E-payments and digitalization addressed many pandemic challenges earlier on; now the region is targeting better digital experiences and cybersecurity: survey

In a survey of 3,000 consumers and 900 businesses across 10 countries globally including Australia, India, Japan, Singapore and the APAC region, it has been observed that the pandemic-driven surges in shifting to online activity has stabilized, and the new focus is now on the quality of the online experiences, as well as the curbing of associated surges in online fraud and security risks.

Although the level of online activity is still higher than before the pandemic, this trend had plateaued by mid-September 2020, and shifted to efforts to address changing consumer needs and to establish consumer trust in respect of data privacy and protection.

As industries grapple with pandemic recovery, the survey uncovered three findings that organizations in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) may find useful when attempting to improve the digital experience for consumers:

  • Rise of digital payments

    In the APAC region, mobile wallets have become the most popular payment mode, with the highest levels of online activity found among consumers in India (80%) and Singapore (69%).

    In Japan, the use of mobile wallets is also strong among 63% of respondents with a higher household income (greater than US$100,000)— significantly above the 39% for the general population of respondents.

    Across four APAC countries, retail apps were the second most used digital payment method, led by India (64%) and Singapore (60%) consumers. However, concerns around fraud and security remained high as respondents had become more reliant on digital payment methods.

    Globally, top concerns were stolen credit card information (33%), online privacy (32%), identity theft (32%), and fake/phishing scams (31%). Regionally, security was the most important factor influencing consumer online experience, especially in Japan (89%), Australia (83%) and Singapore (82%).

  • Greater emphasis on data privacy

    When transacting online, consumers in the survey cared about high levels of security and data protection. More than half across APAC indicated they would like to be informed about how their personal data is being protected and stored. Respondents in India (79%) and Singapore (70%) had the highest need to know why their data was being requested than before the pandemic. Also:

    • 56% of respondents globally indicated that they would share their contact information, and 42% would share personal information, as long as they trust the recipient. This is comparable to the 52% and 40% in a similar survey in September 2021.
    • The need to establish trust is high because businesses can turn this information into actionable insights, growing their business while meeting changing customer needs.
  • Healthy digitalization levels

    APAC businesses in the survey recognized the importance of the customer journey, as more turned to technology to generate positive customer outcomes and experience.

    • 70% of businesses surveyed indicated they used advanced analytics and customer credit data regularly.
    • 45% of Singapore respondents considered advanced analytics a top priority to reduce friction in the digital customer experience.
    • AI adoption was up 74% from 69% in 2020, and machine learning was up 73%, from 68% in the same period globally.
    • India led in AI implementation (87%) and machine learning solutions (83%).
    • Globally, 64% of businesses in the survey indicated they had applied for new loans or extended credit of less than 10% to fund digitalization, an increase in credit needs compared to a year ago.

According to Ben Elliott, Chief Executive Officer, Experian Asia Pacific, the firm that commissioned the survey: “As consumers become more worried about their wider digital footprint which comes with greater exposure to security risks, businesses have to instill confidence in how they are protecting customer data and how it is being used. This has become paramount for businesses across the region as consumers expect this to be the minimum standard. The key is to ensure the appropriate security measures are inserted into the process without impacting customer experience.”