Indonesian consumers consider online shopping good value, while Chinese consumers feel that online shopping brands are not providing the value they expect, according to FleishmanHillard’s 2014 Authenticity Gap study, which explores the gap between what consumers experience when engaging with companies and what they expect of them.

Views differed markedly between the two economies on online shopping, a growth area in both markets. In Indonesia online shopping is really taking off as accessibility to credit cards expands and shoppers are keen to bypass traffic congestion. In China more and more shoppers are turning to the internet to make their purchases and yet there is a perception that there are inherent risks. 

”This research highlights the need for companies expanding their online presence in China to do more to reassure consumers of the benefits of online shopping,” says Rachel Catanach FleishmanHillard’s Asia head for reputation management and managing director Hong Kong. “Consumers want to know they will get the same quality service online as in the store, particularly with regards to imitations, payment security and the potential for the same product to cost less overseas.”

For the second year the research was undertaken in China, the world’s fastest growing consumer market, covering 150 brands. This year Indonesia was covered by the research for the first time, generating insights into consumers across 153 brands, including some of the biggest Indonesian brands alongside leading internationals such as Sony, Microsoft, L’Oreal, Philips, Nissan, HSBC, McDonalds and Exxon.

In China, the firm found:
• Demand for value-added: Failure to deliver value a common sentiment amongst consumers with 70 percent of sectors falling below expectations on providing products and services that offer value. 
• Insatiable appetite for innovation: Majority expecting more innovation. The majority of sectors were failing to deliver innovative new products and services; even sectors like tablets and e-readers fell short.

In Indonesia, highlights included:
• Social responsibility unsatisfactory: Expectations on community impact not being met with 70% of sectors falling short, yet the majority of sectors are meeting expectations on caring for the environment.
• Calling for better care: Poor customer care is an issue in the majority of sectors with 60% of sectors failing to meet expectations on customer care.

Globally, consumers care about more than products and services: Fewer than half (48 percent) of what shapes perceptions and beliefs about an organization are tied to its products and services. The rest (52 percent) comes from attributes related to management behavior and how a company interacts with society.