Navigating the top pain points of parcel deliveries in Asia

Originally published on, 14th March 2023.

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.  With this in mind, we partnered with Parcel Monitor to find out more on the top pain points that Asian digital consumers face when it comes to parcel deliveries. What are these concerns? Why are they so important to consumers? 

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

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.

Choice of Shipping Company Slightly Affects Customer Loyalty

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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. 


This survey was conducted by Rakuten Insight in the month of January 2023. There were a total of 5 questions, each of which revealed important information on the top pain points consumer face when it comes to parcel deliveries. The team distributed the questionnaire to 130,700 shoppers across 12 Asian markets and the US. The sample consisted of 56% females and 44% males. 

Read the full article here

Related articles: What Consumers Trully Think of ReturnsEffects of Estimated Delivery Date on Consumer Satisfaction

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