Cookies remember you so we can ensure to give you the best experience possible. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookies and policies

Do not show this message again
SEA Insights

Mobile payment picks up in SEA

Aurelia Leopold

Director – Finance & Banking

Mobile 01.02.2017 / 14:00

mobile payment 2 col

Mobile-first behaviour and proliferation of chat apps have accelerated the uptake

Mobile payments allow users to transfer money at point of sale in a physical shop, pay for items whilst shopping online, or even transfer money to friends remotely.  And thanks to rising mobile penetration in the region, Asia Pacific, with over a billion smartphone users, is currently leading the world in mobile payment.

  • SAVE
  • Close




Connected Life reveals over half (53%) of connected consumers in Asia Pacific are using their mobile phones to pay for goods or services at point of sale via apps, compared to 33% in North America and 35% in Europe.

While North Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong and South Korea top the chart for mobile payments globally*, Southeast Asian mobile-first markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia are fast catching up.

This is in part due to the lack of legacy banking structures, as 73% of consumers in the region do not have a bank account. This means that mobile payment is an attractive solution for connected consumers. A case in point is in mobile-first Indonesia, where mobile payment use has increased from 9% in 2015 to 14% in 2016.

The evolution of Asian chat apps is also a contributing factor in the adoption of mobile payment. In recent years, popular chat apps such as WeChat and LINE have developed numerous payment services facilitating everything from taxi bookings and convenient store purchases to e-commerce sales. Mobile payment options within these apps allow consumers to complete their purchasing journey seamlessly, and have helped to establish these behaviours.

Aurelia Leopold, Director – Finance & Banking at Kantar TNS says: “The rapid uptake of mobile payments has been facilitated by a new breed of disruptors – digital businesses such as WeChat who are now competing with traditional banks in the fintech arena. They are able to do so because they have an existing user base, giving them the audience and the insight to effectively provide people with the financial services they want and need. They are also not tied down by cumbersome legacy structures or regulatory issues, allowing them to be more nimble. As mobile payments become the norm across Asia Pacific, traditional financial services companies need to find ways to embed their services within the ecosystem of the Asian consumer, or run the risk of becoming obsolete.”

The good news for brands is that the uptake of mobile payment across the region is likely to help facilitate the growth of e-commerce. However, the numbers suggest that e-commerce makes up a very small proportion of total sales across Asia Pacific, and still has a way to go before it reaches its potential.

Trust is a key barrier – for example, 31% of consumers in the Philippines would want a more secure payment system before they shop online. Besides security, customers also worry that the payment cannot be made when the Internet connection is lost.

Leopold continues: “There are clear patterns of adoption before a market begins to fully embrace e-commerce. Access is the first, with the lack of infrastructure and payment mechanisms preventing e-commerce from taking off. After this comes trust – consumers need to be confident in the payments they are making and the companies facilitating the transactions. That’s why it’s positive to see Asia Pacific leading the world in terms of mobile payments, but companies need to be doing more to improve ease of access and trust in the payment systems. As access and trust increase we will no doubt see e-commerce increase.”

Source : Kantar TNS

Editor's Notes

Connected Life is a leading global study of the digital attitudes and behaviours of 70,000 internet users across 57 countries. It uses comprehensive analysis of how connectivity changes people’s behaviour to address the big challenges for marketers. The fieldwork was undertaken in all markets between June and September 2016.

Connected Life data indicates that 40% of connected consumers in China pay by mobile on a weekly basis, with 77% having used mobile payment in the past. Hong Kong and South Korea are next in line, with 32% and 31% using it every week respectively.

For more data or to speak to Aurelia, please contact us here.

Please subscribe to our newsletter for prompt news alerts from Kantar SEA.

Latest Stories

What were Vietnamese consumers buying at the start of the Lunar New Year?

What is the value of newspapers in the face of digital media, changing consumer habits and fake news?

More consumers in the region are turning to these photo-sharing social platforms

Key opportunities for brands to connect with today’s teenagers in Southeast Asia

Brands will need one or more of the following to gain traction in one of SEA’s biggest growth markets