Group buying sites drive e-commerce growth in Asia

roup buying sites boost e-commerce in Asia, as firms harness the impact of social media on consumer behavior, a recent report has revealed.

International brands as well as local merchants are set to use the power of social media by offering deals which have to be purchased by a minimum number of consumers within a deadline.

Only in China there are almost 20 million group-buying customers among the country's 160 million e-commerce consumers, the same source indicates.

According to the findings of the report, in Singapore, the website, has recorded USD 1.3 million (SGD 1.6 million) in sales revenue in February 2011 as compared to the sales revenue amounting to USD 16 364 (SGD 20 000) in May 2010. Moreover, more than 300,000 email subscribers have been notified regularly about offers.

Global discount coupon company Groupon has expanded its presence in Asia, acquiring sites in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan and has initiated a joint venture in China. Groupon Singapore has recorded 150,000 hits per day.

Singapore's online shopping market was worth USD 889 million (SGD1.1 billion) in 2010 and is expected to reach USD 3.5 billion (SGD 4.4 billion) by 2015, according to a report conducted by the research firm Nielsen, commissioned by PayPal.

The report has also indicated that there were 1.2 million shoppers aged 18 and above with an average online spending per head of USD 1,206 (SGD 1,492) in 2010. Currently, about 20 online discount sites operate in Singapore.

In Asia, the retail e-commerce market, excluding travel, is expected to witness a two-fold increase, from USD 156 billion in 2010 to USD 323 billion in 2013, according to the financial services provider J.P. Morgan.

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