The global economic slump has not dampened Asia Pacific shoppers’ love of the World Wide Web, with more regional internet users shopping online and spending more than in the past, according to the Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor 2009.

When asked how much they had spent shopping online in the past 12 months, respondents in the March 2009 Monitor reported an average spend of US$3,743, an increase over the past three Monitor periods.

Source: Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor

In addition, more internet users in the region (87 per cent) made online purchases in the March 2009 quarter than in the preceding quarter (72 per cent).

Respondents from Korea (96 percent) were the most likely to have bought products and services from the Internet in the past 12 months, followed by Japan (94 percent), Australia and China (89 percent respectively). As revealed by the survey, the top online spenders in the region are from Japan (US$6,688), India (US$3,862) and Korea (US$3,682).

Mohamad Hafidz, regional head, e-commerce, Asia Pacific, Visa, says, “Our survey shows that online shopping appears to be resilient in the uncertain economy In the past year, we have seen a trend of consumers in the region turning to the internet to make purchases. Consumers have become wiser about spending their money as the global economic outlook remains cautious, so it is not surprising that the ability to compare prices and save money is one of the main reasons for consumers to shop online."

The most popular online purchase items in the past 12 months were clothes/shoes (53 percent), books (50 percent) and music downloads (49 percent). However, travel-related services remained the biggest online spend category. Respondents spent US$3,085 in the past 12 months on travel-related services, and the top three travel categories for e-commerce are airline/airline tickets (US$1,019), travel accommodation (US$841) and online travel agents (US$602).

Confidence in online payment security

The survey also revealed that consumers' confidence in the security of online payment systems is one of the reasons why more people in Asia Pacific have been shopping online. More than eight in 10 (84 percent) of those polled reported that they are either very confident when using payment cards online or are somewhat concerned but will not stop using their cards to pay online.

Spending on overseas e-commerce websites shows increase

Results showed respondents are also spending more on overseas online transactions than before. The value of cross-border e-commerce spending in the first quarter of 2009 rose by nearly three times to US$1,097 compared with the previous quarter and now accounts for more than one-third (35 percent) of all consumer e-commerce spending in the Asia Pacific.

Singapore respondents (61 percent) spent the biggest proportion online on overseas purchases, followed by Australia (48 percent) and China (35 percent).  Respondents from Singapore (US$1,892), Japan (US$1,827) and India (US$887) were the region's highest spenders on cross-border e-commerce.

Thirty-five percent of all internet shoppers in the region have made overseas online purchases and there are a growing number of  websites such as which allow Visa cardholders in the Asia Pacific to take advantage of deals at online stores in the US and UK and have their purchases shipped to them.

Source: Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor
Source: Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor