China continues to lead the e-commerce market in the Asia Pacific with 61% of consumers shopping online whilst New Zealand and Japan is the smallest markets, lagging behind at 33% and 34% respectively.
Most of the shopping online in APAC, takes place on mobile, averaging 21% usage across the region driven primarily by China (32%) and India (29%).
Meanwhile, high shipping costs hold consumers back from online shopping in most APAC countries - particularly Japan (62%), New Zealand (50%), Malaysia (57%) and Singapore (57%), as per Rakuten Marketing's second edition of the ‘APAC State of e-commerce’ report.
The travel sector leads the way as the majority of people in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong spend on it. While the e-commerce purchase in South Korea, China and Japan is primarily on groceries and Malaysians spend the most on beauty and Indians on electronics.
However, in China, family and friend recommendations scored the highest (68%) and search was, in fact, the least popular method of discovery. Meanwhile, Malaysia was found to be the number one country in APAC to engage in influencer marketing (21%) and social media (65%) for discovery.
Consumers after getting connected with a brand, engaged with them via Facebook in Australia (28.5%), Singapore (33%), Malaysia (61%) and India (56%) whereas email reigned in Japan (26%) and New Zealand (35%). Local apps such as WeChat, Weibo and Kakao Talk were found to be the most popular way of interacting with brands in China, Hong Kong and Korea.
Anthony Capano, managing director of international at Rakuten Marketing said: “eMarketer is forecasting global e-commerce to exceed $3.5tn by the end of the year, and of this, the Asia-Pacific region will drive 64% of all retail sales. The APAC market presents a wealth of opportunities for brands and retailers looking to enter the region.
“The findings of this report will assist brands and marketers in developing a deeper understanding of the nuanced behaviours of consumers within APAC and help identify new opportunities. We hope this report helps businesses make more informed decisions on how to best grow and operate within the region.”