JAKARTA: The number of online shoppers in Indonesia grew by almost half last year, as the country continues to embrace digital channels, but new research suggests most are spending relatively little.

Data from FT Confidential Research has indicated that the country gained 11m new online shoppers in 2017, bringing the total to 35m.

Consumers are also shopping online more often, it added: in a survey of 1,000 urban consumers the proportion of those shopping at least once a month had more than doubled to 63.4%, with the greatest uplift coming in among those shopping once a month (from 21.5% in 2016 to 49.8% in 2017).

Most are spending little, however, with six in ten directing around Rp1m ($70) to e-commerce sites over a 12 month-month period. Clothing was the most popular category purchased, followed by mobile phones and accessories, and beauty products.

The same survey showed that product quality and delivery time are the things that most worry people shopping online, with around one third expressing such concerns.

Fraud and scams exercised around one fifth – and FT Confidential Research noted that JD.id, the Indonesian arm of China’s JD.com, had spent Rp215.6bn on TV ads reassuring consumers its products are genuine.

As governments across the region mull a tax on online retail outlets, FT Confidential Research was confident that Indonesia’s proposed 0.5% would not greatly affect the sector.

And it played down the fears of online retailers that the tax would push both buyers and sellers to social media platforms.

“Proper online shops offer better security, product quality control and benefits such as zero per cent interest on loans, free product delivery and, perhaps most importantly, a commerce-friendly user interface,” it said.

Sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff