SINGAPORE – The pandemic has accelerated a digital transformation for many companies, but just over a third (35%) of APAC organisations have made operational adjustments to meet new consumer demands for digital engagement.
With more than half of 1,200 consumers surveyed in APAC expecting to increase online spending both in the short-term and within the next 12 months, 43% of consumers have higher expectations of their online experience, according to Experian’s Global Insights Report, one of the first large-scale surveys assessing the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and consumers.
Experian surveyed 3,000 consumers and 900 executives working in retail banks, e-commerce, consumer technology and telecommunications. Respondents spanned Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The survey was conducted in June and July and covered consumer and business economic outlooks, financial well-being, online behaviour and more.
The survey found that since the start of the pandemic, top priorities for businesses include the health and safety of their employees and customers, as well as adjusting their operations to ensure business continuity.
The pandemic could potentially add US$440 billion to credit costs in Asia Pacific and organisations are utilising digital solutions to manage customer credit risk, with 22% planning to use on-demand cloud-based decisioning applications.
Globally, twice as many consumers are having problems paying their bills since COVID-19. This is a trend prevalent across all regions, with more than a fifth (21%) of the 1,200 consumers surveyed online in Australia, India, Japan and Singapore finding it challenging to pay their credit card and utility bills since the start of COVID-19.
The report highlighted a 3% increase among consumers who are increasing their use of credit, and a 2% increase in consumers applying for personal or short-term loans.
Ben Elliott, CEO Asia Pacific, at Experian, says “Our data shows that 41% of customers in Singapore, India and Australia would give an organisation more business if they felt they were treated fairly – courteously, honestly and without bias – during the pandemic, higher than the global figure of 38%.”
72% of APAC organisations are using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to cope with uncertainties in today’s marketplace; higher than the global figure of 69%. Decision management (13%), artificial intelligence, credit reports and scores, and decision optimisation (each at 12%) have been some of the top solutions most commonly used by organisations in the region to assess and manage customer credit risk.
“The acceleration of digitisation of the economy means that banks are under increasing pressure to move to digital channels to acquire and serve customers, given current social distancing mandates,” Elliott added.