APAC shoppers still buy in-store, but more seek hybrid commerce

Some 68% of Asia-Pacific consumers made the majority of their purchases in physical retail stores over the past year, but 82% will turn to an app on their phone to research products before buying, reveals a new study.

Some 68% of consumers in Asia-Pacific say they made the majority of their purchases in physical retail stores over the past year, but 82% will turn to an app on their phone to research products before buying in-store. In addition, more are seeking out hybrid shopping options where they have the ability to buy online and pick up their purchases in-store. 

In fact, 77% of consumers in Singapore said their buying decision would be influenced if a brand or retailer did not provide such hybrid commerce options, revealed a study released Tuesday by Wirecard. Conducted by Vanson Bourne, the study polled 6,000 consumers from 11 markets worldwide including 500 respondents each from Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Another 54% across the six Asia-Pacific markets made most of their purchases via an mobile app in the last 12 months, while an additional 40% chose to buy online and pick up their purchases in-store. A further 32% did so via social media marketplaces, compared to the global average of 22%. 

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And when in a physical store, 69% would use a virtual reality booth before making their purchase. 

In Singapore, 71% of shoppers purchased in-store over the past year and 82% would browse to the store's website via their mobile phone to do research while inside the retail store.

Wirecard's executive vice president of group strategy, Markus Eichinger said: "Consumers clearly desire choice when completing purchases. Consumers shop in many different ways nowadays and this is challenging merchants to meet a wide range of retail demands. 

"A lot of focus is put on pricing, but not necessarily on the flexibility customers seek. A unified commerce strategy, with a focus on a consistent and frictionless buying journey, is integral to offering consumers the experience they would expect from any modern retailer," said Eichinger. "In the future, brick-and-mortar stores will only exist if they are technologically advanced with the latest in-store innovations and a fully integrated e-commerce backend." 

Singapore shoppers also looked beyond local shores to make purchases from foreign websites, doing so on average 15 times a year, while 22% did likewise at least once or twice a month. Some 67% said they did so because the product was not available locally. 

However, 95% of Singapore shoppers said the absence of familiar payment methods would influence their decision to order products from foreign websites. 

In addition, 45% said they were less likely to shop in physical retail outlets that did not offer options for them to pay via their mobile phones. Some 38% cited convenience as the main reason for choosing cashless options inside retail stores, while 31% pointed to speed and 21% highlighted security. 

Some 42% of Singapore respondents regularly chose mobile wallets as a payment method, compared to the global average of 30%, and 70% were keen to tap biometric data such as facial recognition and fingerprint to make purchases in-store and online. 

In fact, they would spend an average SG$26 more if payments were authorised with biometric data, in comparison to cashless payments that did not require authorisation. 

Some 78% in the city-state also were willing to give their personal data to retailers, either online or in-store, in exchange for incentives such as larger discounts. Another 92% used loyalty programmes, with 62% preferring to grow their loyalty points through their mobile phone.

Eichinger: "Retailers that want to engage with their customers via targeted offers and improve their service across all channels, need to leverage customer data. If customers can see a concrete benefit when it comes to providing personal information, they are willing to share it with retailers, thus, providing merchants critical data that they can analyse to optimise their offerings and improve customer loyalty." 

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