As COVID-19 alters our daily lives, consumers in Asia Pacific are rapidly going digital with purchases of everything from groceries to movies in a shift that looks set to become a permanent habit after the pandemic passes, a recent Mastercard research shows.
E-commerce and contactless payments continue to grow in popularity as people make the move to digital by default and we reduce our use of cash, according to an ongoing study by Mastercard in multiple markets around the world that analyses the impact of current and future consumer behaviour.
“Our shift to digital commerce is here to stay as people embrace the benefits of safety, security and convenience,” said Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President for Products and Innovation in Asia Pacific at Mastercard.
“Consumers now want on-demand products and services — whether it’s food delivery, groceries, fitness courses, telemedicine, conferencing, learning or entertainment. This demand and these expectations will continue to drive e-commerce long after COVID-19 subsides,” he said.
“As communities and economies emerge from the pandemic, the new consumer mindset sends a clear signal to merchants of all shapes and sizes that online shopping and touch-free transactions are essential to building the business and ensuring customer loyalty now and in the future,” said Malhotra.
The digital momentum created by greater internet access, the proliferation of smart devices and growing e-commerce are transforming how consumers buy and merchants sell. As lines blur between physical and digital, businesses must change how they think about every aspect — from customer interaction and retention to inventory, production and logistics.
With people concerned about safety and many stores shut during the COVID-19 outbreak, digital commerce revenues grew 20 per cent globally in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Salesforce Shopping Index.
As we make digital by default a lasting habit, the Mastercard study highlights the need for businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, to move into e-commerce and have an online presence during and after the pandemic.
E-commerce is on the rise in Asia Pacific with 30 per cent of people in Australia, 49 per cent in India, 55 per cent in China and 34 per cent in Japan planning to make more purchases online. At the same time, consumers think less in-store shopping is here to stay — 38 per cent in Australia, 68 per cent in India, 57 per cent in China and 40 per cent in Japan.
The shift is underway globally as almost six in 10 consumers say the move to digital payments is likely to be permanent and nearly half plan to use cash less even after the pandemic passes.
In Asia Pacific, 46 per cent of consumers say they plan to use cash less often including 52 per cent in Australia, 49 per cent in India, 43 per cent in China and 41 per cent in Japan. A large majority — 71 per cent in Australia, 77 per cent in India, 73 per cent in China and 62 per cent in Japan — believe the shift to contactless payments is here to stay.
The Mastercard study conducted between April 27 and May 17 with a total of 6,750 adults interviewed across 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Russia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.