Evolving technology has been transforming the global retail landscape and the way consumers are shopping in the past decade. GfK’s latest FutureBuy report reveals a continuing surge in online shopping across most of the tracked product categories, with 63 per cent of consumers agreeing that their mobile device is becoming their most important shopping tool.
In the latest GfK FutureBuy study, 11,000 online interviews were conducted in July 2018 across 11 Asia Pacific markets to understand consumers’ shopping habits and behaviours across 18 product categories ranging from packaged food and beverages and apparel to home appliances and wearables, and beauty and personal care.
In the region, apparel, toys and wearables remain the top three most popular products purchased online—over 50 per cent of consumers made online purchases in these categories in the past six months. The 2018 FutureBuy report also revealed frequency of online purchases in APAC trending upwards from a year ago for majority of the categories tracked, led by the beauty and personal care, toys and baby care categories.
“Online shopping is growing rapidly at a global level as increasing number of consumers are realizing and appreciating the many advantages it offers. Largely driven by the deepening internet penetration rate across countries, the appeals of purchasing online boil down to lower prices, convenience and the availability of greater options,” highlighted Karthik Venkatakrishnan, Consumer Insights Lead for APAC at GfK.
When it comes to their choice of device to use for internet shopping, over a third of APAC consumers said they prefer to shop on smartphones, and this rising trend is seen particularly in China (45 per cent), India (42 per cent) and Indonesia (39 per cent). In Singapore, one in three (33 per cent) agreed with the statement.
However, the FutureBuy study revealed significant difference in the type of product categories purchased using the different devices. For instance, while fast moving consumer goods are mainly bought through smartphones, larger items like laptops and appliances tend to be purchased on PCs.
Making payments via mobile phones continues to be a popular option with APAC consumers—when shopping online, as well as at the physical store. Over half (54 per cent) of the region’s consumers agreed that they prefer to use this mode of payment when transacting online, and slightly more (55 per cent) said the same for transactions in the physical store. In Singapore, consumers who agreed that they prefer to pay with their mobile phones online, and in physical stores stood at 42 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, across the region, mobile payment usage has also spiked 30 per cent over last year, mainly contributed by the millennials.
“Although cash remains king for now, making up 41 per cent of all of APAC consumers’ transactions, using cash as a payment method has declined 5 per cent compared to a year ago, and we foresee a persistent downtrend in the coming years,” observed Mr Venkatakrishnan.
“On the other hand, the usage of mobile payments and online wallet will continue to pick up over time as consumers’ become increasingly comfortable and confident with this method, and ease up on their concerns towards personal information and security associated with credit cards,” he concluded.