SINGAPORE: More than half (51.6%) of APAC consumers use their smartphones to make purchases, but there are wide variations across the region in terms of the popularity of mobile shopping, a new survey of 14 markets has revealed.

According to the latest Mastercard Mobile Shopping Survey, India continues to be the market with the highest proportion of mobile shoppers, with three-quarters (75.8%) of consumers reporting they made at least one mobile purchase in the three months preceding the survey.

China’s mobile shoppers remain a close second (71.4%), followed by Thailand (64.9%), South Korea (60.9%), Indonesia (58.5%) and Vietnam (56.4%).

However, there are much lower scores for consumers in New Zealand (26.0%), Australia (26.1%), Japan (30.8%), Hong Kong (44.3%) and Singapore (46.4%).

And the survey also found that the Philippines (53.5%) and Malaysia (55.6%) recorded the highest year-on-year growth for m-commerce at 12.6% and 10.1% respectively.

Based on responses from more than 8,700 adults, the Mastercard survey further revealed that many consumers in the region are adopting digital wallets as a payment method, especially in India (45.5%) and China (38.2%).

Overall, around a fifth (22.3%) of consumers in the region now use digital wallets, although noticeably fewer use the technology in Japan (5.3%), New Zealand (9.7%), Thailand (12.0%) and Taiwan (12.7%).

“Consumers in many of Asia Pacific’s emerging markets are mobile-first users, having leapfrogged the traditional payment evolution,” said Benjamin Gilbey, SVP of digital payments and labs at Mastercard Asia Pacific.

“Their governments are making significant efforts to push the development of the e- and m-commerce landscape as well as its supporting infrastructure, which has in part contributed to the growth we’ve seen in the latest survey results,” he added.

Elsewhere, the study found that more than half (53.6%) of consumers across the region cite convenience as a key reason for shopping on their mobile devices.

This is a particularly strong sentiment among consumers in China (70.9%), as well as Thailand (60.8%) and Taiwan (59.2%), although consumers in Malaysia cite the ability to shop on the go as a key reason.

Mastercard also noted that preference for in-store shopping is in “steady decline” across Asia Pacific, falling from 48.6% in 2015 to 45.9% in its latest survey, with the trend particularly pronounced in India, which has seen a 10.3 percentage point decline since 2015.

Data sourced from Mastercard; additional content by WARC staff