Byravee Iyer
Oct 22, 2012

Tablets and smartphones drive e-Commerce in Asia: Visa

SINGAPORE - The growth of smartphones and tablets, along with an improved perception of security is leading the internet to play a significantly bigger role in consumption across Asia, according to a recent study published by Visa.

Improved security perception is leading consumers to purchase online, according to Visa
Improved security perception is leading consumers to purchase online, according to Visa

In economies where smartphone and tablet penetration are high, consumers are already showing a tendency of picking up products through their phones or tablets. Of the 8,000 consumers surveyed, four in ten said they browsed products on their phones or tablet device last year. In fact, browsing on mobile phones exceeded 40 per cent in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Hong Kong saw 13 per cent of its online purchases on mobile phones and 11 per cent on tablets.

“The prevalence of smartphones and tablets translates to easier online access for consumers to retailers anytime, anywhere, and we expect to see more people browsing and shopping on-the-go as a result,” said Paul Jung, Visa’s head of e-Commerce solutions for Asia, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He attributed this trend to an improved perception of payment security. In fact, seven out of 10 respondents in mature shopping markets like Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore connected their purchases to better security systems.

The survey revealed that 9 out of 10 people said they had shopped online in the past year while 98 per cent browsed online for products and services before making a purchase.

Physical books, CDs, DVDs, fashion and groceries were listed as the top three most browsed and transacted product categories in 2012. Looking ahead, 92 per cent of consumers surveyed said they would make an online purchase in 2013.

“Despite varying levels of internet use and connectivity across the world, we’ve found that online browsing is a common activity among all consumers – be it for online or offline purchases,” said Paul Jung, Visa’s head of ecommerce solutions for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Unsurprisingly, credit cards were cited as the top method for payments by 67 per cent of respondents. Debit cards remain a secondary option with just 19 per cent opting for the service.

The e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research was conducted by TNS from March to June 2012 across Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Russia, Philippines and South Africa. The company said the respondents were people who access the internet at least once a week, selected based on age, gender and annual household income.

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