SEA southeast asia market

Making up approximately 8.5% of the global population, Southeast Asia is an emerging market with high ecommerce adoption that’s not to be missed. We’ve got the stats to prove it.

Southeast Asia (SEA) is an uncut gem in the ecommerce space, with an emerging market of 670 million people. This is the place to be if you are looking towards market expansion.

Globally, internet users are not only researching products online but also buying them. 46.4% of internet users globally research products and brands while online. Furthermore, based on the Digital 2021—Global Overview Report (January 2021) by Hootsuite and We Are Social, 81.5% of global internet users aged 16 to 64 years old searched for products or services to buy online in the past month within the study period.

These encouraging stats are reflective within SEA as well, with 69% of the population using the internet. More impressively, SEA countries lead the way when it comes to highest ecommerce adoption.

Worldwide ecommerce adoption by country, courtesy of Hootsuite

According to the report, 87.1% of the total Indonesian internet users have bought something online via any device in 2020, beating the UK by 1.6% as can be seen from the chart above.

Thailand ranks 2nd among SEA countries with a total 83.6% of its internet users having bought something online in the same period.

This is followed by Malaysia, having the 3rd highest ecommerce adoption rate in SEA, with a total of 82.9% of its internet users making online purchases.

This is very encouraging for businesses that are looking to expand their ecommerce market to a new region.

However, one of the biggest deterrents for the SEA market to purchase products from the West is usually the exorbitant shipping fees, paid by the consumers themselves. To have a true competitive edge, businesses located far outside the region need to up their game and offer competitive prices for their products from within the region.

Product manufacturers in the West who are adopting an M2C (manufacturer-to-consumer) business model via ecommerce channels could stay competitive if they had a fulfilment solution that offers cost effective warehousing and shipping directly to customers, globally.

Statistics show enormous growth in the total value of the consumer goods ecommerce market (fashion, beauty, electronics, food, personal care, furniture & appliances, toys etc.) in 2020 vs 2019 with an average growth of 49% online spending in Indonesia, 42.8% in Thailand, and 37.3% in Malaysia.

Ecommerce spend in Indonesia by category, courtesy of Hootsuite

We are looking at a total of $37.18 billion of ecommerce spend on consumer goods in 2020 by just the top 3 countries (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia) with the highest ecommerce adoption rate in SEA.

As living standards and income rise in the region, so does the spending power of the population, and this inadvertently leads to increased expectations as more Southeast Asians seek to own high-quality imported items.

If manufacturers are able to deliver their goods to Southeast Asians at competitive prices, we can be most certain that manufacturer-to-consumer commerce is here to stay.

SEA makes up approximately 8.5% of the world’s total population, and with increasing spending power in the region, it is a market that should not be ignored. We have only explored three out of eleven SEA countries with the highest ecommerce adoption rate, and the market potential of the region is undeniable.

If you are a manufacturer who is looking for business expansion into the Southeast Asian market, but have no clue on how to get there, reach out to us and find out how we can springboard your market expansion efforts.

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