Navigating the Top Pain Points of Parcel Deliveries in Asia

Mar 14, 2023

Navigating the Top Pain Points of Parcel Deliveries in Asia 

With its revenue expected to reach 2,059 billion U.S dollars this year, the Asian e-commerce market is one of the most robust and fastest growing in the world. Every year, an increasing number of e-commerce outlets are springing up on the continent to take up the challenge of catering to Asian consumers.

As consumers in the region make their daily choices of retailers to shop from, they are attracted to retailers that offer them certain services and guarantees that make their shopping experience more rewarding and offer them more peace of mind. In this article, we partner with Rakuten Insight to bring you the top pain points that Asian digital consumers face. What are these concerns? Why are they so important to consumers? 

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Lack of Adequate Product Information is the Top Pain Point for Asian Buyers

The e-commerce markets and platforms in Asia are flooded with a large number of products of various descriptions and with varying uses. This means that consumers often require clear descriptions about the goods that they intend to purchase.

Lack of proper product information can be quite harmful to consumers. For instance, they may have allergies for certain ingredients or materials used in producing a product. It is no surprise, therefore, that most respondents report that lack of adequate product information is their greatest challenge in using e-commerce.

68% of Indonesian respondents fall under this category. The same is true for 64% of Vietnamese surveyees. Thailand and Taiwan follow suit in this regard with 62% making the same indication. Customer support is the next most important issue for Asian e-commerce buyers with an average of 35% of respondents indicating that poor customer service was their most serious pain point.

Difficulty in using e-commerce websites is another common challenge that Asian e-commerce buyers have to grapple with.  An average of 29% of respondents from all surveyed countries fall under this category. On the average, 24% of all surveyees find a lack of payment options most challenging. 27% of respondents from Malaysia, India and Indonesia indicate that the unavailability of a wide range of payment options would cause them the most dissatisfaction while buying online.

However, only 3% of Japanese respondents named lack of payment options as their top pain points in e-commerce. This is likely due to the heavy preference that most Japanese e-commerce buyers show for credit card payments.

Interestingly, only 6% of respondents across all twelve Asian countries under survey reported that they do not shop online, underlining the massive popularity of e-commerce in the region. 

Choice of Shipping Company Slightly Affects Customer Loyalty

Customer retention and loyalty is important for the success of every retailer. There are several factors that determine whether or not a customer makes return purchases from an e-commerce business. These typically range from product quality to customer care service among others. However, as Rakuten Insight’s research shows, the choice of shipping company used for delivery also plays a role here.

A shipping company’s level of efficiency can determine the speed and effectiveness of deliveries. Customers naturally prefer shipping companies that guarantee them the best delivery services. However, this consideration is considered vitally important by only an average of 23% of respondents from across all surveyed countries. Though relatively small, this figure represents a significant chunk of the sample population, indicating the need for retailers to work with effective shipping companies. 

For the larger share of the surveyees (58%), the shipping company of their retailer’s choice only has a minor effect on their loyalty to the e-commerce brand. This could be indicative of the fact that although they consider the choice of shipping company important, most Asian Buyers trust their retailers to choose effective companies to handle their deliveries. 

However, for a still smaller percentage of respondents (19%), the retailers’ choice of shipping company does not matter at all. While as much as 36% of Japanese respondents are of this opinion, the figure drops to 11% for surveyees from Hong Kong and Singapore.

These results underline the crucial role that shipping companies play in making e-commerce work. However, it also indicates that customers largely look beyond retailers’ shipping choice when making purchases online.

Free Returns Option Remains Important for Consumers 

While some e-commerce businesses have unfavorable views of return policies, such provisions still rank high on the expectations of Asia's digital consumers. As Rakuten Insight’s research reveals, 38% of respondents would be extremely likely to purchase from a retailer that offers free returns options. In particular, 54% of Chinese respondents express a strong affinity for free returns. An average of 37% of all surveyees state that they are “somewhat likely” to buy from businesses offering this option. 

Interestingly, a low but significant portion of respondents (15%) report that they are “neither likely nor unlikely” to purchase products with a free returns option. Japan has the highest number of surveyees under this category (36%). Malaysia and Singapore come next with 20% apiece. 

Only 3% of the total sample population report that they would be “Extremely unlikely” to purchase from retailers that offer free returns, showing that this service offering is generally viewed favorably by Asian e-commerce consumers.

As e-commerce purchases are carried out without physical contact, trust is essential. Consumers feel more at ease when they know that they can return a product to the retailer if the said product turns out to be defective or unacceptable for any other reasons. With an enhanced brand perception, an e-commerce business is sure to record greater levels of profitability. 

Cost of Delivery is Most Important to Asian Digital Consumers

There are a range of issues that affect customer experience in e-commerce. These typically include speed of delivery, shipping costs, and the availability of pickup spots among others. However, as Rakuten Insight’s survey shows, most Asian consumers consider cost of delivery as the most important of these factors. 

Furthermore, 32% of all respondents are of this opinion. 20% and 15% of them rank cost of delivery as second and third in their respective ratings. This is

hardly surprising given that cost of delivery can significantly affect the prices that consumers have to pay for e-commerce goods. As retailers generally depend on a  delivery/ courier service to make deliveries, consumers may have to bear the cost of product delivery and this can be a quite significant amount especially when a long-range delivery is necessary or express services are required.

Speed of delivery is rated next on respondents’ scale of important delivery factors. 19% of surveyees rank logistics speed as their most important part of the delivery process. 25% and 21% of them regard this as second and third respectively in their rankings.

Today, Asian e-commerce companies have continued to incorporate effective innovative logistics solutions such as drones and AI-enhanced logistics. This has led to the elimination of several last mile delivery challenges that were previously associated with Asian logistics. As a result, products are getting to Asian consumers faster than ever before and for many, this has become a crucial requirement. 

Post-purchase delivery services is next on the list with 19% of respondents indicating that this part of the experience matters to them the most. These services include product returns and problem complaints. Customers are naturally drawn to retailers that they can trust, especially since they are unable to physically inspect the products they intend to buy before purchasing them. Post-sale services help to enhance customers’ confidence in retailers.

Estimated Delivery Dates are Vital to Consumers

Product logistics or the movement of ordered goods from the retailer’s store to the buyer’s location is a key issue in the world of e-commerce. With several companies today offering varying services including local and international delivery, customers expect their goods to be delivered on time and safely. 

Rakuten Insight’s survey shows that the vast majority of Asian e-commerce buyers consider estimated dates of delivery to be very important when buying online. On the average, 62% of all respondents report that they deem it essential to know when to expect their parcels. Over 80% of surveyees from the Philippines and Indonesia are of this opinion. At 36%, Japan has the lowest number in this regard.

For 34% of people surveyed, estimated date of delivery may or may not be necessary depending on their present schedules. Of this group, Hong Kong has the highest number with 59%. Japan and Hong Kong follow suit with 51% and 52% respectively.

With the innovations and ever-increasing sophistication of the Asian e-commerce and logistics industry, customers have come to expect a high quality of service. This is shown by the large percentage of consumers who insist on knowing their estimated date of delivery when carrying out e-commerce transactions. Having estimated dates of delivery properly stated on e-commerce products or platforms helps consumers plan their schedules to enable them to take delivery of their parcels.

Furthermore, only 4% of the total sample population report that they are not affected at all by the availability or otherwise of the estimated date of delivery.


E-commerce customers all over the world choose their retailers based on their individual preferences. Our examination of consumer trends show that they only transact with e-commerce businesses that they can trust. Today, Asian e-commerce buyers tend to patronize and stay loyal to e-commerce businesses that offer the most transparent sales policies and most effective delivery systems. Such businesses win the buyers’ trust by offering lenient return options, quick deliveries at relatively low costs and helpful after-sales services among other service provisions. 

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About Rakuten Insight Global

Rakuten Insight Global, Inc. (“Rakuten Insight”) is a wholly-owned online market research subsidiary company of Rakuten Group, Inc., a global leader in internet services headquartered in Tokyo. Rakuten Insight was established in 1997 as AIP Corporation and became part the Rakuten Group in 2014. Rakuten Insight possesses a research panel focusing on 12 countries and regions in Asia & the US and a panel network covering 60 countries and regions. With offices in 11 countries and regions, Rakuten Insight provides market research for over 500 leading companies around the world. For more information visit

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