Digital consumers in Asia Pacific have a significant impact on global trends today backed up by the largest number of internet users in the world. While developed countries adopted digitalisation at an early stage, China, India and Southeast Asia are experiencing a unique development embracing the ubiquity of mobile devices for all types of activities. With continued strong growth, digital commerce in Asia Pacific is showing the way for next-generation commerce.
Digital commerce in Asia Pacific has risen in a unique way compared to Western regions, and its growth is sometimes described as leapfrogging certain technologies. The region is mobile-orientated and consumer-orientated. For many Asian countries, the digital revolution has led consumers to jump to the forefront of shopping experiences, skipping the development process that Western countries have experienced over the past decades.
Mobile devices lead digital commerce in the region, offering enhanced customer experiences and personalised offerings. China, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines already show higher mobile rates than PC with remote purchases in 2018. Taiwan will join this trend by 2023. Emerging supper apps in Southeast Asia such as Grab and GoJek seek to follow China’s WeChat, leveraging the rapid spread of mobile devices in the region.
In both remote and proximity, retailing leads in many countries. In the region’s powerhouse, China, Alibaba Group took advantage of holding the largest e-commerce marketplace in the country, Tmall. In proximity payments, however, WeChat Pay by Alibaba’s competitor Tencent Group prevails over Alipay by offering in-store coupons at major retailers through SNS WeChat. Within retailing remote purchases, fashion, cosmetics and digital media content are the preferred product categories.
Despite the rapid development, as of 2018, only 54% of the total population in China, 35% in India and 36% in Indonesia are connected to the internet. This is expected to expand to 70%, 54%, and 56%, respectively, by 2023. With the high volume of total population in these Asian countries and accelerated improvement of digital connectivity, Asia Pacific region’s influence over the digital commerce trends in the world will become even stronger.
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