March 15, 2017 8:15 pm JST

Southeast Asia shoppers willing to trade privacy for speedy service

51% of Thais open to sharing purchase history, but don't peek behind their backs

JUSTINA LEE, Nikkei staff writer

The Skybar at Bangkok's Lebua State Tower: A new poll shows it takes fast service to keep Thai consumers coming back. © AP

SINGAPORE -- Consumers in Thailand and Singapore tend to have few qualms about brands using their private data, as long as they know about it beforehand, a new SAP Hybris Consumer Insight survey shows.

Ninety percent of Thai respondents said they are willing to share personal information with brands, while 51% said they are OK with companies knowing about their shopping history and preferences. Almost half said they don't mind disclosing their monthly income.

In Singapore, 63% said they are comfortable sharing their email addresses, while slightly more than a third expressed a willingness to provide their cellphone numbers.

These results stand in sharp contrast to findings in Japan, where only 52% of respondents said they are willing to share any personal information.

SAP Hybris surveyed more than 7,000 consumers across the Asia-Pacific region, looking into consumer preferences and the factors that determine brand loyalty. 

Despite the higher tolerance for sharing private data in Southeast Asia, other findings showed brands should still tread cautiously. Seventy-seven percent of Thais and 67% of Singaporeans said they would not buy from a brand that used their data without permission.

When it comes to retaining customers, the survey suggests prompt service goes a long way -- particularly in Thailand and China. Almost 1 in 2 Thais and Chinese expect brands to respond to queries within an hour. More than half of the respondents in these countries -- 56% -- said they would not patronize a brand again if it is slow to respond on two occasions.

Singaporean consumers ranked quick response times ahead of data privacy as their top priority when deciding whether to stick with a brand. For 81%, unresponsive customer service is a deal-breaker.

Across the Asia-Pacific region -- including Australia, India and South Korea -- 1 in 2 respondents said they expect queries to be answered within three hours. 

"Beyond simply capturing customer data, the ability to analyze, contextualize and, more importantly, act on insights gathered in real-time" is the key to impressing today's savvy customers, noted Nicholas Kontopoulos, global vice president for marketing in fast-growth markets at SAP Hybris.

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