We published the first version of this article 5 years ago, in 2018. Since then, we have been updating it yearly, following the latest developments in the numbers and ranks of the key players in the online marketplace landscape in South East Asia. Our latest update summarizes the data from June through August 2023.
The South East Asian is a region of former lesser-developed nations that are now experiencing explosive growth. That means the eCommerce story here over the past few years has been one of upheaval and rapidly rising stars. In this article we break down the top ten most visited eCommerce marketplace websites in South East Asia, looking at their visit numbers, as well as explore whether or not Amazon is used for online shopping in the region.
What are the most popular eCommerce Platforms in South East Asia?
*Updated in 2023 according to platform visits from June to August published by SimilarWeb
It is not difficult to find that Lazada and Shopee appear in most Southeast Asian countries. It is worth noting that Shopee is particularly outstanding this year, occupying the leading position in the markets in the above countries where it is located. Shopee was named the most valuable retail brand in Southeast Asia according to Kantar BrandZ’s recently released 2023 Best-Performing Brands Study.
With the exception of Indonesia, Lazada is the second-highest traffic e-commerce platform in most Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, Tokopedia’s traffic is 9% higher than Lazada’s. Platform rankings in other countries have not changed much. Of course, different countries will also have some unique local e-commerce platforms on the list.
The bigger the country, the more complex the business landscape, and the higher the entry and operating costs. Indonesia is not an easy market to operate. On the contrary, countries such as Thailand and Malaysia have moderate e-commerce volumes and are friendly to cross-border e-commerce and foreign investment policies. They are easy to enter, can be piloted first, and can radiate into opportunity markets in other countries. Thailand and Malay are comparable, the former is better in population and the latter is better in economy.
Although Vietnam’s population pyramid has a narrow base, it is full of vitality and dynamism. It is the country with the fastest GDP growth in Southeast Asia and one of the countries with the lowest labor costs in the world. It is also the second-largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination in Southeast Asia after Singapore.
Top 10 eCommerce Platforms in Southeast Asia
This article classifies the top ten popular e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia according to the corresponding main markets and presents them based on traffic data.
Active in: IN, VN, PH, TH, MY, SG
Monthly visits (Aug): 470 mln
Singapore-based Shopee is a chain of eCommerce websites —each dedicated to its own market— with 15 major sites for Asian, European, and American markets. Despite not having gained significant traction in the West besides Brazil (where it launched in 2019), Shopee remains a shopping empire in the South East Asia region.
Since its launch just 8 years ago, Shopee had remained a constant second-place finisher behind Lazada. In recent years, however, Shopee stole the crown from its biggest rival, and to this day continues to be the leading eCommerce platform in South East Asia.
Shopee provides sellers with its own supply and logistics solutions, as well as language-specific customer service. Another unique feature that allows Shopee to differentiate itself is an escrow service called “Shopee Guarantee”, which provides payment security for both sellers and buyers.
Shopee’s parent company Sea (formerly Garena) is, apart from eCommerce, a leader in digital financial services and digital entertainment across South East Asia. Sea owns the highest-grossing mobile game in the region, “Free Fire”. Sea boasts backing from (and is 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 South East 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.”
Active in: PH, TH, ID, VN, MY
Monthly visits (Aug): 96 mln
Another multinational South East Asia giant eCommerce marketplace is Lazada. For much of the past decade, Lazada reigned supreme in South East Asian eCommerce. Recently beaten to the top spot as the largest online marketplace by Tencent-backed 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’s 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.
Lazada has received seven capital injections from Alibaba, totaling approximately US$5.8 billion. Alibaba’s holding ratio currently reaches 83%, almost completely controlling Lazada, which proves the potential and importance of Lazada and cross-border e-commerce in Southeast Asia.
Active in: ID
HQ: Jakarta, ID
Monthly visits (Aug): 68 mln
Local eCommerce platform Tokopedia has achieved significant dominance in the large Indonesian market. It was founded in 2011 by two Indonesian entrepreneurs from a small Indonesian city with the aim of redressing imbalances throughout Indonesia and democratizing commerce. The name for their startup came from the Indonesian word “Toko”, meaning “Shop” and “encyclopedia”. Over the years, Tokopedia has gone from strength to strength, attracting investment from multiple global VCs and more recently by China’s Alibaba and Japan’s SoftBank.
Apart from being the staple of the Indonesian eCommerce market, Tokopedia is famous for its boisterous marketing campaigns, which include celebrations with international and local pop stars. Among guest celebrities are such prominent bands as SM*SH and BTS.
Tokopedia’s yearly GMV is estimated at US$14-15 billion. Tokopedia and Shopee are now two main players and fierce competitors in the Indonesian eCommerce market.
Active in: ID
HQ: Jakarta, ID
Monthly visits (Aug): 26 mln
Yet 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.
Active in: VN
HQ: Ho Chi Minh City, VN
Monthly visits (Aug): 21 mln
Ranking fifth on the list of biggest online marketplaces, Bachhoaxanh is a grocery food retail chain with over 15,000 different items. Its e-commerce platform offers 2-hour delivery, free shipping on orders over VND 300,000, and multiple rewards at Gold and Silver membership levels. Their items include meat, fish, poultry, fresh seafood, high-quality and safe vegetables, maternal and infant food, and cosmetics among others, providing consumers with a diverse selection of goods and services, with the best quality and the most competitive prices Meet the daily shopping needs of all families.
Active in: SG, PH, MY, ID
Monthly visits (Aug): 15 mln
In 2012, three Singaporean students returned home from their internship in Silicon Valley full of inspiration and excitement. They put their experience to good use, creating a platform called “Carousell” that would solve problems with technology. The main problem those young men had happened to be unused electronic equipment that they wanted to sell. Long story short, Carousell is now the second biggest marketplace in Singapore and a prominent player in South East Asia, operating in half a dozen countries.
While starting as a classified ads site, it has now evolved into a marketplace for both C2C and B2C. On April 18, 2023, the company was selected into the “2023 Hurun Global Unicorn List” ranking 983rd with a corporate valuation of 7.5 billion yuan.
Active in: ID
Monthly visits (Aug): 10 mln
Orami mainly focuses on maternal and infant, baby, household, and personal care products, and also provides food and nutritional products, toys and accessories as well as other related products. Being a country with a highly youthful population structure, Indonesia’s maternal and infant market has considerable potential.
8. PG Mall
Active in: MY
Monthly visits (Aug): 8.7 mln
Founded in 2017, PG Mall is the first locally developed online shopping platform in Malaysia and was once the No. 1 shopping website in Malaysia. Backed by Public Gold Marketing Sdn. Bhd, PG Mall is committed to providing merchants with a reliable and globally diversified business platform and is the cross-border e-commerce partner of Jingdong.
PG Mall offers consumers a wide variety of product choices, including electronics, fashion, books, home life, food and beverages, sports and leisure, mother and baby products, health and beauty, and more. In this way, the number of products in PG Mall is increasing every day, and the family of sellers has been able to expand, gradually forming an open marketplace for selling goods online in Malaysia.
Active in: VN
Monthly visits (Aug): 7.2 mln
Founded in 2012, Chotot.com is a Vietnamese-language online marketplace with thousands of bargains for sale every day. With more than 60 categories, users can easily buy and sell almost anything on Chotot.com. With one simple tap, users can contact sellers directly by phone, SMS, or email.
Active in: VN
HQ: Ho Chi Minh City, VN
Monthly visits (Aug): 5.9 mln
Tiki was founded in Vietnam in 2010. Unlike outsiders such as Shopee and Lazada, Tiki is a “purely local” e-commerce platform with a good reputation among Vietnamese consumers. It has the lowest return rate and the highest customer satisfaction among all e-commerce platforms in Vietnam.
Tiki’s success in controlling the entire end-to-end supply chain is a local advantage against competitors from overseas, as well as its excellent customer service, reliable logistics and warehousing partnerships, and a strong selection of brands.
In January 2018, Jingdong injected approximately US$44 million into Tiki, making it one of Tiki’s largest shareholders. By the end of 2021, Tiki managed to secure more than US$200 million in investments. However, Tiki’s valuation has dropped significantly in recent years, and the platform’s growth has suffered repeated setbacks. In FY2022, Tiki’s total revenues fell 7% from FY2021, while expenses increased 4% over the same period, which led to a 39% increase in its operating loss.
Is Amazon popular in South East Asia?
Monthly visitors in SEA: 25 mln
While Amazon.com does not have a dedicated website in any South East Asia country other than Singapore, it is still available and, to an extent, popular. South East Asia accounts for about 1% of traffic for amazon.com, and given how huge Amazon is, even 1% is a significant amount: about 25 million visits.
Users often have to rely on third-party delivery services to actually get the goods, and the speed and reliability of such deliveries can hardly compare with that of local marketplaces. Because of that, Amazon probably should not be considered a proper competitor of platforms like Lazada or Shopee. Still, Amazon often sells items that are not available to buy on local platforms, so there is a distinct demand for what Amazon has to offer.
We hope you have found our list of must-know South East Asia marketplaces useful. You also might be interested in our South East Asia eCommerce Outlook 2023, which gives a broad overview of some of South East Asia’s most exciting markets.