Nikki Wicks
Mar 3, 2015

Online shoppers in Asia demand free shipping and flexibility

ASIA-PACIFIC - Free shipping is one of the most important factors for online shoppers in Asia, and many are willing to make extra purchases to qualify, according to a new study.

Free shipping scores highly for Asia's online shopper needs
Free shipping scores highly for Asia's online shopper needs

The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study, released today, found that 92 per cent of shoppers in Asian markets will take action to quality for free shipping when shopping online. Placing additional items in the cart is the most common behaviour, with 47 per cent of consumers stating they have done so. In Japan, 83 per cent of online shoppers rate free shipping as the most important factor, more than consumers in other countries surveyed.

The Asia study by global logistics and transportation firm UPS and analytics company Comscore, forms part of a global survey that examined emerging trends in APAC, Brazil, Mexico, Europe and the United States. Over 5,200 online shoppers were surveyed in five Asian markets: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Singapore. 

Overall, the key findings saw a demand for flexibility when shopping online. Key takeaways included:

  • Online shoppers want alternative delivery locations and payment options
  • Mobile is a catalyst to omnichannel shopping and retailers should address limitations; and
  • Free shipping is still important along with a greater emphasis on returns.

The Asian part of the study found that free shipping also played another role in online shopping behaviours. Consumers said they were willing to make trade-offs in the hope of saving money, with 82 per cent of shoppers prepared to wait an additional two days or more for their packages to arrive to receive free shipping.

Globally, Asia leads all markets in the growing trend for a demand in alternate delivery location, with 45 per cent of respondents stating they prefer to have their online orders delivered to locations other than their home. In Singapore, the most popular alternate delivery location is a local retail store. This trend has seen UPS recently form a partnership with 7-Eleven to provide alternative delivery locations for online shoppers.

“Singapore has experienced tremendous e-commerce growth in the past four years, and it is projected the industry will reach US$3.45 billion in 2015,” said Ingrid Sidiadinoto, managing director, UPS Singapore. “To help our retail customers compete more effectively and capitalise on market opportunities, UPS continually looks into enhancing our portfolio of services." 

Despite the growing usage of mobile devices in consumer's path to purchase, the survey found that shoppers prefer viewing a retailer’s full website on a tablet—a signal to retailers that perhaps the mobile customer experience is still not up to the quality of a full website.

“The inability to zoom in on photos on a mobile website or app may also lead to consumer preference for the full website,” the research stated. “This preference is highest among Japan consumers (66 per cent) and lowest among consumers in Hong Kong (42 per cent).


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