Mumbai: The way we shop is changing and how we pay is evolving. As COVID-19 alters our daily lives, consumers in India and across Asia Pacific are rapidly going digital with purchases of everything from groceries to movies in a shift that looks set to become a permanent habit after the pandemic passes, Mastercard research shows.
E-commerce and contactless payments continue to grow in popularity as people make the move to digital by default and we reduce our use of cash, according to an ongoing study by Mastercard in multiple markets around the world that analyzes the impact of current and future consumer behavior. Shopping in India has also shifted to online as 86% of people feel that hygiene concerns are here to stay.
Indian insights show a rapid shift in preferences:
- E-commerce is on the rise with 49% of Indians planning to make more purchases online
- At the same time, 68% of Indian consumers think less in-store shopping is here to stay – the highest recorded across the markets surveyed
- In Asia Pacific, 46% of consumers say they plan to use cashless often, including 49% in India
- A large majority in India (77%) believe the shift to contactless payments is here to stay
The shift is underway globally as almost six in 10 consumers say the move to digital payments is likely to be permanent and nearly half plan to use cashless even after the pandemic passes.
“Our shift to digital commerce is here to stay as people embrace the benefits of safety, security and convenience. Consumers now want on-demand products and services – whether it’s food delivery, groceries, fitness courses, telemedicine, conferencing, learning or entertainment. This demand and these expectations will continue to drive e-commerce long after COVID-19 subsides,” said Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Products & Innovation, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.
“As communities and economies emerge from the pandemic, the new consumer mindset sends a clear signal to merchants of all shapes and sizes that online shopping and touch-free transactions are essential to building the business and ensuring customer loyalty now and in the future.” He added.
Allure of swift, simple and secure
The digital momentum created by greater internet access, the proliferation of smart devices and growing e-commerce is transforming how consumers buy and merchants sell. As lines blur between physical and digital, consumers now expect shopping experiences to be fast, simple and whenever they want. For businesses, the shift is changing how they must think about every part of the process – from customer interaction and retention to inventory, production and logistics.
With people concerned about safety and many stores shut during the COVID-19 outbreak, digital commerce revenues grew 20% globally in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Salesforce Shopping Index. As we make digital by default a lasting habit, the Mastercard study highlights the need for businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, to move into e-commerce and have an online presence during and after the pandemic.
The latest survey underscores the movement to contactless after a Mastercard study in April showed that 79 percent of people worldwide and 91 percent in Asia Pacific were using tap-and-go payments. Citing safety and cleanliness, 74 percent of people globally and 75 percent in Asia Pacific said they would keep using contactless after the pandemic is over.
Designing and delivering the digital future
Mastercard adopted a drive into digital commerce many years before COVID-19 to maximize options and convenience for consumers in how and where they shop and pay – by tapping a card on a contactless terminal in a shop, using an e-wallet on a smartphone, making a purchase online or seamlessly transferring money and paying bills. With the focus on safety and security, Mastercard’s mission is to provide a fast, frictionless payment experience that is protected at every step.
Even before the pandemic, consumers in Asia Pacific were leading the way in digital by default globally. That is why, instead of just supporting physical cards with digital experiences, Mastercard has been designing digital products from the ground up.
Recently in India, Mastercard, Axis Bank and Worldline launched Soft POS, an app that transforms smartphones into point-of-sale terminals to give merchants and consumers the simplicity and security of contactless payments. For merchants of all sizes, Mastercard has a range of solutions and services in e-commerce, payments, cybersecurity, fraud protection, data analytics and productivity to help businesses thrive in the changing business environment.
Mastercard proprietary study conducted between April 27 and May 17 with a total of 6,750 adults interviewed across 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Russia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.