Smartphone shoppers cite convenience, on-the-go mobility and availability of mobile shopping apps

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Singapore, 29 July 2015 – MasterCard’s Mobile Shopping Survey found that a third of respondents in Singapore with mobile internet access made a mobile shopping purchase in 2014 (36.7%), an increase compared to 2013 (31.4%).

The prevalence of mobile shopping apps (30.8%) has emerged as one of the top three reasons why Singapore residents shop on their mobile devices, alongside convenience (51.0%) and on-the-go mobility (44.3%). This finding is in line with the region, where nearly half of the respondents across Asia Pacific (49.5%) cited convenience as the most compelling reason for smartphone shopping. Two-thirds of Asia Pacific respondents also cited similar motivating factors including the ability to shop even while on the move (43.9%) and the growing availability of apps that make it easy to shop online (39.5%).

The top three items bought through mobile phones in Singapore have remained unchanged for the past three years (2012-2014). In order of ranking for 2014, they are: Clothing and fashion accessories, coupons from deal sites, and movie tickets. Mobile purchases of coupons from deal sites dipped slightly in 2014 compared to the previous two years when these had been the top purchase.

In addition to using their mobile phones to make purchases, savvy shoppers in the region and Singapore are also using it to compare prices between physical and online stores. The instant connectivity that the mobile phone affords enables consumers to immediately obtain information to get the best available deal, be it online or offline.

Close to half (Asia Pacific 44.5%; Singapore 49.2%) of the respondents surveyed (or interviewed) have conducted price comparisons between online and offline retailers, with a similar proportion (Asia Pacific 44.2%; Singapore 45.4%) also stating that they have conducted research online prior to making a purchase in-store. Furthermore, a third of Singapore shoppers also reach for their mobile phones to conduct research and price comparisons while at the brick-and-mortar store itself to validate their purchase decision (31.9%). Close to a quarter (22.5%) of respondents also indicated that they avoided certain stores and restaurants because of bad reviews they saw online.

In a strong sign of digital convergence and how mainstream online shopping has become, the survey shows that 32% feel that online shopping is the same as shopping in physical stores with 50% revealing that shopping online is “essential”. The entire online shopping experience has also been made simpler and more secure with the introduction of digital payment platforms including MasterCard’s MasterPass, which stores card information to complete online transactions in a seamless and secure manner.

“What consumers value the most are convenience, on-the-go mobility and ease of use. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers seeking to expand online would be well-placed to capture the e-commerce pie if they develop an online interface optimised for both desktop and mobile. This ensures a seamless online shopping experience from browsing to payments, so that shoppers do not abandon their shopping cart due to difficulties at checkout such as page loading errors and difficulties in making payment,” said Deborah Heng, group head and general manager, MasterCard Singapore.

Raj Dhamodharan, Group Head, Emerging Payments, Asia Pacific, MasterCard commented, “Increased Smartphone ownership is having a massive impact on the way people in Asia Pacific shop and spend. But as payment methods become increasingly diverse and information is stored on more and more devices it is crucial that people feel their data is safe and secure. MasterCard works tirelessly to provide that peace of mind, leading the way in innovation and security in the areas of EMV, end-to-end encryption, tokenization and authentication, to name a few. Our digital payment solution, MasterPass, is the best way to pay on the smartphone as it provides consumers a safe and simple way to speed up the checkout process. Meanwhile brands and online shopping portals need to ensure easy and simple ways to browse and pay, as convenience remains paramount to consumers whether they are shopping on their phones or in-store.”

The MasterCard Mobile Shopping Survey results are based on interviews that took place between October and December 2014, with a minimum of 500 people aged 18-64, in each of the 14 markets surveyed[1].

Detailed findings for Asia Pacific:

  • Overall, consumers from China (70.1%), India (62.9%) and Taiwan (62.6%) are the most likely to shop using their smartphones.
  • In terms of the biggest growth in mobile shopping, Taiwan and India lead the region with the number of people shopping on smartphones more than doubling over two years – Taiwan went from 28.2% in 2012 to 62.6% in 2014 while India went from 30.3% in 2012 to 62.9% in 2014. Malaysia also recorded significant growth – up from 25.4% in 2012 to 45.6% in 2014.
  • Nearly half of the respondents across Asia Pacific (49.5%) cited convenience as the most compelling reason for shopping on their smartphone. Other motivating factors include the ability to shop on the go (43.9%) and the growing availability of apps that make it easy to shop online (39.5%).
  • The most popular mobile shopping purchases amongst Asia Pacific shoppers include clothing and accessories (27.9%), followed by apps (21.2%) and daily deal coupons (19.2%). More than one-third of Chinese (37.4%) and Korean (36.0%) consumers shop for clothing and accessories on their smartphone. Meanwhile, apps top the list of items Thai (33.8%) and Vietnamese (31.8%) shoppers purchased using smartphones.
  • Asia Pacific consumers are also adopting new mobile technologies, with 27.9% of respondents saying that they use mobile banking apps. Group buying apps (40.3%) and digital wallets (28.5%) are the most popular amongst Chinese consumers.


MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Index suite in Asia Pacific includes the long-running MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement, MasterCard Survey on Online Shopping, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardAP and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Lynette Lioe, Weber Shandwick,, +65 6825 8006

Appendix: Data

% of respondents who have made a purchase using a smartphone: 

MasterCard Mobile Shopping Survey

2014 2013 2012
Asia Pacific 45.6 38.6 35.4
Korea 53.8 47.6 40.2
China 70.1 59.4 54.1
Thailand 58.8 51.2 51.0
Hong Kong 38.2 40.0 40.9
Taiwan 62.6 45.2 28.2
Singapore 36.7 31.4 39.8
Vietnam 45.2 34.9 33.7
Indonesia 54.9 46.7 54.5
India 62.9 47.1 30.3
Malaysia 45.6 31.5 25.4
Philippines 34.0 32.8 21.4
Japan 25.8 22.9 25.8
New Zealand 20.7 15.0 18.2
Australia 19.6 24.8 18.7


[1] Thailand, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Malaysia. New Zealand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, India. Philippines.