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Global E-commerce Trends Reports cover 13 e-commerce markets in the Asia-Pacific region highlighting the unique regulatory, cultural and logistical challenges that global brands may encounter across this widespread geographic area. Compared to the Americas and Europe, Asia-Pacific countries have greater variability in terms of locally preferred e-commerce payment methods and cross-border shopping. Merchants with the ability to anticipate and adapt to change could gain a competitive edge in the region.
In Australia, e-commerce continues to grow at a steady pace with domestic brands dominating the market and consumers showing a strong preference to pay with cards. Mobile, cross-border and buy now, pay later are on the rise as consumers show a willingness to adopt new shopping and payment methods.
China is a world-leading e-commerce market that boasts huge sales volumes, high innovation and a vibrant social and mobile commerce environment. A rising middle-class could use their digital wallets to drive double-digit e-commerce growth through 2024. Cross-border merchants need to remain aware of China’s unique import and tax rules.
Hong Kong represents a digitally sophisticated region that has yet to adopt e-commerce as broadly as adjacent markets. To date physical shopping experiences are preferred to e-commerce among Hong Kong’s consumers. When Hong Kong consumers do shop online, many times it is with international merchants and they most frequently pay with cards.
India’s massive population represent huge e-commerce growth potential, particularly for international brands that have mastered mobile commerce. Digital wallets are Indian consumers’ preferred e-commerce payment method. Import duty and consumer protection legislation is evolving to strengthen and protect the local market.
As the adoption of mobile technology continues to rise, Indonesia could provide some compelling opportunities for international merchants. The country’s dispersed geographic nature does present some logistical challenges that are yet to be fully addressed. Among Indonesian consumers, cards and bank transfers are the most common form of e-commerce payment.
The Japanese e-commerce market is large and quick to adopt technological innovation. The country has a robust digital infrastructure and adoption of online and mobile technology is advanced. In spite of this, Japanese consumers are cautious online spenders. International merchants should pay close attention to the unique cultural preferences of consumers in Japan.
While digitally sophisticated, Malaysia has unique logistical challenges that can inhibit the adoption and growth of e-commerce across the country. When they do shop online, Malaysians show a strong preference for mobile commerce. Social media is highly influential with “conversational commerce” driving sales that are most frequently completed through bank transfers.
Consumers in New Zealand’s well-established e-commerce market are thoughtful and pragmatic, leading to the popularity of ethical shopping and buy now, pay later. Cross-border shopping takes a significant share of the country’s e-commerce spending.
Philippine consumers are digital natives that have been paradoxically slow to adopt online shopping. The global pandemic may have heralded a shift as online sales rose significantly due to necessity. Mobile and desktop shopping are equally popular among Philippine consumers, with cash still playing an important role in e-commerce transactions.
Singapore’s consumers are driving steady e-commerce growth as physical retail continues to remain popular. Omnichannel experiences could grow in popularity as a result of the island nation’s compact and urban nature. Cross-border e-commerce far outweighs domestic shopping, making Singapore a target of overseas merchants.
In South Korea, ubiquitous internet connectivity and economically empowered consumers are positioning the nation to become a leading e-commerce market. Mobile commerce dominates total online commerce in South Korea. Consumers here prefer to pay with cards with the biggest ticket transactions being done with domestic merchants.
Taiwan’s consumers are generally attracted to fast, local and conversational e-commerce experiences enabled by mobile devices. Cards are the preferred method of payment, followed by bank transfers and digital wallets. When price is a top concern, Taiwanese will look to large international platforms to maximize value.
In Thailand, social and mobile commerce drove double-digit e-commerce growth in 2020. Thai consumers’ payment preferences equally span bank transfers, cards, cash and digital wallets. About one-third of total e-commerce volume is cross-border, led by demand for Chinese products.
E-commerce growth in Vietnam is set for world-leading growth as a result of a rising middle class. Mobile and social commerce are in the rise in both urban and rural areas. Card and cash are the most popular e-commerce payment methods in Vietnam and cross-border sales are quite strong.
Like the Asia-Pacific region, Europe is a diverse and evolving region in terms of cultural and socioeconomic trends. The EU is leading the effort to bring regulatory consistency across the countries featured on our report series. Success in Europe requires merchants to stay abreast of evolving rules related to consumer privacy and unique shopping and payment preferences across the region.
Austria’s e-commerce growth is beginning to pick up pace with cross-border shopping taking the lead. To date, Austrians have been relatively slow to take up mobile commerce. Austria is a highly-banked nation in which cards are the preferred e-commerce payment method.
In Belgium, consumers have thus far been cautious in adopting online shopping, but the country is poised for future growth across mobile and desktop channels. Cards are Belgians’ preferred
e-commerce payment method. The Belgian state postal service has ambitions of becoming the European e-commerce delivery leader.
The Czech Republic is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in Europe. Cash, card and bank transfer equally represent preferred e-commerce payment methods. Cross-border sales are currently a small percent of total e-commerce sales, though international merchants do not currently face significant barriers to market entry.
Denmark offers consumers one of the world’s most seamless physical and digital experiences, so even in this well-established market, e-commerce growth continues. Cards are the preferred method of payment for e-commerce purchases. Cross-border merchants should be prepared to meet the high demand of Danish consumers.
Environmentally-conscious, Finland appears to be measured in its discretionary spending. Overall e-commerce growth is expected to slow through 2024 with mobile commerce continuing to grow at a steady rate. Domestic networks drive the popularity of bank transfers for
e-commerce payments. Germany is the preferred cross-border e-commerce market.
France is a highly-regulated, yet high-spending e-commerce market that seamlessly blends digital and physical customer experiences—though adoption of mobile commerce has been relatively slow. Cards are by far the most common form of payment for e-commerce purchases. For those willing and able to follow the rules, France presents great opportunity for international merchants.
Germany is among the largest e-commerce markets in Europe and is served by domestic and cross-border merchants alike. German consumers have extremely high standards for quality and value and thoroughly research merchandise prior to purchase. Buy now, pay later is very popular among German consumers followed by digital wallets and direct debit payments.
Ireland is a nation of confident desktop and mobile e-commerce shoppers who eagerly embrace digital innovation. Cross-border spending currently makes up more than half of total e-commerce spending. Among the Irish, cards are the most favored e-commerce payment method followed by digital wallets.
After a difficult 2020, Italian e-commerce growth appears to be getting back on track, driven by cross-border sales and the popularity of travel, fashion and electronics. After decades of cash being the preferred method of payment, digital payment methods are now heavily supported and promoted by the Italian government. Social media and mobile commerce are increasingly important ways to connect and transact with younger Italians.
Though geographically small, Luxembourg may offer big opportunities for international brands. Slow-but-steady e-commerce growth is being driven in part by the surging popularity of mobile commerce. Domestic bank transfers are the top e-commerce method of payment in a country where cross-border shopping dominates.
Norwegian consumers are digitally sophisticated and show a strong preference for cross-border shopping and card payments. Mobile and social commerce provide excellent opportunities to connect and transact with consumers in this strong and growing market.
Consumers in the Netherlands have thus far demonstrated a preference for domestic
e-commerce marketplaces and have been relatively slow to adopt mobile and social commerce. The country’s world-leading logistical capabilities could create the potential for significant cross-border e-commerce sales in the future.
In Poland, e-commerce is positioned for growth, driven by simplified access to fashion, travel, electronics and media. The leading local e-commerce platform is facing new competition from Amazon as both strive to connect and transact with Polish consumers who are willing and able to shop and buy in new ways.
In Portugal, e-commerce is set for steady growth through 2024. Mobile apps are preferred to desktop browsers for e-commerce shopping and open invoice is Portugal’s top online payment method. The majority of Portuguese shoppers have made at least one purchase from another country.
The global pandemic significantly changed the way the Spanish shop—and likely for the long-term. Online shopping, particularly for groceries, rapidly increased in 2020. The popularity of mobile technology is set to make Spain a mobile-first e-commerce market in which cards are the dominant payment method.
Sweden has steadily growing e-commerce sales with domestic merchants thus far outpacing the giant international brands. In 2021, only 20 percent of e-commerce transactions were cross-border. Sweden is recognized as the birthplace of buy-now, pay later where the practice, along with bank transfers, continue to grow in popularity.
Switzerland represents a digitally confident and economically empowered e-commerce market where desktop shopping dominates. A multilingual nation, the Swiss prefer to use bank transfers when making e-commerce purchases enabled by SwissPost. Sustainability and ethical supply chains are matters of importance to Swiss consumers.
Turkey represents much potential for domestic and international merchants as consumers begin to warm to the convenience of online and mobile commerce, particularly so-called “super apps.” Turkish regulators are keen to protect consumers from misleading advertisers and influencers. Cards are the dominant form of e-commerce payment and major online shopping events are increasing in popularity.
The UK is a stable and growing e-commerce market in which consumers are willing and able to adopt new ways to shop and pay. UK consumers have very high expectations for quality before, during and after every shopping and payment experience. Cross-border e-commerce is
well-established and continues to grow.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.P. Morgan, its affiliates, or its employees. The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the author nor J.P. Morgan makes any representations or warranties as to the information’s accuracy or completeness. The information contained herein has been provided solely for informational purposes and does not constitute an offer, solicitation, advice or recommendation, to make any investment decisions or purchase any financial instruments, and may not be construed as such.
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