Asia accounts for 45.7% of global internet users. There are high levels of smartphone penetration in the region (as high as 87% in Singapore), and 43% of Asian traffic comes from mobile devices. However, despite these high levels of connectivity, only a quarter of Asian adults have ever made an online purchase.
Outside of the main Asian cities, consumers access the internet primarily via mobile phones due to poor broadband connectivity. Social media is a key influencer driving 30% of Singapore’s online sales. However, the total number of sales is low and in Singapore, mobile commerce penetration is just 23%. Despite high internet and mobile adoption figures, Asian ecommerce is still in its infancy.
Why is mobile commerce so low in an environment where mobile is king?
Logistics are a big issue. Unlike China, many other Asian markets don’t have suitable regional logistical infrastructure in place. Most Asian markets are still in the early adopter phase of ecommerce and there is a lack of trust amongst consumers. But given the audience’s warm reception to digital content, brands that nurture appropriate touchpoints with quality content publishers, such as bloggers, will build trust that will drive adoption.
Opportunities for European brands
Asian markets offer a huge opportunity for European brands that have existing fulfilment services in the region. Brands with English language websites can easily expand their offering into Asian markets by increasing the reach of their performance marketing programmes. As it becomes harder to locate new traffic sources, Asian consumers could offer a huge boost in traffic and sales for European brands.
Asian shoppers are less price sensitive than European consumers are, when shopping online they focus on choice and convenience. The online shopping market is fragmented, consumers are not loyal to specific ecommerce platforms, and this presents an opportunity for brands entering Asian markets to establish their presence and shape this emerging sector.
Compared to other more established ecommerce markets, consumers in Asia are highly influenced by digital content, making them a ripe audience for the performance channel that both nurtures the sales funnel with content rich advertising and highly targeted messaging and offers.
Making the move with the right strategy
Although there are huge rewards to be gained, simply replicating a European strategy won’t cut it. Best practices that have been established in Europe should guide entry, but local expertise is key to developing the right strategy to gain market share. For example, unlike the common pay upon order model Europe is familiar with, a third of Asian consumers prefer to pay ‘cash on delivery’. Developing a fulfilment method that facilitates this option could be the golden ticket to win in this market.
If you would like to find out more about how you can tap into Asia’s emerging ecommerce sector, to drive incremental traffic and sales via your performance marketing channel, we have a team based in our Singapore office who can advise you. From taking your first steps into Asian markets or optimising your current digital marketing activities, get in touch.