Southeast Asia’s e-commerce is on the ascent. According to a report by a research firm PPRO, the region’s e-commerce market is expected to grow by 5.5%. Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam are the top five Southeast Asian markets that are leading the charge.
Below are the e-commerce trends that constitute the fast rising e-commerce tidal wave in the region.
Livestream is the new buzz word
Within Southeast Asia, the growing popularity of live streaming on e-commerce platforms cannot be ignored. In Malaysia and Singapore alone, the total hours streamed on e-commerce platforms such as ShopeeLive has grown by nearly 200% between February and June 2020.
Even in the Philippines, 60% of the businesses are integrating live selling to attract buyers. The Gross Merchandise Value of livestream e-commerce has grown by 306% between January and June 2020 across Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Philippines.
The new e-commerce platforms that focus solely on livestreaming such as Simsim and Bulbul have recently emerged in India. These platforms target local audiences by including local languages such as Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and others to seize the neglected market. Moreover, with increasing internet penetration in India, the livestream e-commerce scene is set to boom in the country.
Big brands moving online
One of the e-commerce trends which is already catching up pace for a while now is that most of the big brands are going online. The concept of omnichannel retail had already started in 2011 where retailers were able to interact with consumers both offline and online. Ultimately it is the pandemic that pushed the online channels to the forefront.
For instance, Singapore witnessed a drop by 52.1% in retail sales between May 2019 and May 2020. However, on the other hand e-commerce retailers reported a huge increase in sales volume.
This has been the reason why many big retailers/shopping malls such as Singapore’s Marina Square, Indonesia’s Pakuwon Group Malls, Thailand’s Siam Center, and many others have chosen to move online as their primary mode of business
With no end in sight to this pandemic, more retailers are expected to shift online. Thus, digital mass migration is a trend to watch out for in the coming years.
Blockchain in e-commerce
Popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have been around for sometime now and are not new to the e-commerce platforms. Now the cryptocurrencies can be easily integrated into e-commerce websites as regular payment methods.
Another advantage cryptocurrencies have is that it give access to consumers without banks. The Southeast Asia region has a potential market of millions of unbanked inhabitants that can be tapped using cryptocurrencies.
Besides payments, Blockchain has been increasingly used for other novel functions within the region’s startup ecosystem.
AR and 5G
The integration of augmented reality in e-commerce is already on the rise- the technology has enabled consumers to test out items before buying them thus helping them make informed purchases. However, the full potential of AR has still not been realized and it is expected to advance further. These developments are likely to be complemented by the upcoming 5G networks. APAC is being expected to be the largest region to adopt 5G.
Besides the above e-commerce trends, the reason for the region’s success in this sector is due to the rise of smartphone usage. Though already dominant, it is expected that smartphone usage will spread even further. The growing preference for online shopping on the mobile phone is simply indisputable in the region.
With these e-commerce trends, the Asian market is only waiting to be captured.