JCB International Co., Ltd., the international operations subsidiary of JCB Co., Ltd., has seen impressive growth in virtual spending with European retailers from its Asian cardmember base, with online sales growing by more than 300% across the continent between 2016 and 2019.

These figures have been released alongside the launch of JCB’s latest whitepaper, E-commerce: Business Without Borders, which includes exclusive insights for European retailers on Asian online spending patterns and why building omnichannel is key.

Europe has always been a top travel destination for JCB cardmembers. However, during recent months without travel, many retailers have had to pivot their offering to cater for customers online. Thus, e-commerce spending in the region, already a growing trend among cardmembers, has now accelerated dramatically in response to recent events.

Key insights

JCB’s report reveals key insights into the evolving behaviours and expectations of Asian consumers during the last three years, with noticeable variation depending on the issuing region:

  • Chinese JCB cardmembers increase spend at UK department stores by 170%Chinese cardmembers are still spending in Europe, but shifting from travel to retail, with the latter category accounting for 31% of sales in 2020 – a notable increase from 11% in 2017. Sales at British department stores increased by 170% between 2019 and 2020.
  • Japanese JCB cardmembers surpass 90 % online transactions in Europe – Among Japanese cardmembers, 91% of sales were made online in 2020 compared to 73% in 2017. Interestingly, Japanese cardmembers spend also increases in the months of July and December, which correlates with when many Japanese companies offer bonuses.
  • Spanish and UK retailers popular with JCB South Korean online spend – Online shopping has increased over the past four years among South Korean cardmembers to 96% of overall transactions in Europe, up from 76% in 2017. Spain accounted for 34% of sales with European e-brands in 2020, while the UK increased its share to 59%, up from 24% in 2019
  • E-commerce dominates by Taiwan cardmembers at 98% of sales in Europe – Ecommerce transactions among Taiwanese cardmembers have grown to 98% of overall transactions in European merchants, up from 78% in 2017. Additionally, travel restrictions have meant that 30% of spend against their total online sales went to retail purchases in 2020. This is particularly notable considering sales in 2017 for retail represented just 6% of spend.
  • The retail industry continues to grow its share of Thai online spend – In 2020, 80% of transactions in Europe made by Thai cardmembers were online compared to 54% in 2017. Incredibly, retail sales jumped to 43% of their total EC transactions in 2020, up from 13% in 2019 and just 2% in 2017.

Tsuyoshi Notani, Managing Director, JCB International (Europe) Ltd. said: “E-commerce now offers such a huge opportunity with Asian cardmembers that European retailers cannot afford to miss out. At JCB, we believe in a collaborative approach to e-commerce underpinned by a two-fold mission. Firstly, to offer our cardmembers, who have grown by 48% in the past 4 years in number, every possible opportunity to complete their shopping journey with their payment network of choice. Secondly to drive and support brand loyalty by pushing customers for our partners with the core goal of enabling economic prosperity and recovery across Europe – and beyond.

“JCB is a leading payment brand in Asia and our cardmembers seek out our logo as a beacon of support when shopping on or offline. When Asian consumers begin travelling again, it will be the retailers that provide both a compelling in-store experience alongside a convenient and secure omnichannel experience that will see their sales grow most rapidly with this market.”

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