The Asian markets have been largely ignored for many years because of the stereotype that these regions are not as comfortable shopping online as other parts of the world. However, in the last couple of years, analysts have begun to realize that the exact opposite is true: Asians love to shop online.
One of the biggest drawbacks that has kept this market in the dark for so many years is their lack of a reliable internet infrastructure, but that has also been rapidly changing recently as Asia has claimed the spot as the fastest growing region in the world in terms of online retail sales.
Asians go online to find products that are not available in their local retail stores. This means that these consumers are not as concerned about price as others that shop online. Instead, they are looking for variety. For this reason, most Asian e-commerce sites that do the best have large online catalogs of products to purchase.
Similar to the USA, most of Asia also sees women shop online more often than men, although the opposite is actually true in many of the developing countries here like India and the Philippines. The biggest spenders in the region come from China and Korea, while countries like Malaysia and Hong Kong are considered to be on the lower end of the spectrum.
One of the key things to remember about the Asian market is that you need to think in large volumes. Asia has one of the largest online markets in terms of internet users, but their sales have lagged behind because these users do not typically spend as much online each year as other consumers do in other parts of the world.
Since sales per consumer are lower here, it is important for marketers to ensure that they can reach a large number of people with their marketing efforts. On a positive note, there is one other area where Asia is leading with online retail sales: the percentage of internet users that actually shop online. Many countries in this region have 90% or higher rates, meaning that most internet users here actually do shop online.
Asians are fairly typical when it comes to their online purchases. They like to buy electronics, books, apparel, beauty supplies, videos, games, and groceries online. Electronics actually account for more than 20% of the total online retail sales annually in this region, so this particular category is heavily shopped here.
They also like online product reviews better than those in the USA, making it the preferred option to use when trying to refer sales here. Since shipping costs are typically high to this region, free shipping offers are actually one of the most successful but also least used tactics in this region.
A few of the regions rising stars have been discussed in more detail for this guide, but there are certainly more countries that are worth the effort here like Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and South Korea.