E-commerce platformsThere are key factors that have been the driving force behind e-commerce’s growth across the region. The emergence of a growing middle-class teamed with increased levels of disposable income has propelled internet penetration and smartphone ownership across the region. As consumers across the region have experienced increased exposure to the internet, the move from physical to online shopping appears only natural. Correspondingly, consumers’ average online spend increased dramatically from 2017 to 2020. Social media has also been a driving force in stimulating the expansion of the e-commerce sector throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Social media platforms have seized the opportunity to advertise and sell goods by providing direct links to online retailers. Known as social commerce, some social media channels even double as an online marketplace, ensuring that consumers do not need to leave the site to purchase goods. Moreover, interest in live commerce is rising as consumers can get detailed explanations similar to TV shopping through a live stream. M-commerce has also experienced a rise in the Asia-Pacific region, with consumers in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines displaying the highest m-commerce penetration throughout the region.
New wave of consumersChina, Japan, and South Korea rank as some of the leading e-commerce markets throughout the region, accounting for significant shares of total retail e-commerce sales in the world. China houses leading e-commerce companies in the region, such as Alibaba, Pinduoduo, and JD.com. However, e-commerce has recently gained traction in Southeast Asia, with its e-commerce market forecasted to quadruple in value from 2019 to 2025.
The unprecedented, global outbreak of the coronavirus in December 2019 caused disruptions in many industries across the Asia Pacific region, due to lockdown periods and the subsequent economic slowdown. However, the e-commerce market appeared to thrive during the pandemic, as consumers were seen to purchase goods online more frequently. Following the increase of new digital consumers and online retail traffic, if e-commerce sales and traffic continue to maintain their hold in the region post-pandemic, then it appears as though the market will thrive and expand further in the years to come.