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Online shopping is continuing to grow

Zafar Anjum | Oct. 22, 2012
Online shopping drives bricks-and-clicks purchases, according to a research study by Visa.

People are buying more stuff online no matter where they are and despite differing levels of digital development across countries, announced Visa, the online payments solution provider on 22 October.

The Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012 , a recent study conducted by Visa in collaboration with TNS, found that nine out of 10 people surveyed have made an online purchase in the past year.

The study covered 8,000 consumers in eight countries across Asia Pacific, Central Europe and Africa.

According to the study, online shopping is expected to continue to grow, with 92 percent of respondents indicating that they are likely to make purchases via the Internet in the next year. Also, 98 percent of respondents say they have browsed online for products or services in the past year prior to purchase. Physical books, CDs, DVDs, fashion and groceries are listed as the top three most browsed and transacted product categories in the past year, said the company in a statement.

"In today's highly-connected world, online browsing has become an essential part of the overall shopping experience," said Paul Jung, Visa's head of eCommerce Solutions for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. "Despite the 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. With this trend sustaining momentum in the next year, there is an opportunity for merchants to enhance the online shopping experience for customers to drive both online and offline purchases."

Mobile devices fuelling online shopping

One key factor behind the flourishing of online shopping is the availability of new and varied Internet access devices. Four in 10 consumers say they have browsed online for products or services via a mobile phone or tablet device in the last year. In countries with higher mobile phone and tablet penetration, the trend is shifting towards device-based purchases. Browsing on mobile phones exceeded 40 percent in South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Hong Kong in particular saw 13 percent of online purchases on mobile phones and 11 percent on tablets.

The second factor is the improved consumer perception of online security. In countries with mature online shopping environments such as Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore, this perception is held by an average of seven out of 10 respondents. Top reasons cited as contributing to more secure online transactions include online payment security features such as Verified by Visa and security around personal and financial information upheld by financial institutions and online merchants, said the company in its statement.

Also, credit cards were cited as the top method for online payments by 67 percent of respondents with 61 percent using a credit card for the last three online transactions. Only 19 percent of respondents said they used debit cards. According to Visa's study, consumers tend to continue to use debit cards once they start, as they recognise the benefit of expense management.


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