Online lending and microfinance have become a multipurpose solution for customers in Asia. These are the findings of an online survey conducted by Robocash Group in the region earlier this year. Remarkably, men and women apply with different needs in mind. However, already 35% of all respondents in India put the online segment in priority.

In 2019, the most significant share of women (42%) applied for a loan because of business needs. However, it does not mean active female entrepreneurship. It rather indicates a high degree of informal employment associated with running a small family business. Other frequent female answers embraced family categories. Thus, expenditures on children and education or medical services shared second and third places with 25% of responses.

As for men, they took loans to pay for education and medical services most often (40%). Second place with 26% of responses in 2019 belongs to the purchase of household appliances and electronics and other durable goods. In general, men in India demonstrate high involvement in managing financial issues. As a result, they are also more active as consumers. According to the own statistics of Robocash Group in India in 2019, 88% of applicants for short-term online loans were men.

Overall, the results of the survey also conducted in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines show that education and medical services, purchase of electronics and household appliances, and business needs make up the three most common groups of responses.

Remarkably, men took loans to pay for prestigious items more often than women did - 13% and 6%, respectively. A significant share within it belongs to the purchase of smartphones driving the growth of the Internet economy in developing Asian countries. Besides, men often buy gadgets and other goods in this category, such as jewellery and fashionable clothes, for their family members too.

The least common reasons to borrow among Asian women were big purchases such as real estate or vehicles (3%), expenditures on events (3%), small impulse buys (3%), and vacations (1%). Expenses on special occasions turned out to be a male prerogative: 10% took loans to afford vacations, 9% other events.

According to analysts, the outbreak of Covid-19 has undoubtedly affected the purpose of loans and brought essential needs to the forefront. As soon as countries remove restrictions, customers will also gradually recover their consumption activity. Meantime, social distancing has highlighted the significance of the online segment too. It allows the industry to expect an increase in the share of customers who prefer online services from the current rate of 57% across the region.

Robocash Group is an international financial group operating in the segments of consumer alternative lending and marketplace funding in Europe and Asia. The company develops robotic financial services providing micro consumer lending to customers in Russia, Kazakhstan, Spain, Indonesia, Vietnam and India and operates its own EU-based P2P investment platform. The group develops products completely in-house using artificial intelligence, machine learning and data-driven technologies to provide precise and comprehensive risk management, comfort and speed for customers and efficiency for business.

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