Study Offers Closer Look at Online Shopping

Fashion is the second-most-popular product category, according to an upcoming study of online consumption behavior in Asia, Russia and Africa.

Fashion is the second-most-popular product category when it comes to online shopping and consumers are increasingly using mobile phones and tablets to make purchases, according to an upcoming study of online consumption behavior in Asia, Russia and Africa.

This story first appeared in the October 22, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

For its e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012 study, Visa worked with market research provider TNS to survey more than 8,000 respondents, all of whom were between 18 and 55 years old and used the Internet at least once a week. The respondents were located in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Russia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Visa offered to WWD an exclusive preview of the study, which will be released later this month.

The survey suggests significant growth in the number of people conducting online purchases in the three regions. Ninety percent of respondents had made online payments recently, as opposed to 67 percent a year ago. The most popular product category for online shoppers was physical books, CDs and DVDs (45 percent) while 37 percent of digital purchases were for fashion-related items.

According to the study, customers have become more willing to shop digitally because of the growing perception that online shopping is secure. They attributed this to security measures such as Verified by Visa and MasterCard’s SecureCode service.

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Ninety-two percent of respondents indicated that they expected to make online purchases in the next 12 months, suggesting exponential growth may have slowed. However, purchases on portable devices such as smartphones and tablets are expected to become increasingly popular in mature Asian markets like Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. In Hong Kong, 13 percent of online purchases were made on smartphones and 11 percent on tablets.

“The prevalence of smartphones and tablets translates to easier online access for consumers to retailers anytime, anywhere,” said Paul Jung, Visa’s head of e-commerce solutions for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We expect to see more people browsing and shopping on-the-go.”

Another takeaway for retailers: Ensure you have an informative Web site. Ninety-eight percent of those surveyed indicated that they browsed online for more product information before making purchases. Sixty percent said the main reason they browsed the Web was to find out more about possible purchases while 55 percent of respondents use the Internet to decide where to buy products.