Poll finds Asian prefer Christmas shopping online

Nearly half of Asia’s shoppers said they prefer to do their Christmas shopping online this year, according to a new survey conducted by internet services company Rakuten.

Of 2500 shoppers polled in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan, 47 per cent said they preferred to complete their Christmas shopping online – due to convenience (83 per cent), the ease of browsing and comparing of products (55 per cent) and cost effectiveness from attractive rebates and loyalty programs (41 per cent).

The same shoppers reported an average increase of 20 per cent, in terms of the amount spent online on Christmas shopping in 2014, versus the year before.

The Rakuten Shopping Secrets Survey 2015 found that 75 per cent of shoppers expect to buy more, or at least, the same number of Christmas gifts online this year compared to the previous year.

“Our survey found that in general, when shopping for a gift, shoppers look at price (33 per cent) as the single biggest factor influencing their decision of what to buy, followed by the likeability of a gift by the recipient (26 per cent) and practicality of the gift (25 per cent),” said Masaya Ueno, director of Rakuten Asia

Rakuten has launched a five per cent rebate on everything listed on its shopping sites, every day, with no limit on the amount of rebates, through the Rakuten Super Point program, across all its online shopping sites in Asia.

This means that if shoppers buy anything on Rakuten sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand or Taiwan, they are given Rakuten Super Points that are the equivalent of five per cent of their purchase value. These points can be used like cash, to offset their next purchase.

Asians spend on average US$30 on a Christmas gift, and Rakuten says its new cashback scheme would reward shoppers with a $15 voucher if they bought gifts for 10 people.

Meanwhile, the survey found that while three in five people remembered what they received for Christmas last year, a quarter of them received gifts they disliked. Those gifts ended up being re-gifted (38 per cent), kept somewhere and forgotten about (33 per cent), donated to charity (24 per cent), or being sold off (13 per cent).

That could be one reason why 27 per cent of Asians find Christmas a stressful occasion, with Singapore shoppers the most stressed (40 per cent), well ahead of shoppers from Taiwan (32 per cent), Malaysia (30 per cent), Indonesia (18 per cent) and Thailand (17 per cent).

“The year-end season is usually the busiest time of the year for online retailers like us, with shoppers wanting to splurge due to great discounts (62 per cent), liking to start a new year with new things (40 per cent), or rewarding themselves after a year of hard work (33 per cent),” said Ueno.

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