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We have our fingers on the pulse of global retail


15 December 2015

Today, as part of our 2015 round-up on the state of international ecommerce, we are focusing on the rapidly developing ecommerce landscape of Southeast Asia.


With the world’s third largest population and increasing consumer purchasing power, Southeast Asia represents an appealing online opportunity for international ecommerce players looking to expand in 2016.

Despite, less than 1% of the total retail market currently occurring online, the ecommerce industry in the region is growing steadily, having posted an annual growth rate of more than 25% since 2011.


Rising middle class

Southeast Asia is currently characterised by a very young population – 67% of consumers are under the age of 35 – with an income per capital that is growing faster than the global average.

These trends help to create a rapidly emerging middle class, who enjoy high purchasing power and quickly adapt their shopping behaviours to take advantage of the new opportunities available online.


Growing internet penetration

The rising number of internet users in the region, particularly in the six largest Southeast Asian countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), equate to a large online market that is relatively untapped. Indeed, the population in Southeast Asia is very online focused, with more time spent on the internet than on any other media.

Internet penetration is set to grow further and reach 62% by 2020, meaning Southeast Asia will become an increasingly appealing region for online retailers across the globe.


High mobile penetration

At the end of 2015, Southeast Asia enjoys one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world, with all major countries in the region recognised as having mobile access that is above the global average. Consumers are highly fluent in using mobile devices and are likely to respond to mobile commerce marketing messages.


Less competition

The Southeast Asian ecommerce market is still maturing. The region is not heavily saturated by ecommerce players, nor is it dominated by global online leaders, unlike other potential markets across the world.

Therefore, Southeast Asia is less competitive, meaning for those retailers with first mover advantage there is a high potential for success in this maturing region.


In the New Year, the increased internet and mobile penetration, and the growing purchasing power of young consumers, are expected to be the main trends that shape the ecommerce landscape in Southeast Asia.

The online market in the region expected to be worth more than $20bn in 2016 and the number of internet users is projected hit 200 million, so Southeast Asia will continue to be one of the outstanding opportunities for online retailers across the globe.

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