The overall average comfort level of consumers in Asia Pacific shopping on their mobile devices has continued to remain solid, according to the latest results from the MasterCard Mobile Shopping Survey 2014 for Asia Pacific.
The survey showed that close to half of respondents in Asia Pacific said that they have made a purchase using their smartphone in the three months preceding the survey, which was conducted between October and December 2014. Those that led were China, at 70.1 percent; India, at 62.9 percent; and Taiwan, at 62.6 percent. Australia trailed in last place, at 19.6 percent, down from last year's results that saw 24.8 percent of Australian respondents claiming they had made a purchase on their smartphones.
Raj Dhamodharan, MasterCard Asia Pacific group head of emerging payments, attributed the high levels of mobile shopping in the Asian countries to the soaring uptake of smartphone usage. In comparison to developed countries such as Australia, where consumers first shopped on PCs, he said that countries such as China and India had leapfrogged straight to using smartphones.
When the respondents were asked why they were using their mobile phones for online shopping, almost half cited convenience as the top reason, followed by the fact that mobile shopping means they can do it on the go.
Dhamodharan said the latest survey is indicative of the trend that spending is shifting to mobile devices.
"Consumers' comfort to using mobile devices to complete payments has increased, but that's not necessarily news to those who have been tracking this closely. But what's interesting is there are signs that there are certain categories even growing faster than traditional e-commerce categories," he said.
"There are certain spends that would otherwise be happening through cash or face-to-face is also shifting to mobile; that's something that we expected to see and now it is coming true."
MasterCard also surveyed respondents as to what they are purchasing on their mobile phones, with clothing and other fashion accessories topping the list, making up 27.9 percent of total purchases in Asia Pacific. Products such as mobile phones, mobile gadget apps, coupons and deal sites, personal care, beauty brands, and movie tickets were also among the favourites for respondents to purchase on their mobiles.
Dhamodharan believes that the reason why people are choosing to shop on their mobile is because there is greater availability of products due to the rise of apps.
"Previously, mobile purchases used to be in the digital goods category, like perhaps you downloaded music, and now it's going into classic retail and services," he said.
"There are more categories primarily because merchants are getting better at servicing folks who are online, and that's the big trend."
Despite these findings, the survey also indicated that while it is on the decline, there were still 48.6 percent of consumers who said they prefer to shop in a physical retail store.
On Monday, to further enhance its security capabilities, MasterCard announced that it will be extending its tokenisation support to store-branded credit cards and e-commerce merchants. This will mean that tokenisation will be available on all private-label credit cards, giving retailers the ability to accept mobile payments via Apple Pay, Android Pay, and just about any third-party payments app.