The Southeast Asian eCommerce landscape has shifted considerably since we last detailed it back in 2018. This is a region of previously less developed nations now experiencing significant growth. That means the eCommerce story there over the past two years has been one of upheaval and rapidly rising stars. In this article we break down the top ten most-visited eCommerce websites in Southeast Asia, using data from iPrice, and explore and explain what makes each marketplace tick.
Since its launch just five years ago, Shopee went from formidable new kid on the block to playing second fiddle to Lazada. But in the final years of the decade, Shopee accelerated to steal the crown from its biggest rival. Due to success throughout multiple regions across Southeast Asia (emulating Lazada’s own business model), Shopee has built enough regional success to claim the top spot for itself.
Shopee provides sellers with its own supply and logistics solutions, language-specific customer service and guaranteed payment solutions. Shopee’s parent company Sea is a leader in digital entertainment, eCommerce and digital financial services across Greater Southeast Asia. Sea boasts backing from (and being partially owned by) China’s Tencent. Tencent has engaged in a sort of proxy war with mainland rival Alibaba through its support of Shopee, as Alibaba has injected money into the platform’s regional rival Lazada.
Shopee’s eCommerce marketplace is first and foremost mobile-focused. Asked which factors contributed to their growth in the SEA Region, Agatha Soh, Head of Regional Marketing for Shopee in Southeast Asia said “a mobile-first approach [that] helps attract the online consumers who are bypassing desktops, and going straight from offline shopping to mobile shopping.”
For much of the past decade, Lazada reigned supreme in Southeast Asian eCommerce. Recently beaten to the top spot by Tencent-backed upstart Shopee, Lazada still represents a formidable presence in the region. Launched in 2012, Lazada operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The platform boasts more than 155.000 local and international sellers, as well as 3.000 brands serving the 560 million consumers in the region.
With over 300 million SKUs available, Lazada offers a wide range of products. Categories range from consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion, sports equipment to groceries. They focus on customer experience, offering multiple payment methods – including Cash on Delivery (COD) – and returns through their own first and last mile delivery arm supported by more than 100 logistics partners.
Following Alibaba investment in 2016, Lazada’s platform structure quickly shifted to resemble Ali’s ecosystem in mainland China – complete with Lazmall to complement TMall, and a cross-border suite as the local equivalent to Tmall Global.
Local eCommerce platform unicorn Tokopedia has achieved such dominance in the large Indonesian market that it reached third place in the region overall, according to iPrice. Started in 2011 by a pair from smaller Indonesian cities with the aim of redressing unbalances throughout Indonesia and democratizing commerce, Tokopedia has gone from strength to strength, attracting investment from multiple global VCs and more recently by China’s Alibaba and Japan’s SoftBank.
While Tokopedia came out on top in Indonesia in 2019, Shopee managed to outperform it in Q4, suggesting the regionally ascendant platform may take the top spot more solidly in 2020.
Third place in Indonesia behind Tokopedia and Shopee, Bukalapak is another local unicorn. Founded a decade ago, the platform found early success hopping on a trend of foldable bicycles back in 2010. Bukalapak differs slightly from Tokopedia’s standard marketplace model. The platform partners with numerous small brick & mortar stores, facilitating online-to-offline commerce.
The best-performing single product category (or ‘vertical’) platform in Southeast Asia, The Gioi Di Dong focuses on electronics in Vietnam. The market there for such is so huge that its numbers have propelled the platform to the top 5 regionally. Much of this was driven by strong Q1 and Q4 performance, despite the platform losing some ground to local rivals Sendo and Tiki in the middle of the year.
Sendo is a successful homegrown Vietnamese eCommerce platform that caters to a provincial consumer base. The platform spent most of 2019 battling it out with local rivals The Gioi Di Dong and Tiki. This followed Sendo’s purchasing and acquiring of 2014 rival 123 Mua. In early 2020, rumors also emerged of a possible merger between Sendo and Tiki, though neither has deigned to comment on this issue.
Tiki’s origins are immediately reminiscent of global giant Amazon’s. The Vietnamese platform began as a humble online bookseller in just the same way, and grew to its current multi-product marketplace following strong early success. Tiki these days is known for courting a younger demographic. Last year, Alibaba became Tiki’s largest shareholder following significant investment – more evidence of Alibaba’s keen interest in SEA eCommerce.
Another Indonesian platform, Blibli has a reputation for highlighting local Indonesian brands on its marketplace. It also notably runs all its logistics efforts in-house to ensure two-day delivery. In 2019, Blibli made a special effort to stand out from the rest of the pack. It became Indonesia’s first eCommerce site to integrate video streaming. Blibli Play offers on-demand sports streaming as well as integrations with the eCommerce platform.
Much like The Gioi Di Dong, Dien May XANH is a vertical specialty store focusing on consumer electronics. That multiple such product category-specific stores from a single country made the regional top ten speaks to just how much Vietnamese consumers have embraced eCommerce in this product area.
10. FPT Shop
Rounding out the list is a third Vietnamese electronics seller – that eCommerce market segment there is certainly mature!
You also might be interested in our Southeast Asia eCommerce Outlook 2020, which gives a broad overview of some of Southeast Asia’s most exciting markets.