• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Majority Of Retail Consumers Shift Online: Report

Study of over 30,000 global online consumers shows that eCommerce spends in the 18 countries surveyed accounts for 50 per cent or higher of total sales

Photo Credit : Wunderman Thompson Commerce


Future Shopper Report

Social media investment in e-commerce and the increasing influence of retail marketplaces continue to drive consumer spending online with those surveyed globally saying that 57 per cent of their spend is currently online. 

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

One of the biggest changes after the  post-pandemic is the expectation and demands that consumers have of retailers. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours. The Asia-Pacific region leads the charge in these demands with 46 per cent of consumers in India expecting delivery in under 2 hours, Indonesia at 27 per cent and China and Thailand at 25 per cent.

These delivery expectations present a conundrum to retailers with 48 per cent of global consumers demanding faster delivery, while 68 per cent said that they wished that brands and retailers offered 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 sit at number one globally at 83 per cent, followed by Indonesia at number two (82 per cent), India at number three (81 per cent) and China at number five (71 per cent).  Australia and Japan were the least active in sustainable choices in the region, sitting at 46 per cent  and 38 per cent respectively.

Another challenge for online sellers looking to provide service and sustainability is that 23 per cent of everything that global shoppers order online is returned and almost four in 10 (39 per cent) admitted to over-ordering with the intention of returning unwanted items, presenting another dilemma for retailer’s digital supply chain.  The worst offenders for returns in the Asia- Pacific (APAC) region were consumers in India, sitting at the top of the global chart at 44 per cent. Yet, the least likely to return in the region was Japan at 13 per cent.

Indeed, consumers have a healthy appetite for retailers to invest in emerging tech trends, including cashless payments (58 per cent) and checkout-less supermarket services such as Amazon Go (64 per cent).

And the online world is creating enormous value for retailers, with 60 per cent of consumers planning to increase their usage of digital shopping channels. This has been driven by working from home (WFH), with 69 per cent of consumers saying they have shopped more online, and 62 per cent 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 etc. 64 per cent 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 per cent) already start their search on top marketplaces. 

While Amazon is at number one across Europe, United Kingdom, United States of America and United Arab Emirates, as one looks to the Asia-Pacific region they see more diversity, with more marketplaces vying for consumers, and social media platforms featuring heavily.

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

Thai consumers seem most engaged with social commerce (85 per cent), followed by India (80 per cent) and China (77 percent).

Aadit Bimbhet, Regional Commerce Director at Wunderman Thompson APAC, said, “The latest Future Shopper report validates the impact of the pandemic on digital. Covid-19 has accelerated digital adoption globally and in south-east Asia nearly 70 million new shoppers are estimated to have come online for the first time. 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 touchpoints and brands have to start enabling connected commerce experiences to efficiently acquire and retain shoppers. Furthermore, as competition for shoppers in APAC increases, delivering brand experiences that are consistent, cohesive, and engaging will be crucial to capturing the share of heart, mind, and wallet in the long run, added Bimbhet.

Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy, and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said, “TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, marketplaces and e-commerce more generally offer shoppers an instant way to engage with, and purchase from, their favourite products and services."

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 consumers’ cash as they choose where they shop, which brands to invest in and what digital services to use, added Fletcher.

Tags assigned to this article:
e-commerce online shopping social media