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Ecommerce continues to leapfrog traditional commerce in Asia Pacific


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

August 11, 2021 | 6 min read

Online shopping has outpaced traditional retail in the Asia Pacific as more people turn to ecommerce.


his ecommerce acceleration is partly led by platforms who have fast-forwarded their interface roadmaps.

Online shoppers who shop ‘a few times a month’ regularly are now outpacing their offline counterparts by 42% vs 31%. Those who shop online ‘once every few months’ leapfrog offline shoppers by 66%.

This is according to a study by Reprise, which found that promotions and sales are the best way to engage SEA markets as 61% of shoppers wait to shop online during the big sales days, vs the 39% ‘anytime’ shoppers.

However, the shipping fee is the biggest ‘turn-off’ for shoppers, as the top three perceived barriers to online shopping ‘shipping fee’ (57%), ‘shipping time’ (55%), and the inability to ‘touch and feel’ products before purchasing (48%).

The study also found that online ads are the key driver to engage new buyers as one in two online shoppers look to online ads for discovering new brands and products when purchasing online.

“We have seen unprecedented growth in ecommerce in the last 12 months. Many markets in APAC have leapfrogged as much as 5 times, already meeting projections for 2025,” said Ritika Gupta, the ecommerce director for APAC at Reprise.

“This ecommerce acceleration is partly led by platforms who have fast-forwarded their interface roadmaps and advanced their technology. This, along with audience targeting via in-platform ads has played a significant role.”

What did the study found in key APAC markets?


  • 63% of China shoppers shop ‘anytime’ and don’t wait for sales and promotions. Whereas 52% of online shoppers wait for sales season to make their purchases.

  • The top three triggers for online purchases are ‘good reviews,’ ‘product information,’ and ‘good star ratings’ as voted by 71%, 64% and 58% of online shoppers respectively.

  • China online shoppers are loyal to their needs and not specifically to brands. 75% of shoppers say that they are willing to buy new brands that they see online.

  • One in two shoppers discover new products via online ads, and 1 in 4 online shoppers said that live- streaming helps them to discover new products online.


  • Consumer reviews about a product, are perceived to be the biggest advantage by 64% of online shoppers in India.

  • The top three motivators for online purchases are ‘good reviews,’ ‘good star ratings’ and ‘product information’ as voted by 70%, 59% and 52% of online shoppers, respectively.

  • Marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon have ranked higher for product discovery across all categories in the last 12 months. 91% of online shoppers used Amazon and 81% of them used Flipkart for discovering new products.

  • TV ads are still considered to be a significant channel, 64% of online shoppers in India refer to television advertisements for discovering new products.


  • ‘Time-saving’ and ‘don’t have to go to the store’ are perceived as the two biggest advantages by 61% of online shoppers in Japan.

  • The top three motivators for online purchases are ‘easy checkout flow’, ‘good reviews’, ‘star ratings’ as voted by 38%, 36% and 31% of online shoppers, respectively.

  • Both Amazon and Rakuten have ranked high for product discovery across all product categories in the last 12 months. 80% of online shoppers used Amazon and 71% of them used Rakuten for discovering new products.

  • Online retailers are considered to be the top point of research when considering buying a new product in Japan. Shoppers are twice more likely to choose this channel.


  • Australian marketplaces are not the main online shopping destination. 67% of shoppers prefer brands’ websites for making online purchases.

  • 66% of shoppers consider ‘shipping fee’ one of the main disadvantages of online shopping.

  • 54% consider ‘shipping time’ a disadvantage. Also, the inability to touch and feel products before purchasing is perceived as another disadvantage by 46% of shoppers.

  • Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon have ranked higher for product discovery across all categories in the last 12 months. 61% of online shoppers used eBay and 52% of them used Amazon for discovering new products.


  • Singaporeans not only shop locally but are avid international shoppers, making convenience the primary purchase trigger for 73% of online shoppers.

  • They are also very price-oriented with 63% of Singaporean shoppers choosing to buy online to access better promotions and discounts. One peculiarity among Singapore shoppers is that 52% access brand websites to gather more information before making a purchase decision. This is almost 50% higher than other markets in SEA.

  • The best performing categories are groceries, restaurant and food delivery services in addition to work from home-focused products including monitors, webcams, and even home office furniture.

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