COVID-19 Has Transformed E-Commerce in Southeast Asia

October 16, 2020 6:01 am

Beijing (PingWest)—The outbreak of COVID-19 has transformed e-commerce in Southeast Asia.

The e-commerce aggregation startup iPrice Group, in collaboration with analytics platforms SameWeb and App Annie, released the "Southeast Asian E-commerce Map Report", detailing the major changes in consumer online shopping behavior brought about by the pandemic.

The report focuses on 6 countries/regions: Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Southeast Asian consumers’ online shopping demands has changed. Demand for non-essential items such as fashion, cosmetics and smartphones has fallen sharply, while demand for groceries and health products has soared.

Faced with this trend, since the second quarter, e-commerce players in the region have identified groceries and health supplements as important product categories in the future. In addition, some companies are investing in logistics to ensure that these necessities are brought to consumers.

In April, Alibaba-backed Lazada expanded its fresh produce category to Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The Vietnamese company Tiki also launched TikiNGON, a grocery delivery service in May.

Users in this region prefer mobile shopping and actively participate in entertainment activities launched by e-commerce platforms, including livestreaming and online games.

According to data from iPrice Group and App Annie, the total number of sessions of shopping apps on Android phones in Southeast Asia reached 65.1 billion, an increase of 39% compared to the first quarter. Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam have made major contributions to the growth.

Despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on the region’s economy, consumers’ online shopping spending is still growing. Per customer transaction increased by 23% year-on-year in the first half of 2020, reaching $28.5. The Philippines and Singapore grew the fastest, reaching 57% and 51% respectively. 

These changes are expected to affect sales in the fourth quarter, including the highly anticipated "Single Day" shopping festival, said the report.