Majority of Pakistan’s Young Population Moved Towards Online Shopping: Survey

A significant portion of the young population in Pakistan moved towards online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was revealed by a global survey of 12,000 adults across 12 markets, conducted by Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).

The surveyed population includes Pakistan. The findings of the survey showed that almost 72 percent of the respondents in Pakistan agree that COVID-19 made them more positive about online shopping. At the same time, this new trend also made them look into more and better ways to track their digital spending and led them to become careful with their spending habits.

76 percent of the Pakistani surveyed population favored in-person shopping before the coronavirus lockdowns, while 24 percent preferred to shop online even before the pandemic hit the country. However, after the pandemic, this percentage has now shifted to 37 percent of people preferring online transactions over in-person, card, or cash payments.

This shift in behavior is not industry-specific, meaning that the surveyed population said that they now prefer online payments across the range of online purchases, from groceries and travel to digital devices.

However, despite the changing preferences of the consumers, it is not likely that this will translate into a wider shift of the economy as a whole towards being cashless. The survey showed that only 39 percent of Pakistanis expect the country to go completely cashless in the future. This is also notable because Pakistanis made for the lowest of all the countries surveyed to have such hopes.

Country Head of Retail Banking Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Mujtaba Abbas, concurred with the findings. He said, “As per our data, online payments have increased, but there is more banks can do to help. With three-quarters of people either using or wanting to use budgeting of financial control tools, it’s imperative that banks continue to innovate digitally so that clients can easily transact, track and manage their spending in a safe and secure way.”

He also revealed that across most of the surveyed markets, the usage of automated teller machines (ATM) has also significantly declined, as a result of COVID-19, with cash withdrawals now being only half of what they were two years ago. However, this did not translate into decreased spending.

57 percent of respondents in Pakistan reported increased spending in July (46 percent globally), and 79 percent of people in Pakistan said that the pandemic has made them more careful with their expenditure.

Consumers across the globe, including Pakistan, are now spending more on groceries, healthcare, and digital devices. At the same time, spending on travel and holidays has decreased, as reported by 66 percent of people in Pakistan, while 57 percent spent less on clothes.

This shift in spending behavior is good news for small businesses, especially local businesses and those producing and selling sustainably sourced products. More than half of the people in Pakistan are now more likely to shop locally (66 percent) and with small businesses (63 percent), the survey findings revealed.

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