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Expert Opinion: Asia-Pacific consumers do good on giving Tuesday

As consumers shopped for the best online deals this past holiday season, they didn’t forget the less fortunate. In fact, based on processed transaction data, MasterCard estimates that the number of online donations by Asia-Pacific consumers to United States-based charitable organizations leapt by 149 percent on Giving Tuesday – the day after Cyber Monday, and the first Tuesday in December – when compared to the average Tuesday.

The total number of donations to US charities from Asia-Pacific consumers made up more than a quarter of online donations received (26 percent) on Giving Tuesday[excludes domestic transa].

The biggest givers in the Asia-Pacific region came from Australia, with the highest number of donations, followed by New Zealand, China, India and Singapore.

Giving Tuesday has evolved from a simple idea encouraging people to give back through charitable causes, to a global impactful movement.

The number of online donations to US-based charitable organizations by consumers from India (up 48.6 percent), New Zealand (up 34.4 percent) and Singapore (up 30.4 percent) rose substantially on Giving Tuesday compared with the same day last year.

This trend in ‘giving’, despite Giving Tuesday having been started only three years ago, indicates that this movement has the potential to change giving behavior globally by bringing charitable giving to the fore and providing direct access with the option of online donations.

US holiday shopping fever catches on in Asia-Pacific

The rise in online donations has also brought into focus the increasing comfort that Asia-Pacific consumers have with online transactions.

In the Asia-Pacific region, factors such as rising smartphone penetration and more tech-savvy populations have helped e-commerce grow strongly.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent shopping frenzy that was previously a US-centric shopping phenomenon – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Despite the strengthening of the US dollar, Asia-Pacific consumers have embraced the great deals offered online by US retailers from the comfort of their homes on this side of the globe.

More than half of Black Friday shopping by Asia-Pacific consumers was done online (59 percent). Comparing the regions outside of the US, Asia-Pacific’s share of Black Friday (27 percent) and Cyber Monday (26 percent) e-commerce transactions at US retailers made up more than a quarter of total transactions.

This trend can be expected to continue as Asia is set to surpass North America to become the world’s largest e-commerce market this year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there has been healthy year-on-year e-commerce transaction growth (2014 vs. 2013) by Asia-Pacific consumers at US retailers, up 16 percent and 10 percent respectively. Compared to the average Friday and Monday, in 2014, Black Friday and Cyber Monday e-commerce transactions from Asia-Pacific were notably higher by 96 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

China driving e-commerce growth

Unsurprisingly, China is still the engine driving Asia-Pacific’s e-commerce transactions at US retailers on Black Friday, despite the ‘slowdown’ at home, followed by Korea, Australia, Singapore and India. It’s also the market that saw the most impressive year-on-year growth at 86 percent (compared to Korea’s 28 percent).

For Cyber Monday, Korea came out tops in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by Australia, China, India and Singapore. However, India and China had the highest year-on-year growth in transactions at 59 percent and 55 percent, respectively (compared to Korea’s 32 percent).

Eric Schneider is group head and region lead of MasterCard Advisors in Asia-Pacific. In this role, he and his team develop business with several of MasterCard’s bank, merchant and other relationships across the region, as well as prospective new partners.