Mobile payments in Vietnam fastest growing globally, Thailand emerges second in Southeast Asia

Ploy Ten Kate Head of Brand and Communications, PwC Thailand

Mobile payments in Vietnam fastest growing globally,Thailand emerges second in Southeast Asia  

  • Mobile payments usage in Vietnam had a 24 percentage point increase from 37% to 61%
  • Social media influence on purchasing decisions stronger on consumers in Asian territories than those in Europe and the Americas
  • Trend in online shopping lies in the consolidation of e-commerce players in SEA

Vietnam has seen the highest growth in mobile payments in the past year, according to the Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019 conducted by PwC.

The survey, which had over 21,000 respondents from 27 territories, showed that the percentage of consumers using these services in Vietnam increased to 61%, up from 37% in 2018. The 24 percentage point increase was also the largest in the six Southeast Asian countries that took part in the survey.

Thailand was ranked second (up 19 percentage points to 67%) in Southeast Asia, followed by third Malaysia (17 percentage points to 40%), fourth Philippines (14 percentage points to 45%), and fifth Singapore (12 percentage points to 46%), respectively. Indonesia’s increase in the usage of mobile payments was the least (9 percentage points to 47%).

In the Middle East, which was the second fastest growing in mobile payments adoption globally after Vietnam, the percentage increased by 20 percentage points to 45%. China remain unchanged at 86%. Across all territories, 34% of consumers paid for purchases using mobile payments, up from 24% a year earlier.

Shirish Jain, payments director, PwC Strategy&, said of the Southeast Asia landscape: “Asia remains the powerhouse in leading the customer shift to mobile payments with eight Asian nations in the top 10, and six are in Southeast Asia, as the results show. Vietnam, with its relatively low penetration in 2018, has registered the highest growth as mobile platforms demonstrate a significant increase in convenience over traditional means of commerce.

“This contrasts with Singapore that also shows strong gains. However, the sophisticated and established traditional ecosystem, as well as abundant and potentially confusing number of choices in mobile payments can also slow down adoption,” he added.

Mr Jain said this finding highlights a timely confluence of four principal factors: stages of economic growth cycles driving affluence and disposable income; the availability of platforms that address local demographic needs including support for cash-on-delivery; the lower cost for retailers and providers; and a marked increase in convenience.

According to the survey, consumers in Asia are more socially engaged online than those in Europe and the Americas. Respondents in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam led the pack globally in making purchases directly through social media posts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, with 50%, 49% and 48% of survey respondents indicating they do so, respectively.

Globally, only 21% of respondents made purchases directly through social media. Among product and service categories, the survey found that social media is most likely to affect purchasing decisions related to fashion.

Charles Loh, Southeast Asia Consumer and Industrial Products Consulting Leader, PwC Singapore, said: “The maturity of social media is here in Southeast Asia. The trend in online shopping, moving forward, is the consolidation of e-commerce players where Lazada seems to be the one providing that gateway. In Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, we have consumers using Lazada, while in Indonesia, people turn to Tokopedia. There seems to be a consolidator in every market.”

In the survey, 9% of global consumers said they use voice technology to shop online weekly or more frequently. As shopping by voice continues to catch on, companies should be thinking beyond mobile to consider how voice technology in homes, cars, and elsewhere will affect customer experience. The bar for brand leadership will continue to shift as organisations launch increasingly consumer-friendly technologies.

“Voice technology is widely used in instant messaging communication platforms. It's only a matter of time we adopt it here in Southeast Asia,” Mr Loh said.

Vilaiporn Taweelappontong, Consulting Lead Partner, PwC Thailand, said: “It isn’t a surprise that Thailand is one of the leading countries with fast-growing mobile payments in Southeast Asia. The e-commerce market landscape is attracting great interest among Thai consumers. Another major factor is Thailand’s use of social media, which also ranks among the top markets in the world. This has, without a question, prompted both large and small retailers to tap into the online shopping market, including competing on promotions and offering discounts to get customers. Thai banks have scrapped digital transaction fees, helping to stimulate growth of online payments.

“That said, online payment security is still a major concern, as this is key to building trust and brand loyalty from customers. Retailers should also study new online shopping platforms via technologies such as voice assistant or AI to create a better online shopping experience for their customers,” she said.

Ends.

Download the report series at www.pwc.com/consumerinsights

About Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019

The survey was conducted from August 2018 through October 2018. Respondents in each territory were chosen to reflect their nation’s or location’s profiles in terms of age, gender, employment status and region. The 2019 study includes Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Ireland, Hungary, Malaysia, the Middle East, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK, the US and Vietnam. Survey questions were translated and made available in 19 languages.

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