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APAC online shoppers spend $594b

Shoppers in six Asia-Pacific markets spent an estimated $594 billion in online stores last year.

US eCommerce sites were the main beneficiaries, and Singapore led the way in terms of cross-border purchases with 69 per cent of online purchases beyond local shores. Australia followed at 65 per cent, and India was third with 38 per cent.

Statistics from a PayPal cross-border eCommerce global report indicate that this spending is expected to continue over the next couple of years. The report covered Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Run by Ipsos, the study polled 23,354 respondents across 29 countries, including Germany, South Africa and the US.

Ecommerce is expected to grow as more Asia-Pacific consumers turn to online shopping, says the report. For instance, India is projected to see a 53 per cent increase in online shopping next year, while China is expected to clock 28 per cent growth and Singapore 16 per cent.

With the increasing use of mobile devices, the study found that these were used for an average of 42 per cent and 36 per cent of online spend in China and India, respectively. Most online purchases in the region, however, were still transacted via a desktop or mobile computer.

While the US led the way for Asia-Pacific shoppers, online stores in China, Japan and the UK were also popular. For cross-border purchases, 68 per cent of the region’s respondents preferred large international stores such as Amazon. While beauty products, clothing and travel accounted for most transactions, the report noted increasing demand for basic needs. For example, grocery shopping is projected to grow 21 per cent in Singapore this year.

“As both the internet and use of mobile phones and tablets transform the face and form of retail, online borderless shopping continues to grow rapidly, presenting a clear opportunity for businesses to embrace their export potential,” says PayPal Asia-Pacific VP of regional merchant services, Hamish Moline.

“With the transformation of consumer demand for online and cross-border goods, as well as the platforms now available, any business can become a competitive player in the global marketplace.

“The data from the PayPal research underscores an opportunity for businesses in Asia-Pacific to extend their reach to the global market without the exorbitant cost of traditional geo-expansion.”

Free shipping was cited by 47 per cent of respondents in the region as an incentive to make cross-border online purchases, while 46 per cent pointed to secure payments and 41 per cent identified proof of authenticity. Other concerns included the lack of help when problems arose (44 per cent), and the fear of not receiving purchases (42 per cent).

There also was anxiety over currency conversion, with 75 per cent of online shoppers in the region preferring to be able to pay in their own currency, and 52 per cent being uneasy about having to pay in a foreign currency.

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