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Asia leads the world in mobile payments as Vietnam posts biggest growth

  • Apr 15, 2019

A PwC global survey has made it clear just how fast fintech is growing, finding that Asia is sprinting ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to mobile payments. China remains the world's leader with 86 of its population using various platforms to make payments, followed by Thailand at 67 percent.

However, it was Vietnam made the biggest leap forward, jumping 24 percent to 61 percent of the country's consumers turning to mobile payments in 2018. The Middle East was the second-fastest in mobile payments adoption after Vietnam, growing 20 percent to 45 percent of consumers in the region.

Overall, eight of the world's top 10 mobile payments markets are in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The Price Waterhouse Coopers Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019 polled more than 21,000 respondents in 27 countries and territories, including six in South East Asia, along with Australia, Canada, Germany, and Great Britain. Globally, the average growth rate was 24 percent, with 34 percent of all consumers polled using mobile payments for purchases.

Among the survey's more noteworthy findings, Asian consumers are more socially engaged that those in Europe and the Americas. Thais led the world in making purchases directly through social media apps like Instagram and Facebook with 50 percent doing so, rather than using dedicated payment platforms. They were followed by Indonesia and Vietnam at 49 percent and 48, respectively.

Singapore's government has made a concerted effort to promote digital payments sine 2017 and the effort appears to have paid off with mobile payments rising 12 percent of consumers in the country in 2017 to 46 percent in 2018.

In other South East Asian markets, Malaysia rose 17 percent to 40, and Philippines gained 14 percentage points to 45 percent. Indonesia, meanwhile, posted the slowest growth at 9 percent, rising to 47 of consumers using mobile payment platforms.

PwC's Strategy& payments director Shirish Jain said, “Asia remains the powerhouse in leading the customer shift to mobile payments. This finding highlights a timely confluence of four principal factors: stages of economic growth cycles driving affluence and disposable income; the availability of platforms that address local demographic needs, including support for cash-on-delivery; the lower cost for retailers and providers; and a marked increase in convenience."

Charles Loh, Southeast Asia Consumer and Industrial Products Consulting Leader, PwC, added, “Social media platforms are already mature in Southeast Asia. The trend in online shopping, moving forward, is the consolidation of e-commerce players with fewer big players providing that gateway. There seems to be a consolidator present in every market.”

The survey also revealed that 9 percent of consumers around the globe said they use voice technology to shop online weekly or more frequently. “Voice technology is widely used in instant messaging communication platforms. It's only a matter of time that we see adoption here in South East Asia,” Loh said.

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