Internet and e-commerce in Southeast Asia has indicated tremendous growth potential in recent years and the region has remained a favourite investment among global e-commerce players. E-commerce investments have given birth to a myriad of online retail environments ranging from competitive marketplace models to daily deal or flash sale sites. German startup incubator, Rocket Internet, for example, launched range of web start-ups in early 2012. So far, these earned a huge presence in the emerging Southeast Asian market, benefiting from the rapidly increasing online population.
The Southeast Asian online population is estimated to be around 205 million users by 2016 (a huge increase from 118 million in 2011) of which most of them fall under the “Big 6” Southeast Asian countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam). Rapid internet proliferation has spurred an internet shopping phenomenon among the rapidly growing middle class seeking a vast assortment of competitively priced products. The huge sales during Lazada’s Online Revolution on the 12th of December, a campaign inspired by America’s Black Friday and China’s Singles day, where entered into a range of partnership to promote and offer great product offers to its customers clearly indicates that Southeast Asian markets are ready for online shopping. As demonstrated below, Lazada almost doubled its traffic during this campaign.
2014 poses a particularly interesting year for e-commerce players in the region, especially with the emergence of mobile commerce that reinvents online shopping experience for on-the-go consumers. Some of the leading ASEAN e-commerce retailers have reported that 20% - 40% of all their transactions come from mobile devices, which indicates an exciting phase of mobile commerce growth in the region. Businesses such as Lazada have adapted to this development by reinventing the e-commerce experience for users by launching new mobile applications for both Android and iOS devices.
“As an increasing part of Southeast Asia’s 600 million consumers get access to the Internet through smartphones we effectively bring the shopping malls, which previously only were available to people in the larger cities, to the entire population. We are huge believers of m-commerce in this region”, Maximilian Bittner, CEO of the Lazada Group has commented.
According to a recent report on “Southeast Asia: Online Trends and Insights”, e-commerce growth in Southeast Asia will experience annual growth of 31 percent until 2015. This sharp growth in e-commerce usage is largely driven by the improving infrastructure and changing consumer habits, as well as the rising economic power in the region. It is estimated that almost 200 million people will come online in Southeast Asia between 2010 and 2020, creating a solid foundation for the regions e-commerce market in the coming years.