Over Half of Global Retail Spending is Now Online as APAC Leads the Change

Image: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

While brick and mortar retailers continue to deal with the rise of online shopping and the effects of the pandemic, a global study from Wunderman Thompson found that social media, investment in eCommerce, and the increasing influence of retail marketplaces continue to drive consumer spending online with those surveyed globally saying that 57% of their spend is currently online.

The research, from Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2022, shows the influence can be predominately seen in the Asia Pacific markets, as China leads the way in online spending at 66%, followed by Indonesia and India at 64%, Thailand at 60%, Australia at 55% and Japan at 48%

The study additionally highlights that one of the biggest changes post-pandemic is the expectation and demands that consumers have of retailers.

 
 

Nearly a quarter (24%) of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours. The Asia-Pacific region, however, has even higher expectations with 46% of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27%, and China and Thailand at 25%.

According to the findings, these high delivery expectations present a conundrum to retailers with 48% of global consumers demanding faster delivery.

Key takeaways from Asia

  • Globally 57% of shoppers spending is currently online. China leads the way in online spending sitting at 66%, followed by Indonesia and India at 64%, Thailand at 60%, Australia at 55% and Japan at 48%.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours. The Asia-Pacific region leads the charge in these demands with 46% of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27% and China and Thailand at 25%.
  • When consumers were asked if they ‘actively choose brands that are more environmentally responsible’, the Asia-Pacific region sits well beyond the global average. Thailand consumers sit at number one globally at 83%, followed by Indonesia at number two (82%), India at number three (81%) and China at number five (71%).  Australia and Japan have further to go in active sustainable choice, sitting at 46% and 38% respectively.
  • Globally shoppers order online is returned and almost 40%  admitted to over-ordering with the intention of returning unwanted items. The worst offenders for returns in the APAC region were consumers in India, sitting at the top of the global chart at 44%. Yet, the least likely to return in the region was Japan at 13%.
  • Thai consumers seem most engaged with social commerce (85%), followed by India (80%) and China (77%).

Better sustainability from brands

According to the survey, 68% said that they wanted brands and retailers to offer 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.

Thailand consumers were number one globally at 83%, followed by Indonesia at number two (82%), India at number three (81%), and China at number five (71%).

Wunderman Thompson’s findings said that Australia and Japan had further to go in making active in sustainable choices, surveying at 46% and 38% respectively.

Nearly a quarter of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours. The Asia-Pacific region leads the charge in these demands with 46% of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27%, and China and Thailand at 25%.

Another challenge for online sellers looking to provide service and sustainability is that 23% of everything that global shoppers order online is returned and almost four in 10 (39%) admitted to over-ordering with the intention of returning unwanted items, presenting another dilemma for retailer’s digital supply chain.

Wunderman Thompson said the “worst offenders for returns” in the APAC region were consumers in India, sitting at the top of the global chart at 44%. Yet, the least likely to return in the region was Japan at 13%.

“The latest Future Shopper report validates the impact of the pandemic on digital. COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption globally and in Southeast Asia nearly 70 million new shoppers are estimated to have come online for the first time,” said Aadit Bimbhet, Regional Commerce Director at Wunderman Thompson APAC.

“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 touch-points 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 share of heart, mind and wallet in the long run.”

Better tech

Consumers expressed a healthy appetite for retailers to invest in emerging tech trends, including cashless payments (58%) and checkout-less supermarket services such as Amazon Go (64%).

In reaction, the online world is creating enormous value for retailers, with 60% of consumers planning to increase their usage of digital shopping channels.

Over half (56%) of global shoppers want to remain on their preferred social media platform to purchase, while 65% of consumers have already made a transaction through a social media platform, a near 20% increase since 2021.

This has been driven by working from home (WFH), with 69% of consumers saying they have shopped more online, and 62% saying they have discovered new brands as a consequence of WFH.

Driving Change

The results have been even better this year for online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Mercado Libre, Rakuten, and others.

64% 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%) already start their search on top marketplaces.

While Amazon sits at number one across Europe, UK, USA, and UAE, in the Asia-Pacific region there is more diversity, with more marketplaces vying for consumers and social media platforms.

Social networks have been one of the key winners during this transformation. Over half (56%) of global shoppers want to remain on their preferred social media platform to purchase, while 65% of consumers have already made a transaction through a social media platform, a near 20% increase since 2021.

Source: Wunderman Thompson

In terms of which countries had the highest percentages of consumers intending to shop more through social commerce in the future, Thai consumers surveyed as being most engaged with social commerce (85%), followed by India (80%) and China (77%).

“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,” said Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

“However, this means demands are higher, expectations are loftier, and consumers have a 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.”


You can access the full report here.

Image: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

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