Rise of Mobile Shopping in Emerging Markets

The gap in online shopping between established and growth markets is narrowing in Asia/Pacific largely due to increased enthusiasm for mobile shopping in South East Asia markets, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey.

The survey, which serves as a benchmark that measures consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted across 25 markets between 5 December 2011 and 6 February 2012. The report for the Asia/ Pacific[1]region included interviews with 7,373 respondents from 14 markets who were asked questions about their online shopping habits.

In terms of online shopping and purchase intent, the results show that once again, the gap is closing for online shopping in Asia/ Pacific markets between the “mature” and “emerging” markets. Thailand leads the pack both in terms of online shopping (80%) and likelihood to make an online purchase in the next six months (93%), alongside China.  Korea (84%) and Malaysia (79%) also show high intent to purchase over the next six months, with Vietnam also showing similarly high intent to purchase (87%) despite a low percentage of people using the internet for online shopping (61%).

Overall, big increases occurred in Thailand (+13%), Australia (+10%), Indonesia (+15%), New Zealand (+9) and the Philippines (+15) in terms of online shopping, with declines recorded in India (-14%), Singapore (-10%), and Korea (-17%); although the latter still had high intent to purchase (84%). In keeping with the Southeast Asian theme of growth in this space, Vietnam, which was introduced into the study this year, boasts an index score comparable to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Although a  majority (71%) of respondents said they would rather use their laptop for shopping, the mobile phone is rising rapidly as the device of choice for Asian shoppers in emerging markets, with respondents in Thailand (59%), China (37%), Vietnam (32%) and India (32%) all leading more established markets.

Among the reasons given for using the mobile for shopping, most said it was more convenient (57%) and also cited the growing availability of apps that make it easier to do (46%). Music (24%) and apps (31%) topped the list among those who have made purchases through their mobile phones, followed by coupon deal sites (17%), retailers for clothing and accessories (17%), and cinema (16%).

“This survey shows that the markets once considered to be emerging in South East Asia are now in fact challenging—and in some cases overtaking—traditional and mature online markets in the region,” said Philip Yen, Group Head, Emerging Payments, Asia Pacific Middle East Africa at MasterCard Worldwide. “On top of this, smart phones are gradually becoming the trusted device of choice for shoppers in our region and MasterCard is continually innovating to ensure convenience and security for consumers when they purchase online.”

Through the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership, MasterCard is working with preferred platform partners Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba to enable consumers to purchase goods and services via their mobile phones at millions of bricks and mortar and online merchants worldwide, as well as transfer funds and pay bills.


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