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Emerging markets lead mcommerce growth in APAC: Survey

Mobile shopping growth is dialing up in Asia Pacific’s emerging markets, outpacing their more developed counterparts, according to the latest Mastercard Mobile Shopping Survey. Consumers in the Philippines (53.5 per cent) and Malaysia (55.6 per cent) top the region with the highest year-on-year growth in mobile shopping, recording increases of 12.6 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, consumers in India (75.8 per cent) retain their crown as the region’s top mobile shoppers for the second consecutive year, having made at least one purchase through their mobile phones in the three months preceding the survey. China’s mobile shoppers remain a close second at 71.4 per cent, followed by Thailand at 65 per cent. On the flipside, more advanced markets like Japan (31 per cent), Australia (26 per cent) and New Zealand (26 per cent) are keeping their mobile purse strings tight.

Asia Pacific’s penchant for mobile shopping has also fueled a steady increase in digital wallet adoption, with more than one in five consumers (22.3 per cent) using such payment methods. The region’s consumers are also embracing QR code payments. Over one in ten consumers use QR code payments with the most avid users hailing from China (42.6 per cent) by a wide margin.

Over the past five years, shoppers in India tracked the largest increase in mobile shopping by 45.5 per cent across Asia Pacific. Following closely were the Philippines with a growth of 32 per cent and Malaysia with 30.2 per cent.

The report also found that while shoppers in India (45.5 per cent) and China (38.2 per cent) lead the pack as the region’s most avid digital wallet users, Malaysia recorded the largest growth in usage with a 14.8 per cent increase from 11 per cent the previous year.

“Consumers in many of Asia Pacific’s emerging markets are mobile-first users, having leapfrogged the traditional payment evolution. Their governments are making significant efforts to push the development of the e- and m-commerce landscape as well as its supporting infrastructure, which has in part contributed to the growth we’ve seen in the latest survey results,” said Benjamin Gilbey, Senior Vice President, Digital Payments and Labs, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.

Majority of consumers across the region (53.6 per cent) cite convenience as a key reason for shopping on their mobile devices, particularly those in China (70.9 per cent), Thailand (60.8 per cent) and Taiwan (59.2 per cent). Contrary to the rest of the region, majority of consumers in Malaysia cited the ability to shop on the go as a key reason, as opposed to convenience.

“Today’s consumers have shifted from simply being one-device users to one-app users, as they demand more seamless payment experiences. This calls for greater collaboration between public and private sectors and industry players, to facilitate interoperability among the plethora of payment options available today. Recent progress made in this direction, such as the standardizing of QR-based payments in India and Thailand, has been encouraging. We see many opportunities for further growth and remain committed to working with industry partners in enabling commerce for every device,” added Mr Gilbey.


In terms of categories, clothing and fashion accessories (34.9 per cent), personal care and beauty products (21 per cent) and movie tickets (20.2 per cent) are the top purchases made by Asia Pacific’s mobile shoppers. Interestingly, this was not the case for mobile shoppers in Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan, whose top purchases include books, CDs and DVDs; toys and gifts; and personal and beauty care products, respectively.

The survey highlights that consumers in China (27.8 per cent) and Korea (26.8 per cent) lead the region when shopping for items from supermarkets and superstores via their mobile devices.

With the increase in online shopping, preferences for in-store shopping continues its steady decline across Asia Pacific, dropping to 45.9 per cent from 48.6 per cent two years ago. Consumers in India record the sharpest decline of 10.3 per cent from 54.7 per cent in 2015, likely due to the significant progress in developing the country’s e-commerce industry and supporting infrastructure.