ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan internet users had the highest levels of awareness of e-commerce platforms but actual use, in completing transactions through to delivery, was low, according to a new survey of mobile phone owners aged 15-65 years.
Awareness was highest about buying and selling goods and services through platforms such as Amazon, AliExpress and eBay, buying tickets, and transport and ridesharing apps, according to the survey, ‘AfterAccess’.
It studied how individuals in 23 countries of what’s called the ‘Global South’ access and use information and communications technologies (ICTs).
“The responses showed that Sri Lankan and Indian Internet users had the highest levels of awareness among respondents from the Asian countries, with Cambodian respondents coming in third,” said the survey, presented by the LIRNEasia think-tank.
When it came to actual use as well, India had the highest number of users of those aware of the platforms in Asia, followed by Sri Lanka, mostly with respect to platforms for products, transport services, tickets and appointments.
“Of the respondents who had used platforms to buy goods or services in the three months leading to the survey, most had made less than five transactions. Heavy use was not widespread.”
Many used the platform only to search for goods and services and some went onto place an order via the platform.
But very few – just 17 percent in Sri Lanka – completed the full transaction of search, order, payment and delivery. That category was 26 percent of users in Cambodia, 16 percent in India and one percent in Pakistan.
Reasons for low transactions included lack of a need to do so with enough access to offline options, concerns about sharing personal and financial details with third parties, and concerns regarding the quality of the product or whether they would receive the product.
“Convenience was a key driver of platform use for buying via platforms in India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia, while better pricing was a major driver in Pakistan, and to a lesser extent in India also,” the survey said.
(COLOMBO 23 May 2019)