Young People in Emerging Countries Look to Dematerialised Payments and Transfers

By July 20, 2012
Young asian in front of a computer

In some emerging countries Generation Y-ers are increasingly turning to the Internet to do their banking business and even use online sites in preference to personal contact with a professional when they need advice, as well as for shopping, of course. However, the extent of this trend varies from country to country.

In a number of emerging countries, Generation Y is leaning heavily towards use of the
Internet for shopping and banking activities, with some 61% of young people aged 18 to
28 now using their PC for online banking, the Connecting with the Millennials Visa Asia
research study* reveals. Out in front here are China, where 85% of those surveyed do so,
South Africa (78%), and Singapore (75%). Computer usage comes out well ahead of mobile
devices, which are nevertheless making strides too, with 23% of these young people engaging
in mobile shopping and banking. Basically, the preferred means of payment remains a bank
card, 63% of the young respondents explaining that this avoids having to carry cash around.
So the VISA study points to a growing liking for ‘dematerialisation’, with eight out of ten
respondents predicting that one day they will make all their purchases and pay all their bills
online and 73% confident that they will be able to use their mobile devices to do so.

Internet, a valued advisor

The trend towards using the Internet was again borne out when the respondents were asked
where they obtained financial advice. Unsurprisingly, the primary source of advice remains a
person’s nearest and dearest, with parents first in line as a source of advice for 78% of those
polled, and friends fulfilling this role for 45% of respondents. Internet came out as the third
most frequent source of financial advice, with 40% going online for help. Though this figure
might seem low, it needs to be seen in context: a mere 17% of those taking part in the study
said they would turn to a financial advisor for help. Internet shopping is moreover a strong
trend among young people in emerging countries, more than eight out of ten (82%) reporting
that they had made a purchase online between June and July 2011.

Two speed e-consumption

But there are variations across the sample, which in some cases are considerable. A huge
99% of South Korean respondents shop online, compared with only 36% in the United Arab
Emirates. Another difference is how often they do so. While half of those who make online
purchases do so every month, in some countries this happens far less often – in the UAE,
the Philippines and South Africa, for instance, where 44%, 36% and 32% respectively shop
online less than once every six months. On average the young people polled spend 15%
of their income shopping on the Internet, a figure which rises to 21% among Chinese and
24% among the South Korean respondents, and they mainly do so via a credit card (40%) or
bank card (37%). Mobile online shopping is also on the increase, but has not been uniformly
adopted everywhere: the survey found that an average of just 13% of the Generation Y-ers
across all the countries studied had shopped online using a mobile device.

*carried out among 5,500 people aged 18 to 28 in Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia,
China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa and the United Arab

Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas