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Asian online shoppers are visiting more sites before buying; spending more

Savvy Southeast Asian consumers are shop-hopping across an average of 5.2 online sites before making a purchasing decision, up from 3.8 sites last year.

The insight is among those unveiled by a new joint Facebook and Bain & Company report that shows digital growth in the region has surpassed previous projections. This year’s survey covered around 16,500 digital consumers in six nations within the territory who made an online purchase in at least two product categories within the past three months.

The report finds that consumers are ultimately searching for better pricing (42 per cent of respondents) and product quality (34 per cent) when browsing across sites, suggesting the potential for building brand loyalty and growth in a fractured e-commerce market for players offering reliability and value.

According to the report, Southeast Asian digital consumers will number around 310 million by the end of the year, 75 per cent of total consumers within the region – growth originally forecasted for 2025 in last year’s study, indicating a five-year acceleration within this year alone. The average spend per consumer by 2025 is now projected to be 3.5 times that of figures for 2018, with spending patterns between Tier 1 and 2 cities narrowing.

“With five years of digital acceleration condensed into one – the impact of digital adoption on businesses has never been more apparent,” said Gaming MD Sandhya Devanathan. “It is vital for businesses to connect with consumers in ways that are frictionless and to replicate in-person interactions through social platforms, messaging and short videos as much as possible to drive discovery and loyalty,” 

Stronger disposable incomes and a distinct lean towards contactless transactions are now significant driving factors in digital-economy growth. At the same time, 68 per cent of consumers admit to not knowing what they want to purchase before going online to shop, 62 per cent of whom learn about new products and brands via social platforms – especially short videos.

“The last decade was about bringing consumers online,” said Facebook director of digital natives and technology Dhruv Vohra. “Now, with the rapid immigration of digital consumers from offline to online, coupled with the evolution of home-consumption habits, we will see more brands shifting their business models beyond the ‘omni-channel’ option to meet the consumers where they are.

“What’s key is that businesses will need to adapt today’s consumer trends as it continues to shape the next normal.”

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