Exclusive interview with Tatiana Teplova, yStats.com on topics including alternative payments, payments innovation, AI, voice commerce and cross-border eCommerce.
G2A PAY (GP): Based on your constant research, how do consumers from different regions select specific alternative methods to pay for online products and services?
Tatiana Teplova (TT): The preferences of online shoppers with regard to the payment methods vary widely by country and region. On the global scale, credit cards and digital wallets rank as the top payment methods, with e-wallets projected to be ahead of plastic in share of worldwide online purchases by 2021.
Generally speaking, consumers in advanced eCommerce markets are more likely to pay by card than online shoppers in emerging economies, although countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada also see the share of purchases with digital wallets rising. Besides e-wallets, other leading alternative payment methods include bank transfers and ATM payments, popular in Southeast Asian countries among others, and cash on delivery which is still used by a large share of digital consumers in emerging markets including Russia, India and the Middle East.
When choosing a method to make payments online, consumers value security above all, as recent surveys show. In Spain, for example, nearly two-thirds of online shoppers find security to be the most important factor in online payment methods, followed by speed and comfort of the purchase process which was indicated by about a quarter of respondents.
GP: In your opinion, which region has the highest potential for payments or eCommerce innovation?
TT: yStats.com’s latest research points to Asia-Pacific as the global hub of eCommerce and payments innovation. This region is leading the worldwide mobile payment adoption rate. In China, QR-based payments via WeChat and Alipay have become the second most popular payment method for in-store purchases, ranking between cash and bank cards. South Korea is not far behind with the rising number of consumers adopting mobile wallets like Samsung Pay due to the convenience and speed of making payments. India and Indonesia are also among the markets where consumers show strong interest in mobile payments.
The favorable trends in consumer behavior combined with overall growth in digital consumption make Asia the world’s top region by expected return on investment in FinTech. In terms of eCommerce innovation, Asia-Pacific also has a clear lead over other regions. The “New retail” concept promoted by the Alibaba Group entails using the emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data analysis to create a seamless cross-channel experience for customers. Over the past year, Alibaba opened unmanned stores for books and apparel where consumers can check out via their phones. In the near future, we are likely to see more examples of the “New retail” across Asia-Pacific.
GP: Among the countless technologies available on the market, which do you think is the most promising for future developments in payments and/ or eCommerce and why?
TT: AI is definitely one of the key technologies shaping the future of eCommerce and payments. AI is expected to be increasingly integrated in the stages of the digital purchase, from product search, to purchase and payment, to post-purchase service. Among the examples of the application of AI in eCommerce are chatbots, which are projected to save businesses several billion dollars of costs by 2022. With the proliferation of the digital voice assistant device like Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice commerce is expected to gain traction.
A recent survey conducted in the UK and the USA showed that around one-quarter of consumers who already use voice-activated virtual assistance devices for shopping report buying less through conventional eCommerce channels. In payments, AI and blockchain are among the top emerging technologies that are on the agenda of the large FinTech companies and financial institutions. The top uses of blockchain are seen in improving payment infrastructure, along with digital identity management and fraud prevention. Last but not least, mobile remains one of the top drivers of change both in eCommerce and payments, as a rising share of online purchases and payment transactions are done via mobile apps.
GP: What type of players are leading in global cross-border eCommerce?
TT: Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba/Aliexpress and Wish are the main shopping destinations for cross-border online buyers worldwide. Consumers are even more likely to buy from marketplaces when shopping cross-border than they are when buying domestically, according to a recent survey cited in the yStats.com research on global online marketplaces. High double-digit percentages of cross-border shoppers in countries including China, Japan and Germany claim to make most of their purchases from foreign merchants via marketplaces. Also among online sellers, marketplaces have gained popularity and became a major tool of cross-border expansion due to the potential of leveraging their established infrastructure and consumer awareness.
GP: How large is cross-border B2C eCommerce predicted to be in various regions by 2020?
TT: Over the next few years, cross-border B2C eCommerce is projected to take over around one-fifth of worldwide online retail sales. Asia-Pacific is leading in terms of the cross-border sales volume, although if we look at relative penetration rates, other regions like Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa outpace Asia-Pacific in share of online sales stemming from imports. yStats.com’s research on cross-border B2C eCommerce shows that better prices, product selection and quality are among the main reasons why online shoppers increasingly buy cross-border, while high shipping costs, customs duties and concern over security are listed among the top barriers.
About Tatiana Teplova:
Tatiana has been with yStats.com for 6 years and is Head of the Research Department. She holds a graduate diploma in Management from the University of London and an interdisciplinary MSc from the University of Hamburg.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, yStats.com is one of the world’s leading secondary market research companies committed to providing up-to-date and objective data on global B2C eCommerce and online payment markets to sector-leading companies worldwide.