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Women drive Asian online shopping

News, 18 December 2014

GUANGZHOU: Almost half (49%) of Asian women, including 69% of mainland Chinese, agree or strongly agree that they prefer the experience of shopping online than in a physical store, according to a survey of five key regional markets.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Vipshop, a Chinese online discount retailer for brands, questioned 5,500 female shoppers in Greater China, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

Their joint report discovered that nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents browse the internet at least once a day for goods and services, and their favourite purchases are clothes and accessories (nearly 90%), cosmetics (83%) and groceries (almost 80%).

They are motivated mostly by price (62%) and time-saving (60%), but also feel they can rely on e-retailers to have the products they want to buy (59%) and they appreciate the range of choice that online shopping can offer (56%).

In addition, they regard quality (83%), price (83%), genuine products (82%) and convenience (77%) as the top four factors that determine their choice of retailer.

While clothing and cosmetics as leading purchases may not come as much of a surprise, the survey also showed that Asian women are important decision-makers for other categories, such as electronics and travel services.

"Women are controlling spending in a variety of categories where you would expect them to, such as clothing and accessories, cosmetics and groceries," said Laurel West, EIU's director for Asia.

"But they also have an increasing influence in bigger ticket items such as electronics," she added. "Many brands are realising this and making efforts to better understand what is important to female consumers."

Interestingly, the report also found that a majority of Asian women (62%) are buying for themselves most of the time when online – and this rises to three-quarters (74%) of mainland Chinese.

This finding prompted the report to state: "At least on the internet, many Asian women do not seem to be living up to the stereotype of selfless, family-focused individuals."

However, in terms of brand communications, the report found over half (54%) still respond positively to messages that address them as mothers, wives or girlfriends.

Data sourced from Vipshop, EIU, Yahoo Finance; additional content by Warc staff