Chinese consumers at the forefront embracing connected devices to order products

Monday, October 30, 2017

Beijing — Chinese consumers are positive towards using the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices in their homes to make payments, according to new data by Worldpay. Sixty percent of those surveyed are ready to embrace such technology and would be comfortable if a device in their home ordered a product on their behalf without asking. This proportion is second only to Brazilian consumers (81%) who take the lead among the rest of the world. In contrast to other countries surveyed, only 2% of Chinese consumers could never be reassured about the future of connected devices.

Worldpay’s The Connected Consumer research examined the viewpoints of over 20,102 consumers across 10 markets on their opinions about connected devices in the home, as well as how comfortable they would be making payments via the technology.

As smart consumer technologies evolve, connected devices, ranging from smart fridges to virtual assistants, are increasingly able to consume services from other devices, predict shopping lists, order products and make payments on consumers’ behalf – in some cases without even asking permission. This trend is evident among the Chinese consumers, who not only hold positive attitudes towards embracing IoT technology, but also contribute to a rapidly booming IoT industry – which is growing at a compound rate of over 25% and is worth up to 930 billion yuan in 2016, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Amongst the technologies, Worldpay surveyed perceptions towards, a majority of Chinese consumers are ready to embrace chatbots and virtual assistants. Notably, 61% of respondents would be happy for a virtual assistant to arrange their diary. Despite being open to their use, just 47% of Chinese consumers would be comfortable giving their virtual assistant their payment information. However, more than two-thirds (69%) think it would be convenient for virtual assistants to take care of the entire shopping experience on their behalf. Meanwhile, over 90% of respondents would be comfortable for a virtual assistant run by a specific brand, such as a travel agency, to organise and/or pay for everything – from a restaurant to booking a preferred seat on a plane.

Similar to other markets, privacy topped Chinese concerns towards allowing connected devices to order products on their behalf, with 75% worried that device manufacturers would share their personal data and the same proportion (75%) were also worried about the prospect of connected devices being hacked.

Chinese consumers also indicated a desire to remain in control and informed about payments. Fifty percent say they would want to approve every purchase before it is confirmed, and 74% would want a notification before an order is placed. In order to provide some reassurance, Chinese respondents are most likely to demand that they can cancel the order (59%), set rules on what could be bought (52%) or that the device knows exactly what they want (47%). However, consumers in China were happy to give devices the authority to learn and anticipate their shopping preferences with 46% preferring this option compared to other fixed rules.

To help businesses overcome the perceived security barrier, Worldpay is trialling an open source software development kit (SDK) to facilitate IoT payments. Worldpay Within is an embeddable payments agent that allows smart devices to make and take payments as quickly and effectively as a physical shopping environment. With the number of connected devices estimated to reach over 20 billion by the end of this year [1], it is increasingly important for these devices to communicate effectively and securely with each other, including making payments.

As Worldpay’s research shows, when it comes to virtual assistants, 57% of Chinese respondents expect it thoughtful while 48% intelligent. There is much to be done to turn the possibility of IoT payments into an everyday, mainstream reality. Merchants must choose solutions that allow them to demonstrate to shoppers how IoT can create a seamless and safe shopping experience.

Tang Kok San, Country Manager for China at Worldpay, commented: “No matter if done by a human or machine, it is vital for consumers to remain in control when they’re delegating payment tasks. Our research has found that there should always be a conscious ‘act of consent’; be that via a device notification, button press or a pre-set rule like a spending limit, being agreed in advance.

“The beauty of technology advancements means that there are many opportunities for virtual assistants and connected devices to make consumers’ lives easier. If machines can offer consumers a ‘concierge’ style service that reduces day-to-day life admin and menial tasks then there is no reason why they won’t want to delegate some of their shopping responsibilities – after all, we would all appreciate an extra bit of time to ourselves. In the end, consumers need confidence that machines can be trusted to make the right decisions and keep their owners informed and in control.”

ENDS

About the data

The connected consumer research was conducted by Opinium and examines the viewpoints of over 20,102 consumers across 10 markets on opinions and adoption of IoT (Internet of things) technologies, as well as the barriers and benefits to adoption. Online interviews were completed by adults located in Australia, Brazil, China, Spain, Singapore, USA, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, and the UK.

About Worldpay

Worldpay is a leading payments company with global reach. We provide an extensive range of technology-led payment products and services to around 400,000 customers, enabling their businesses to grow and prosper. We manage the increasing complexity of the payments landscape for our customers, allowing them to accept the widest range of payment types around the world. Using our network and technology, we are able to process payments from geographies covering 99% of global GDP, across 146 countries and 126 currencies. We help our customers to accept more than 300 different payment types. For more information, visit http://www.worldpay.com/global/about/regional-expertise/asia-pacific

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