Lahore: COVID-19 has seen consumers across the world ditch cash and in-person shopping in favor of online spending.
In Pakistan almost 72% citizens agree that COVID-19 has made them more positive about online shopping, but they are also more careful with their spending and want new ways to track their money digitally.
As per the study conducted by Standard Chartered Bank which includes 12,000 adults across 12 markets – Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mainland China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, the UK and the US, the respondents in all markets anticipate doing more of their shopping online from now on.
In Pakistan, 76% preferred to shop in-person prior to the pandemic compared to 24% online. But this has shifted, with more than one-third (37%) now preferring online payments to in-person card or cash payments for future purchases. This increase in preference for online payments is true across a range of purchases, from groceries and travel to digital devices.
As a result, almost three-quarters of Pakistanis are now more positive about shopping online. However, despite the increased enthusiasm for shopping online, only 39% of Pakistanis expect their country to go fully cashless in the future, the lowest of all the countries surveyed.
The shift online is supported by Standard Chartered’s ATM withdrawals data. Across the ten surveyed markets, where bank offers retail banking (all except the UK and US), COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the decline in ATM usage. Cash withdrawals from ATMs are now half what they were two years ago.
Meanwhile, as spending begins to creep up with lockdowns easing globally, 57% of those in Pakistan reported increased spending in July (46% globally) – more than three quarters (79%) of people in Pakistan say the pandemic has made them more careful with their expenditure.
Reflecting this increased caution, 62% of survey respondents in Pakistan said that the economic impact of COVID-19 has made them more likely to track their spending, with 77% either using or wanting to use budgeting tools.
Consumers around the world, including Pakistan, are now spending more on basics – such as groceries and healthcare – and digital devices than they did prior to the pandemic, and they expect this increase to continue in the future.
Out of all the countries surveyed, Pakistan has reported the greatest increase in spending on healthcare (58%) and charitable donations (3%7) compared to before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, 66% of people in Pakistan say they have spent less on travel/holidays than they did before the pandemic, while 57% have spent less on clothes. This trend is expected to continue in Pakistan with 31% saying they anticipate spending less on travel/holidays and 27% on clothes in the future.
As well as being increasingly careful with their spending, consumers are becoming more conscientious. This is good news for small businesses and those producing locally made goods, particularly those making and selling sustainably sourced products. In Pakistan, more than half of people say they are now more likely to shop locally (66%), more sustainably (56%) and with small businesses (63%).