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PCs Preferred for Ecommerce in Singapore

Laptops favored for both shopping and buying—especially for big-ticket buys

December 20, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce | Mobile

In smartphone-centric Asia-Pacific, it’s common for marketers to assume consumers are comfortable making mobile purchases. Yet as new research about Singapore illustrates, not all of the region’s digital buyers are as enthusiastic about mobile purchases as prevailing wisdom might suggest.

Primary Device Used by Digital Shoppers in Singapore to Research vs. Purchase Digitally, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

A September 2016 study by Criteo and Edelman Intelligence found a surprising preference for digital shopping and buying conducted via laptop computer in Singapore. In that examination of the preferred devices used by recent digital shoppers in Singapore, laptops were the most mentioned primary device for both online shopping and buying, beating browser-based shopping on smartphones, the next most popular method, by a wide margin.

Criteo and Edelman’s research isn’t the first to notice a lack of enthusiasm for mobile shopping and purchasing in Singapore. A July 2016 examination by Google of the share of digital shopping conducted via smartphone app among users of smartphone apps in various markets in Asia-Pacific found that only 29% of digital shopping in Singapore happened that way, the second lowest of any country studied. Only Japan had a lower response rate for smartphone app-based shopping activity.

Share of Digital Shopping Conducted via Smartphone Apps According to Smartphone App Users in Asia-Pacific, by Country, July 2016 (% of total)

While it’s not immediately clear why Singapore’s digital shoppers prefer PCs over mobile devices for ecommerce, there are a number of potential explanations. One factor suggested by Criteo and Edelman is that the price of an item may impact the device used for purchase. For instance, when asked if they would be willing to spend more than $500 while using a computer, 42% of respondents to their poll said yes, but only 16% said they would make a purchase in that price range via a smartphone.

—Jeremy Kressmann

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