Despite the challenging economic conditions, a survey from the Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor has shown that consumers in Asia Pacific are still spending online and it is the travel industry where most of the money is heading to.
According to the survey, online spending in the last quarter of 2008 held steady compared with the previous two quarters.
- Asia Pacific consumers still spending online
- Singapore leading the way
- Online travel the most popular category
Survey respondents spent an average of US$3,109 in the past year (ended December 2008). This figure is close to the reported average e-commerce spend of US$3,009 and US$2,784 for the 12 months ended June and September 2008 respectively.
Results from the survey showed that online shoppers from Singapore (US$4,018), Hong Kong (US$3,791) and India (US$3,442) spent the most in the 12 months ended December 2008.
Online spending in these countries and territories also saw the largest quarter-on-quarter increases. Those from Hong Kong said they spent more than double what they had spent in the previous survey period while spending in India and Singapore rose by 42% and 34% respectively.
"Our survey shows that online shopping appears to be resilient in the uncertain economy. As consumers are expected to keep a close eye on their finances, the ability to browse a wide range of retail offerings to compare prices and seek cheaper buys on the internet seems to be leading budget conscious consumers to shop online," Meranda Chan, country manager, Singapore and Brunei, Visa said.
Among the categories surveyed, the top three biggest online spend areas were all travel related services.
According to the survey, the highest areas of spending in the past 12 months were:
- Airline tickets (US$970),
- Online travel agents (US$647)
- Travel accommodation (US$527).
"The internet has strong appeal to Asia Pacific consumers with wanderlust. From securing cost-saving internet deals to making accommodation reservations, armchair consumers are tuned to the convenience of shopping for travel services online," Chan said.
The trend to shop online looks set to continue with 81% of respondents stating they were likely to shop online again in the next 12 months.
Respondents from Korea (96%), Japan (90%) and Australia (83%) were the most likely to make purchases online in the region.
"Our Visa survey gives some guidance to online retailers who would like to attract and retain customers. Whether it is to showcase their best deals online or to instill confidence in their customers by displaying signs of good website security, such tactics should be considered by online retailers looking to increase their e-commerce volumes," Chan said.