China, Thailand most online shoppers in APAC

Both countries beat mature markets in terms of proportion of online shoppers, while mobile devices fast becoming platform of choice for shoppers in Asia-Pacific's emerging markets, report shows.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor on

China and Thailand lead in online shopping in the Asia-Pacific market as percentage of users shopping online surpasses those in the mature markets, notes new report.

According to the MasterCard worldwide online shopping survey released Thursday, 80 percent of the respondents in China and Thailand have shopped online, making the two countries the leader in online shopping among other Asia-Pacific countries. At 74 percent, Japan ranked third in online shopping, followed by Korea with 71 percent and Australia at 68 percent.

The global survey was conducted across 25 markets between Dec. 5, 2011 and Feb. 6, 2012. In the Asia-Pacific market, 7,373 respondents from 14 markets, namely Thailand, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, India and the Philippines, were polled about their online shopping habits.

"This survey shows that the markets once considered to be emerging in Southeast Asia are now in fact challenging--and in some cases overtaking--traditional and mature online markets in the region," said Philip Yen, group head of emerging payments for Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa at MasterCard Worldwide.

Rise of mobile shopping
While acknowledging that 71 percent of the respondents said they would rather use a laptop for online shopping, the report noted that the use of mobile phone as the device of choice for online shopping has been "rising rapidly" in emerging markets.

In Thailand, 59 percent of the respondents chose mobile as their preferred online shopping method. China, Vietnam and India followed at 37 percent, 32 percent and 32 percent respectively.

At 57 percent, most of the respondents chose mobile shopping because of its convenience while another 46 percent do so because of the growing availability of apps which makes mobile shopping easier.

Apps and music, at 31 percent and 24 percent respectively, were the top mobile purchases, followed by coupon deal sites at 17 percent, retailers for clothing and accessories at 17 percent and cinema at 16 percent, noted the report.

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