% to devices like the iPad and Kindle Fire.

When considering ecommerce as a whole, a 92% majority of contributors predicted they would buy products via the internet in 2013, with 90% having done so in 2012.

Among this group of shoppers, fully 98% had perused information about goods and services on the web prior to purchase.

The entertainment category led the charts when discussing the products which participants looked up in this way, as CDs and DVDs attracted the most interest. Fashion and groceries followed next.

"Despite varying levels of internet use and connectivity across the world, we've found that online browsing is a common activity among all consumers – be it for online or offline purchases," said Jung.

Credit cards proved to be the favoured method of payment for 67% of interviewees, ahead of debit cards on 19%, the study added.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff