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Online Christmas spending boom predicted for China

China will lead the Asia Pacific region in online spending this holiday season with US$150 billion in sales forecast, according to findings from Adobe Digital Index.

China’s booming economy has led to the highest anticipated online spend in the region (55 per cent), with nearly half of the country’s consumers surveyed (49 per cent) predicting an increase in their online spend for the period. The average Chinese internet user is predicted to spend a total of US$210 online during November and December, driving one-fifth of total online sales for the year.

Adobe’s global Online Shopping Prediction is based on an analysis of 55 million product SKUs and aggregated and anonymous data of more than one trillion retail websites over the last seven years. The holiday season represents 20 per cent of worldwide online spending – with Austria and the US at the top of the list.

Across the rest of APAC, consumer spend is expected to remain steady year-on-year with 14 per cent and 16 per cent of Australians and Singaporeans respectively, anticipating they will increase their total spend this holiday season.

Japan is expected to see the second highest online spend in the region with US$37 billion in online sales (a 5 per cent year-on-year growth) predicted, followed by Australia at US$7 billion.

Consumers in APAC are not only shopping online more, they are also becoming increasingly efficient, with 20 per cent or more in each country surveyed saying they expect to spend less time holiday shopping this year compared to last – a saving that could give them more time to spend with their families and friends.

“Holiday shopping is a huge investment and consumers get more sophisticated every year with their online and mobile shopping in order to secure the most popular gifts at the best prices,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal research analyst, Adobe Digital Index.

Ms Gaffney said mobile is playing a significant role in holiday shopping behaviour.

“Over the next two months we expect Southeast Asia to lead the charge in mobile shopping with 21 per cent of ecommerce purchases to be transacted via smartphones and around 10 per cent via tablets. Japanese shoppers won’t be too far behind, with 24 per cent of ecommerce purchases predicted to be made via smartphones and 6 per cent via tablets.”

Consumers are also finding online shopping less stressful than heading to the stores. In Australia, almost one-in-five (19 per cent) consumers rated offline shopping as extremely stressful, compared to only 6 per cent who said the same about online shopping. China is the only country in the region where online and offline shopping are seen as equally stressful.

Across APAC, lower prices and good deals are important motivators for consumers to shop online, with free shipping a particularly strong driver for shoppers in Australia and Singapore.

While online shopping during the holiday season is increasingly attractive, when it comes to logging on, most APAC consumers find shopping via mobile phone more stressful than shopping on their desktop, laptop or tablet device.

Product reviews are among the top two influencers for shoppers when considering a major purchase, according to 36 per cent of consumers in Australia, 43 per cent in China and 44 per cent in Singapore.

Consumers in Singapore and China are more likely to leverage social media when they shop, with 41 per cent of Singaporean and 49 per cent of Chinese shoppers saying they consult social media to help make holiday shopping decisions. Interestingly, Australian respondents are far less likely to use social media as a tool for shopping (23 per cent).

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.