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Consumer e-Commerce Spending in Asia Pacific to Hold Steady

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Unfazed by challenging economic conditions, online spending as reported by consumers in Asia Pacific in the last quarter of 2008 held steady compared with the previous two quarters, according to the Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor.

The survey found that respondents spent an average of US$3,109 in the past year (ended December 2008). This figure is close to the reported average e-commerce spend of US$3,009 and US$2,784 for the 12 months ended June and September 2008 respectively.

According to the survey, online shoppers from Singapore (US$4,018), Hong Kong (US$3,791) and India (US$3,442) reported to have spent the most in the 12 months ended December 2008.

Online spending in these countries and territories also saw the largest quarter-on-quarter increases. Those from Hong Kong said they spent more than double what they had spent in the previous survey period while spending in India and Singapore rose by 42% and 34% respectively.

Mohamad Hafidz, regional head, e-commerce, Asia Pacific, Visa, said, Our survey shows that online shopping appears to be resilient in the uncertain economy. As consumers are expected to keep a close eye on their finances, the ability to browse a wide range of retail offerings to compare prices and seek cheaper buys on the internet seems to be leading budget conscious consumers to shop online.

Among the categories surveyed, the top three biggest online spend areas were all travel related services. According to the survey, the highest areas of spending in the past 12 months were airline/airline tickets (US$970), online travel agents (US$647) and travel accommodation (US$527).

Cross-border transactions over the internet were reported to have risen in all the countries and territories surveyed.

According to the average spend per transaction as reported by respondents taking the survey, cross-border online spending rose by nearly 40% from US$263 in Q3 2008 to US$368 in Q4 2008. On average, respondents said they spent US$316 in the past 12 months on cross- border transactions.

 Respondents from Japan(US$517) said they spent the most on cross-border purchases, followed by Singapore (US$372) and India (US$350).

The trend to shop online looks set to continue with 81% of respondents stating they were likely to shop online again in the next 12 months with respondents from Korea (96%), Japan (90%) and Australia (83%) the most likely to make purchases online in the region.

Hafidz added, With four in five respondents (81%) indicating that they would shop online in the next 12 months, our Visa survey gives some guidance to online retailers who would like to attract and retain customers. Whether it is to showcase their best deals online or to instill confidence in their customers by displaying signs of good website security, such tactics should be considered by online retailers looking to increase their e-commerce volumes.

The Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Q2-Q4 2008. From April to December 2008, Ipsos conducted 9,142 online interviews on behalf of Visa with internet users (those who access the internet at least once a week) aged 18 to 49 years from six countries and territories (Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia and India) in an effort to measure their online usage behaviors. All figures in this survey are based on amounts as reported by respondents.

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