E-commerce spending in the 18 countries accounts for 50 percent or higher of total sales. Social media investment in e-commerce and the increasing influence of retail marketplaces continue to drive consumer spending online with 57 percent of their spending currently online.
The influence can be predominately seen in the Asia Pacific markets, as China leads the way in online spending sitting at 66 percent, followed by Indonesia and India at 64 percent, Thailand at 60 percent, Australia at 55 percent, and Japan at 48 percent, according to a report by the research firm Wunderman Thompson Commerce.
But, winning online means getting the service right – one of the biggest changes post-pandemic is the expectation and demands that consumers have of retailers. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours. The Asia-Pacific region leads the charge in these demands with 46 percent of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27 percent, and China and Thailand at 25 percent.
Further, these delivery expectations present a conundrum to retailers with 48 percent of global consumers demanding faster delivery, while 68 percent said that they wished that brands and retailers offered better environmental practices. When consumers were asked if they "actively choose brands that are more environmentally responsible", the Asia-Pacific region sits well beyond the global average.
In fact, Thailand's consumers sit at number one globally at 83 percent, followed by Indonesia at number two (82 percent), India at number three (81 percent), and China at number five (71 percent). Australia and Japan were the least active in sustainable choices in the region, sitting at 46 percent and 38 percent respectively.
Aadit Bimbhet, Regional Commerce Director, Wunderman Thompson APAC, said: “COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption globally and in south-east Asia, nearly 70 million new shoppers are estimated to have come online for the first time. While marketplaces remain the dominant force online, consumer loyalty and preferences in APAC are evolving in the face of fragmented online journeys. Consumers expect to engage with brands across multiple touchpoints and brands have to start enabling connected commerce experiences to efficiently acquire & retain shoppers. Furthermore, as competition for shoppers in APAC increases, delivering brand experiences that are consistent, cohesive, and engaging will be crucial to capturing a share of heart, mind, and wallet in the long run.”
Challenge of Customer Service
Another challenge for online sellers looking to provide service and sustainability is that 23 percent of everything that global shoppers order online is returned and almost four in 10 (39 percent) admitted to over-ordering with the intention of returning unwanted items, presenting another dilemma for retailer’s digital supply chain. The worst offenders for returns in the APAC region were consumers in India, sitting at the top of the global chart at 44 percent. Yet, the least likely to return in the region was Japan at 13 percent.
Indeed, consumers have a healthy appetite for retailers to invest in emerging tech trends, including cashless payments (58 percent) and checkout-less supermarket services such as Amazon Go (64 percent).
And, the online world is creating enormous value for retailers, with 60 percent of consumers planning to increase their usage of digital shopping channels. This has been driven by working from home (WFH), with 69 percent of consumers saying they have shopped more online, and 62% saying they have discovered new brands as a consequence of WFH.
The results have been even better this year for online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Mercado Libre, Rakuten, etc. 64 percent of global consumers go as far to say they’re excited by the prospect of buying everything through one retailer, and over a third (36 percent) already start their search on top marketplaces. While Amazon sits at number one across Europe, the UK, USA, and UAE, as we look to the Asia-Pacific region we see more diversity, with more marketplaces vying for consumers, and social media platforms featuring heavily.
Social networks have been one of the key winners during this transformation. Over half (56 percent) of global shoppers want to remain on their preferred social media platform to purchase, while 65 percent of consumers have already made a transaction through a social media platform, a near 20 percent increase since 2021. Which countries had the highest percentages of consumers intending to shop more through social commerce in the future? Thai consumers seem most engaged with social commerce (85 percent), followed by India (80 percent) and China (77 percent).
Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy, and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce said: “TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, marketplaces and eCommerce more generally offer shoppers an instant way to engage with, and purchase from, their favorite products and services. However, this means demands are higher, expectations are loftier, and consumers have reduced patience; they want products and services at the click of a button and won’t settle for second-best. Couple this with the rising cost of living and retailers face a fight to get consumer’s cash as they choose where they shop, which brands to invest in and what digital services to use.”