Clothing tops online purchase list of Bruneians, says survey

|     Azlan Othman     |

CLOTHING and accessories topped the items for online purchases for consumers in the Sultanate, at 73 per cent, followed by travel and tourist services (50 per cent), cosmetics and healthcare (32 per cent), consumer electronics (31 per cent) and digital content such as apps (26 per cent).

These were the findings of the first e-commerce survey for consumers in the Sultanate, conducted by Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), which were made public last Friday (July 13).

About 47 per cent of the respondents used eBay, while Zalora came in second at 36 per cent, and Amazon third at 18 per cent. Ali Express and Lazada were both voted in at fourth, at 11 per cent.

The recorded highest number of e-commerce users comprises those age between 18 and 44 years old, owing to their ICT skills and comprehension.

The survey also found that 70 per cent of the respondents made their purchases online, because it was time-saving; 67 per cent found better bargains; and 65 per cent felt that there was more variety in shopping online.

As to their choice of online platforms, 57 per cent of the respondents mainly did their shopping through standard e-commerce websites. In second place were social media platforms at 24 per cent, and online marketplaces came third at 18 per cent.

With regard to the types of devices used for the online purchases, the survey found that 83 per cent of respondents used smart or mobile phones to purchase goods and services, due to the convenience and ease of connectivity.

The laptop is the second main device used for online shopping at 50 per cent, while 28 per cent prefer desktop computers, and 22 per cent for tablets or iPads.

In terms of payment methods, 84 per cent of the respondents preferred using credit or debit cards to pay for online purchases. Thirty-six per cent used online bank transfers, while 27 per cent used e-wallets for online payments. Only 19 per cent mentioned using offline payments, or cash on delivery.

The results of the survey also found that while 76 per cent of Bruneians are already using e-commerce, about 24 per cent of the respondents did not, for three main reasons: fear of credit and debit card fraud, preference for direct purchasing in physical shops, and concerns that the ordered items would not arrive.

Recent years have witnessed a tremendous development of the Internet, along with the increasing importance of e-commerce and online shopping sites. Consumers today are purchasing products at anytime from retailers located anywhere in the world, without the need of physical retail locations.

The e-Commerce Survey for Consumers in Brunei Darussalam 2018 was carried out by AITI from January 7 to February 28, with the aim of collecting information on individual e-commerce adoption in this country, while also identifying the factors that influence local consumer habits towards e-commerce.

The survey is in line with AITI’s functions and duties to promote the use of the Internet and e-commerce, in addition to establish a regulatory framework for that purpose.

The survey, which targetted the general public, will be used to formulate plans and a regulatory framework to promote effective usage of e-commerce and increase consumer confidence, to enable transactions, shopping and trading online.

According to AITI, with an Internet penetration rate of well over 100 per cent, online shopping activities are becoming more popular in Brunei Darussalam. Access to online content, safe and secure payment platforms, convenience and timely delivery are among the essential factors that determine consumers’ decisions to shop online. Issues such as delivery, after-sales services, online safety and privacy are still some of the concerns that need to be addressed.

AITI believes that the findings of this survey will benefit the relevant agencies in formulating the appropriate programmes or initiatives that can help increase the adoption of e-commerce in Brunei Darussalam.

The survey was conducted both online and offline, using random sampling. A total sample size of 1,016 people responded, between the ages of 18 and 65.