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Social shopping surges globally

Thais show love of social shopping with 65% of Thais recommending products on social media sites

Today Rakuten, the world’s third largest e-commerce marketplace and owner of Thailand marketplace Rakuten TARAD.com, releases insights from their E-commerce Index, an independent global survey into shopping trends. The E-commerce Index shows that consumer interest in social shopping is up around the world, with almost half of consumers (45%) actively recommending products on social media sites. Southeast Asian nations led the way in social shopping with those in Thailand (65%), Malaysia (67%) and Indonesia (78%) the most likely to share their recommendations among the countries surveyed.

However, despite the strong social sharing habits, each of these countries had the lowest average online spend with less than $300 per person across all nations. The research found that the average spend across all markets surveyed was $725 per person over 2012. The survey found large differences between countries, with the UK leading the way spending an average of $1,700, while at the other end of the spectrum Thais only spent around $243 per person in 2012.

E-Commerce Index: online spend per person

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Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, Managing Director and Founder, Rakuten Tarad.com, commented: “At Rakuten’s Tarad.com we have seen nearly 200 fold growth in traffic from social networks over the last 12 months, which is a trend highlighted by the research. Social is set to become increasingly important in the coming years. Research firm Gartner predicted earlier this year that 50 per cent of information on new customers will be based on social network identities, such as ‘login with Facebook’, by the end of 2015, which is up from less than 5 percent today. As an industry we need to build consumer confidence in social shopping platforms, as well as allowing shoppers to easily share content through these channels.”

Mobile vs. in-store vs. online
When it comes to shopping on mobile, Indonesians continue to be the most mobile shoppers, with 14 per cent of consumers reporting that they mostly shop online using a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. Thai shoppers are close behind with more than one in ten consumers (12%) regularly using a mobile device to make online purchases. Top Western markets were the UK (12%), the US (10%), and Spain (9%).

Austria (46%) and Germany (46%) lead the way in preferring to stick with the bricks-and-mortar experience. However, the survey also found that consumers in Brazil and Taiwan prefer the shopping experience online to in-store (29% of Taiwanese and 26% of Brazilian respondents), while almost one in five Thai consumers (18%) recorded the same preference.

Pawoot added: “Whether online, on mobile, or in-store, consumers are coming to expect a high level of customer services and uniform brand experience across all available channels. It’s no longer enough to merely have a website that compliments you brick-and-mortar presence, they must ensure that they are offering shoppers all the information they require through their website or mobile offering as well.”

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