Online shopping boom

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International payment company Mastercard in its latest study has found that more customers worldwide are utilising e-commerce platforms and digital payment services. This they said stems from the constraints imposed on the daily lives of consumers as a result of COVID-19, which has been changing the way how people shop.

According to the global study conducted by the company in several markets, consumers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payments experiences – “and they don’t expect to go back”.

Walter Pimenta, senior vice-president of products and innovation in charge of Mastercard’s Latin America and Caribbean operations, said that with their services tied to these emerging trends, they intend to continue designing products that are customer-centric and digital-first.

“We are happy to be able to meet consumers where they are today – fully ready to move away from cash and embrace secure, digital payments for the long run. The pandemic has led many consumers to make their first-ever online purchase, starting a new payment habit which they are telling us is here to stay,” he said.

Data from the study which commenced in April revealed some seven in 10 customers indicating that their shift to digital payments will likely become permanent and nearly half of them also noting that they plan to use cash less — even after the pandemic subsides.

E-commerce, which has been a growing part of Mastercard’s business for many years, also showed steep increases over the period studied.

“For the first time ever, online payments surpassed in-store payments in the first quarter of 2020, with 41 per cent of consumers globally reporting they are going to purchase more online in the following two weeks compared to the previous two weeks,” the study outlined.

Based on these findings, Mastercard has said they will be working on building better foundations for the future of payments.

“From a simplified, online checkout experience to an in-store tap on a contactless terminal, Mastercard is leveraging its insights and technology, forging critical partnerships and driving innovation to ensure a solid foundation to deliver the future of payments,” the senior vice-president further said.

Mastercard also highlighted the growing presence of financial technologies (fintechs) which have helped to provide seamless user experiences in digital solutions.

“During the first quarter of 2020, Mastercard increased its business partnerships with fintechs by 40 per cent across various markets in the region,” the company said.