Thailand Leads Southeast Asia’s Growth in Online and Mobile Purchasing; Survey Finds Rise of Mobile Shopping in Emerging Markets

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Singapore, 11 April 2012 – The gap in online shopping between established and growth markets is narrowing in Asia/Pacific largely due to increased enthusiasm for mobile shopping in South East Asia markets, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey.

The survey, which serves as a benchmark that measures consumers’ propensity to shop online, was conducted across 25 markets between 5 December 2011 and 6 February 2012. The report for the Asia/ Pacific[1]region included interviews with 7,373 respondents from 14 markets who were asked questions about their online shopping habits. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance.MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey Asia Pacific

In terms of online shopping and purchase intent, the results show that once again, the gap is closing for online shopping in Asia/ Pacific markets between the “mature” and “emerging” markets. Thailand leads the pack both in terms of online shopping (80%) and likelihood to make an online purchase in the next six months (93%), alongside China.  Korea (84%) and Malaysia (79%) also show high intent to purchase over the next six months, with Vietnam also showing similarly high intent to purchase (87%) despite a low percentage of people using the internet for online shopping (61%).

Overall, big increases occurred in Thailand (+13%), Australia (+10%), Indonesia (+15%), New Zealand (+9) and the Philippines (+15) in terms of online shopping, with declines recorded in India (-14%), Singapore (-10%), and Korea (-17%); although the latter still had high intent to purchase (84%).

In keeping with the Southeast Asian theme of growth in this space, Vietnam, which was introduced into the study this year, boasts an index score comparable to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Rise of Mobile Shopping

Although a  majority (71%) of respondents said they would rather use their laptop for shopping, the mobile phone is rising rapidly as the device of choice for Asian shoppers in emerging markets, with respondents in Thailand (59%), China (37%), Vietnam (32%) and India (32%) all leading more established markets.

Among the reasons given for using the mobile for shopping, most said it was more convenient (57%) and also cited the growing availability of apps that make it easier to do (46%). Music (24%) and apps (31%) topped the list among those who have made purchases through their mobile phones, followed by coupon deal sites (17%), retailers for clothing and accessories (17%), and cinema (16%).

“This survey shows that the markets once considered to be emerging in South East Asia are now in fact challenging—and in some cases overtaking—traditional and mature online markets in the region,” said Philip Yen, Group Head, Emerging Payments, Asia Pacific Middle East Africa at MasterCard Worldwide.

“On top of this, smart phones are gradually becoming the trusted device of choice for shoppers in our region and MasterCard is continually innovating to ensure convenience and security for consumers when they purchase online.”

Through the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership, MasterCard is working with preferred platform partners Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba to enable consumers to purchase goods and services via their mobile phones at millions of bricks and mortar and online merchants worldwide, as well as transfer funds and pay bills.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the 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 Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a global payments and technology company. It operates 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 @MasterCardNews, join the conversation on The Heart of Commerce Blog and subscribe for the latest news.


Georgette Tan, MasterCard Worldwide,, (65) 6390-5971

Rob O’Brien, Weber Shandwick, (65) 6825 8064

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