SINGAPORE: E-commerce in the Asia-Pacific region is booming, with 71% of consumers making online purchases, yet a new report has found that one-in-five have already fallen victim to online fraud.

That is according to global IT firm Experian, whose Digital Consumer Insights 2018 report was co-produced with International Data Corporation, the IT insights company.

Based on a consumer survey across ten APAC markets – Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – the study explores how well businesses mitigate fraud risk through the eyes of their customers.

It found that as brands and consumers look for ever-easier ways to buy and sell products online and via mobile devices – with electronics, travel and groceries being the most popular segments – the opportunity for online fraud is growing, BW World reported.

“Asia-Pacific is one of the most dynamic digital and mobile economies in the world. Seventy-one percent are buying online, and 63%, who have adopted mobile payments, consider them convenient,” said Ben Elliott, CEO of Experian Asia Pacific.

“But, as more people adopt faster and more effortless ways to shop, bank and engage with businesses, fraud exposure will increase. This is a concern with 18% of consumers in the region already experiencing fraud,” he added.

On top of the finding that one-in-five APAC consumers have already experienced online fraud, the survey revealed that around half of consumers (51%) would switch service providers in the event of fraud.

Experian said this proved that consumers are willing to trade convenience and a better customer experience in return for better protection against fraud.

However, there are significant differences between mature and emerging markets in terms of risk awareness and trust. “We notice that in more mature economies like Hong Kong and Singapore, consumers are largely more aware of fraud risks and act in a more conservative manner,” said Elliott.

“This means they may sometimes avoid transacting online should they perceive a potential fraud risk. This is in contrast to emerging economies like Vietnam, where consumers are less fraud aware and more convenience driven,” he added.

Consumers in mature markets also appear to be more ambivalent about adopting certain counter-measures, such as biometrics, with just 9% of Australians and 8% of New Zealand and Japanese consumers willing to do so compared with 21% of Indians and 18% of Chinese and Vietnamese consumers.

That said, the report also found that a significant 57% of APAC consumers are said to be comfortable with biometrics when it comes to dealing with government or non-commercial applications.

Sourced from Experian, IDC, BW World; additional content by WARC staff