E-commerce growth in Asia-Pacific

Online grocery shopping is not a new trend; however, the development of the industry is something that varies significantly on a country-by-country basis. This market is also being impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic as many consumers look for new safe ways in which they can get their shopping. As the concept of online grocery shopping continues to grow amongst consumers for a variety of factors, it is crucial that retailers and brands understand what benefits are associated with online shopping, and how this can be expanded on to attract footfall of new shoppers. So, are consumers in Asia-Pacific turning to online platforms?


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on consumers decision making process when addressing their shopping habits. In Asia-Pacific, 72% of the consumers are concerned of a second wave which could impact their daily routine. A FMCG Gurus research revealed that six in 10 consumers are concerned about the virus being spread by other people in physical stores. This is especially true in relation to other shoppers, with consumers feeling that many may neglect safety guidelines put in place. This concern has led to 71% of Asia-Pacific consumers stating they are more willing to shop online.

However, when asked, only around one in 10 consumers expressed that they are now purchasing more food and drink online, something that indicates a significant attitude and behaviour gap amongst shoppers. Still a significant majority of consumers state they shop in-store even though they are concerned about the virus. One of the main reasons for this is that 68% of Asia-Pacific consumers want to physically evaluate the product they are buying. This shows that there is still the belief that online retailers will often send consumers the lower quality products, or products nearing use-by dates to avoid products having to be thrown away and classified as waste.

Of the consumers who said that they shop online for products to some extent, approximately six in 10 said that they had been doing so for less than a year. This shows that many consumers are relatively new to the online shopping channel. FMCG Gurus consumer insights highlighted that of these consumers, 63% have been satisfied with the online delivery service. One area in which consumers are happy with the e-commerce service is the quality of products delivered. This indicates that if consumers switch back to shopping in physical stores, it is because they prefer that process, as opposed to being dissatisfied with the services of online retailers.

Although a large majority of consumers who shop online are satisfied with the service, there are still areas in which where online retailers can improve on this. FMCG Gurus research revealed that 76% of Asia-Pacific consumers would like to see cheaper prices online. This is an area which has been heightened by the recession brought because of COVID-19. Furthermore, this will make initiatives, such as price match guarantees, of high appeal in the online channel as consumers look to save money on food and beverage purchases.


Will Cowling is marketing manager at FMCG Gurus.