Most Important South and Southeast Asian eCommerce Market Developments - Pt. 2

TMO GroupFebruary 22, 2019
Most Important South and Southeast Asian eCommerce Market Developments - Pt. 2

Continuing from where we left off last time, today we're going to look at some other developments in South and Southeast Asian eCommerce. Want to know more about consumers, payment methods and logistics in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam? Then keep on reading!

Internet Penetration Rates

Higher internet penetration rates are of course good for further eCommerce development. The rate is already quite high in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. India, Indonesia and Vietnam on the other hand still need further growth.

Not only will a higher number of netizens help with access to eCommerce, it will also increase the use of social media and market growth potential. Besides increasing the amount of eCommerce users, higher internet penetration rates also stimulate digital banking and advance online services and other virtual support, which also creates more opportunities for brands to go abroad.

Consumer Spending

Starting with consumers, it can generally be seen that spending patterns directly correlate to a country’s GDP per Capita. Thus, it comes as no surprise that in this region it is Singaporeans that have the highest annual average online spend (1,022 USD). Naturally, online spending also relates to eCommerce market maturity. Therefore, countries like India and Indonesia where eCommerce already accounts for a higher percentage of total retail have the second and third highest annual average online spend at 265 USD and 228 USD respectively.

Thailand and Malaysia again have a relatively high GDP per Capita, and so their consumers online spending reaches 212 USD and 128 USD respectively. Lastly, Vietnam’s GDP per Capita and eCommerce market share are both low. It is thus no surprise the country's consumers spend the least online per year, at 55 USD.

Consumer Attitudes

When considering consumer attitudes towards Chinese products, there are basically 3 tiers: high, moderate and low acceptance. On the higher end of the scale are countries which also have a relatively large ethnically Chinese group such as Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia and Thailand rank in the middle. Thai consumers are very brand loyal in general, whether towards Chinese or international brands.

India and Vietnam rank on the lower end of the scale. Indians have a higher preference for domestic brands, whereas Vietnamese have a negative view of Chinese products for historical reasons. However, Vietnamese consumers do have a higher acceptance of Chinese electronic products, especially mobile phones.

Most Popular Product Categories

A clear development in South and Southeast Asian eCommerce is visible when dividing the online products sold in 5 categories. Ranking from most to least popular they are: digital and 3C products, fashion and beauty, furniture and appliances, toys and hobbies, and food and personal care.

Payment Methods and Logistics

"Diverse and fragmented" characterizes the current situation for payment methods in South and Southeast Asia. In almost all countries, Cash on Delivery (COD) is a very common, if not the most preferred payment method. At the same time, however, mobile and digital payment methods are rapidly increasing in popularity. However, there remain barriers such as privacy and security concerns, as well as overall convenience and and an over-abundance of different apps or payment providers.

As for logistics, most countries in the region still have quite underdeveloped networks. In particular Indonesia with its many thousands of islands, or India with its difficult-to-reach rural areas. But logistics providers are expanding quickly and delivery times are swiftly decreasing as a result. Although delivery still takes longer than in China, it has already fallen to just a few days or even hours in urban areas and 1-2 weeks in rural areas.

South and Southeast Asia eCommerce

Do you want to know more about the developments and trends in South and Southeast Asian eCommerce? Then check out our complete 6-part series providing an overview, as well as details about all aspects of eCommerce in this booming region.

You also might be interested in our eCommerce Market Localization Guides, which include in-depth guides to some of Southeast Asia's most exciting markets.


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