One e-payments study in July this year shows how consumers worldwide and in APAC shared or differed in shopping sentiments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the retail sector to its core and forced an abrupt change in global shopping habits and expectations. New data released by global payments platform Adyen has indicated that consumers have been quick to adapt to online channels.

While restrictions are easing, consumer behavior and expectations have changed, and retailers will need to evolve to stay competitive in the new normal.

To understand what people expect from shopping and dining experiences today, Adyen polled over 25,000 consumers across 16 countries. Some of the key findings of the online study:

  • Globally, 87% of respondents wanted retailers to maintain a cross-channel approach.
  • 76% would be more loyal to retailers that let them shop in-store and have items delivered later.
  • 74% said their expectations of retailers have increased as a result of the pandemic.
  • About 50% of unified commerce retailers saw transactions remaining consistent during the study period of 1–15 July 2020.
  • In-store shoppers, according to the Adyen payments platform, spent 40% more when they moved online during the study period.
  • 50% of Brazil respondents shopped online more, compared to the global average of 41%. Singapore was at 49%, Hong Kong 42% and Australia 27%.
  • The global average for physical-store advocates was 58%, with Australia at 72%, Hong Kong at 66%, the UK at 50% and Singapore at 59%.
  • 68% of respondents in APAC looked forward to shopping for pleasure again, compared to the 55% global average. Europe came in at 52% while the US was at 58%.
  • On average, 49% of respondents looked forward to eating out at their favorite restaurants when they reopened, with the spread running between 46% (55+ yrs) and 52% (18–34 yrs).
  • The groups that would continue shopping with and supporting retailers they had relied on during the study period constituted 73% on average (APAC 74%, Hong Kong 67% Australia 78%). Globally, 67% said they that would shop more with retailers located near they abode to keep them viable.
  • 81% of Hong Kong respondents wanted retailers to reward loyalty, followed by Singapore (78%), Australia (60%), the US (55%) and the UK (49%).
  • Expectations for how retailers reward shoppers were high, citing that retailers need to improve the ways they reward consumers for shopping with them: Singapore was at 82%, compared to 74% in Hong Kong, 65% in Australia, 62% in the UK, 59% in the US and the global average 65%.
  • During the pandemic, just 29% of Singaporeans continued to shop with the retailers they had relied on previously. This was the lowest proportion of any country surveyed and illustrates how difficult it can be for retailers to retain customer loyalty. For comparison, 50% of Australians and Hong Kongers carried on shopping with the same retailers and the global average was 41%.

Warren Hayashi, President, Asia-Pacific, Adyen commented:“While restrictions are easing, and people are returning to offline stores, shopping behaviour and expectations will not be the same as what they used to be. With many impressed with how the retail sector adapted quickly to offer new services online, expectations have increased as a result and consumers want online options to stay. To thrive, retailers will need to maintain or exceed these new expectations and adopt a seamless, omnichannel approach.”

Unifying retail experience

The report asserts that, to capitalize on these new trends of consumer behavior, retailers will need to focus on delivering seamless and secure omnichannel experiences through unified commerce. The demand is there from consumers, as the majority (87% globally) believed retailers should maintain a cross-channel approach following the pandemic, even when stores open again.

Additionally, retailers should also offer the following to cater to the new demands and expectations of Singaporean consumers:

  1. Contactless payments for hygiene: For payment experiences, most Singaporean consumers wanted choices and preferred cashless and contactless options as they were concerned about hygiene (72%). They were more concerned about this than their global (54%) and Hong Kong (59%) counterparts. Retailers can cater to this by reducing person-to-person contact and offering solutions such as self-checkout with mobile apps or kiosks.
  2. Ease of use critical: Customers wanted ease of use, so ahead of the busy shopping peaks, retailers would be wise to implement the right technology that will help customers easily navigate their online offerings. 83% of Singaporeans said they would not shop with a retailer whose website or app are difficult to navigate.
  3. Improving loyalty: Retailers should consider changing how they currently offer their loyalty and rewards programs, as 82% of consumers believed those being offered to them can be improved. Two options for consideration would be making the program available through an app or linked to the customer’s credit card. Connecting a loyalty program to an app would also be beneficial to the brand because many believe there are currently not enough advantages to motivate downloading of a retailer’s app.

Chen Yongchang, Head, Research & Consulting, Institute of Service Excellence, Singapore Management University, commented: Prior to the pandemic, we were already observing a steady increase in the proportion of consumers shopping online. The report supports the notion that this trend has not only accelerated, but has also fundamentally changed customer expectations, attitudes and behavior towards digital technologies and contact-less payment systems. Retailers need to consider deploying some form of omni-channel digital strategy to stay relevant and to tap into these shifting consumer behavioral trends and consider leveraging technologies to redesign service processes to meet these new demands.”