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.”