Online Shopping on the Increase in South Asia
Bangalore: There has been a steady rise in the number of online shoppers in South Asia, particularly in mainland China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, reveals Visa eCommerce Consumer Monitor 2010. This survey included 3,156 regular internet users from these countries and nearly 9/10 (87 percent) of the survey respondents across these markets polled that they had purchased products and services online in the past year.
Online shopping was most popular in mainland China and Taiwan, where 98 percent and 97 percent of respondents, respectively, said that they had shopped online in the past 12 months. In India, about 89 percent of the respondents said that they had shopped online in the past year.
Paul Jung, Head of eCommerce, International, Visa, said, “China in particular continues to attract attention of many eCommerce retailers because of the growing number of affluent consumers who are going online to shop.”
This survey also found that most of the online purchases were made in the following categories - airline tickets; accommodation and travel agent services (average of $550), share trading (average of $320), electrical appliances and white goods (average of $166), banking and financial services (average of $92) and computer hardware (average of $75).
There are numerous driving agents behind this trend observed in South Asia. The Visa survey highlights a few, such as – convenience, bargain hunting, freedom to shop at any time (83 percent), to find and compare products easily (81 percent), compare prices to save money (81 percent) and to avoid going to the store (74 percent). Also, when asked about their online shopping experience over the last 12 months, 76 percent of the respondents said that they were satisfied with the ease of the online payment process and 72 percent said that they were satisfied with the speed of their online transaction.
Other factors that have contributed to the increasing number of online shoppers include, rapid economic growth, drop in internet usage rates due to better infrastructure, credit card penetration, online promotional offers, availability of unique items and rise in population of upper-middle-income class. Also, a direct relationship has been observed between the occurrence of online shopping in South Asia and the following factors of internet penetration rate, income levels and culture.However, there are a few deterrents in South Asia that prevent the full blown use of online shopping. These agents include - security of online transactions, preference for looking at physical products and additional administrative or delivery charges. Despite the impediments, South Asia has warmly embraced online shopping and is integrating it in its daily life.
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