Singapore ranked 5th in South-east Asia for growth in mobile payment use: PwC survey

Use of mobile payments in Singapore climbed 12 percentage points from 34 per cent of consumers surveyed in 2018 to 46 per cent in 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore came in fifth out of six South-east Asian countries for growth in mobile payments use, while Vietnam tops the table both regionally and globally, according to PwC's Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019.

Use of mobile payments in Singapore climbed 12 percentage points from 34 per cent of consumers surveyed in 2018 to 46 per cent in 2019.

"Since the government began driving the way for digital payments in late 2017, this signifies a payoff in the efforts by the government and other mobile payments players," said PwC.

Vietnam's mobile payments usage growth increased from 37 per cent to 61 per cent, up 24 percentage points.

Shirish Jain, payments director at Strategy&, said: "Asia remains the powerhouse in leading customer shift to mobile payments with the report reflecting eight Asian nations in the top 10, and six are in South-east Asia."

"Vietnam, with its relatively low penetration in 2018, has registered the highest growth as mobile platforms demonstrate a significant increase in convenience over traditional means of commerce."

"This contrasts with Singapore that also shows strong gains. However, the sophisticated and established traditional ecosystem, as well as abundant and potentially confusing number of choices in mobile payments can also slow down adoption," he added.

Mr Jain said this finding was a timely confluence of four principal factors: The 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.

The survey, which had 21,480 respondents from 27 territories, also recorded increases in mobile payments in other South-east Asian nations. Usage rose 19 percentage points in Thailand; 17 percentage points in Malaysia; 14 percentage points in the Philippines; and nine percentage points in Indonesia.

The survey said Asian consumers are more socially engaged online than those in Europe and the Americas. Respondents in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam led the pack globally in making purchases directly through social media posts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Globally, only 21 per cent of respondents made purchases directly through social media.

Charles Loh, Southeast Asia consumer and industrial products consulting leader, PwC, said: "Social media platforms are already mature in South-east 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."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.