Localization is the Key to Long-term Growth in APAC

Recent research about the financial habits and payment method preferences of consumers across APAC has shown that the use of alternative payment methods (APMs) has greatly increased.

Recent research about the financial habits and payment method preferences of consumers across APAC has shown that the use of alternative payment methods (APMs) has greatly increased.

However, the results across the APAC countries – India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand – are somewhat different in terms of frequency of purchases through online and brick-and-mortar channels, consumers’ attitudes to new financial and payment technologies, and payment method preferences.

While it is clear that the popularity of APMs has grown in the APAC, the findings by country reveal a more complex picture. Creating frictionless payment experiences means understanding these differences. Merchants must determine which solutions will make the biggest impact per market.

In Singapore, 60% of people shop cross-border. In South Korea, it’s 50.4% of consumers, while in Thailand 50% of respondents prefer international shopping. In India, cross-border spending makes up 74% of total ecommerce sales, while only 4% of people in Indonesia have international credit cards and often possess pre-set debit cards that disable online payments in order to prevent fraud.

The big revelation is the increasing appetite for new technologies in other APAC markets. Smartphone penetration and Internet connectivity remain higher in developed APAC countries: Smartphone penetration is at 22% in India, while Internet penetration is at 50%. Meanwhile, the numbers are 46.8% and 90% in Japan. 

Additionally, the growth of e-wallets and bank transfers has dramatically shifted, likely been driven by the pandemic. In Singapore, e-wallets and bank transfers such as PayNow are preferred by 42% of shoppers. In India, 83% of people said they used Visa credit cards in the month before the survey. it has been outpaced by Paytm, a digital/mobile wallet used by 85% of those polled. 

What does this mean for merchants? A blanket approach to payment solutions for APAC consumers can never work.

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