What distinguishes online-first shoppers from the average consumer in APAC?

Samuel TanAPAC Data Journalist / B2B Content Manager
February 13, 2023, 8:05 AM GMT+0

It’s no surprise that online shopping tends to attract younger and more tech-savvy consumers. But what distinguishes consumers who prefer buying things on the web than in physical stores?

New research from YouGov, an international online research data and analytics technology group, indicates that online-first shoppers do share certain traits – even across a region as diverse as APAC.

How does the popularity of online shopping vary across major APAC markets?

Latest data from YouGov Profiles – an audience segmentation tool that offers a connected dataset of over 2 million demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural consumer metrics – shows that more than half of consumers in Indonesia (56%) and Thailand (52%) prefer to buy things online rather in physical stores, while 44% of Taiwan’s consumers say the same. In all three markets, just one in seven consumers (14-15%) would rather shop in person.

On the other hand, less than a third of Hong Kong consumers (29%) prefer shopping online, while less than two-fifths in Singapore (38%) and Australia (40%) do. Notably, over a third of consumers in Hong Kong and Australia (both 34%) are more inclined to visit physical stores.

Clearly, Indonesia and Thailand provide a strong case for brands seeking to thrive in both markets’ competitive retail landscape to maintain a visible web presence and online shop capabilities.

What characteristics do online-first shoppers across APAC markets share?

#1: Eager for novel experiences

Online-first shoppers in Australia, Singapore and Thailand are more open to new products and brands than the average consumer in these markets. More than three in five (62%) online-first shoppers in Singapore and Thailand say they “like trying new brands”, compared to less than half (48%) of all consumers in both markets. Likewise, over half of online-first Australian shoppers say they “like to experiment with different products/brands” (53%) compared to less than a third of Australian consumers on average (32%).

Online-first shoppers are more likely to keep up with novel and unique experiences. More than half of Hong Kong consumers who prefer buying online say they are “always aware” of pop-up events around them (55%) versus less than two in five among shoppers in general. Similarly, most online-first shoppers in Taiwan seek experiences that will make for great social media content (56%) compared to under half of all Taiwanese consumers (47%).

Meanwhile, over two in five of Indonesian consumers (42%) say they are “excited to generally spend more when traveling”, but among online-first shoppers that rises to over half (51%).

Takeaway: Online shoppers are always on the look-out for something fresh and different that can enhance their lives. Brands should seek to constantly renew their e-shop inventories, to present novelty-hungry online shoppers innovative products that stand out from the competition.

#2: Enthusiastic about Augmented Reality (AR)

Across key APAC markets, online-first shoppers are significantly more interested in interacting with AR technology. In Thailand and Taiwan, more than two in three online-first shoppers feel AR will make online shopping more fun (69% and 66%) compared to less than three in five of consumers in general (59% and 58%).

In Hong Kong and Indonesia, just under half of all consumers are enthusiastic about AR (48% and 49%), but among online-first shoppers around three in five express agreement (62% and 58%).

Meanwhile, in Australia and Singapore over half of online-first shoppers welcome AR in enhancing the online shopping experience (55% and 54%), but only a third of consumers in general feel the same (33% and 31%).

Takeaway: Online shopping offers convenience and costs savings, but in store shopping is multisensory and experiential. Making e-commerce experiences more interactive, such as through the use of AR, can help brands draw in more online shoppers.

#3: Excited by out-of-home advertising

Online-first shoppers are also more likely to notice and act on out-of-home (OOH) advertisements – such as posters and billboards than the average consumer – and search for advertised products on their smartphone.

While a significant 60% of Indonesian consumers say they “often search for products and services on my phone as a result of seeing posters and billboards”, among online-first shoppers that rises to 68%.

In other key APAC markets, most online-first shoppers agree with this statement, compared to less than half of all consumers in each market.

Takeaway: Online shoppers don’t just roam the web for the best deals. They pay attention to offline, non-digital advertisements more than the average consumer, but prefer following up on new products and services with web searches from the convenience of their phone. Brands seeking to boost their e-commerce returns ought to look beyond digital marketing options.

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 16+ years in China and 18+ years in other markets. The sample sizes for YouGov Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from India and UAE, which use urban representative samples, and China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, which use online representative samples. Learn more about Profiles.

Cover Photo by Phiromya Intawongpan