Asian internet shoppers are turning cautious, according to a survey by credit card company Visa (V.N), with half of respondents saying they plan to keep their year-end shopping budgets at the same level as in 2010.
"Shoppers are more cautious this year with their spending. Even if they said they were spending more, they were doing so mainly to keep up with the rising cost of products," Paul Jung, Visa's head of eCommerce for Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement.
"The exception was China where respondents said it was because they wanted to buy more expensive items," he added.
According to the Visa survey of 4,033 people in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, 31 per cent of shoppers said they planned to spend more online, while 18 per cent said they would cut down on expenses.
The Visa survey appears to show shoppers in Asia are more cautious than their peers in the United States, who flocked to stores and online shopping sites last weekend as the holiday season kicked off.
But it is not certain that retailers will be able to keep that momentum going for the rest of the season.
While most Asian economies rebounded strongly from the 2008/09 financial crisis, unlike those in the West, the region has felt a chill in recent months from Europe's deepening debt crisis, slumping financial markets and sluggish US demand.