SEA eCommerce Market Spotlight Part 1: Top Trends in eCommerce


Welcome to the first part of our series on SEA eCommerce Market Spotlight. We explore the key trends in this region that have contributed to the growth of the eCommerce sector. In the subsequent parts, our readers will get to familiarize themselves with creating a successful marketing strategy for eCommerce in SEA. As we countdown to the Holidays, you will also get to hear from experts in the region on how to prepare their eCommerce apps for the season. Through this series, we hope to showcase the prospects for growth and share top learnings for successful app marketing in the eCommerce space that will guide businesses through the Holiday season and beyond!

The Southeast Asian region is unique in various ways and each country has its own characteristics. However, if one looks at the overall landscape of eCommerce in the region, one can see how the puzzle pieces fit together. While compared to the U.S. and China, SEA has a long way to go for eCommerce, but the region is also defined by big players that have been key enablers to the growth of this particular sector. Brands and customers have flocked in with huge enthusiasm to tap into the eCommerce potential.

The eCommerce industry in the region has been riding a wave of growth for some years now. On the surface level, the key trends for the growth of this sector remain largely uniform across countries in the SEA region: the ready availability of faster and cheaper mobile internet as well, affordable devices, and deeper penetration of mobile internet. From 49 million eCommerce users in 2015, the region has seen almost a threefold increase in the number of active eCommerce shoppers by 2019. Not only is a significant percentage of the population in this region now using a smartphone, the changing customer demographics and increasing per capita disposable income has also put the region in an attractive position for eCommerce players. 

Yet, each of the countries in the region has its own unique growth chart. As an eCommerce market, Singapore is already an advanced region, while Indonesia is a rising phoenix. But what is also interesting to note is that despite the differences in language and culture a few brands have emerged to the top of the table in the SEA market. With their approach to mobile marketing, companies like Shopee, Lazada, and Tokopedia are the lions of eCommerce across the highly differentiated SEA market. Working across both web and app, the digital marketing approach of these big players provide interesting insights into how the eCommerce ecosystem can be tapped successfully for growth. These bigger players are also pushing new players to join the eCommerce wave with their successful business models.

The growth of eCommerce in the region has been further accelerated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Much like the global consumer behavior, customers in SEA also made a swift shift to online channels. New users who have taken to online shopping for the first time, as well as existing users who have moved completely to online channels, present renewed opportunities for growth of this sector. With the Holidays fast approaching, it would be interesting to see what new trends emerge in the eCommerce behavior of both the customers as well as advertisers.  

Check out our infographic on the key eCommerce trends in SEA. And stay tuned for the next parts in the series! 

Want to take your eCommerce app to the next level? Reach out to our team to know more about how our solutions can help you! 

MAAS Diksha Sahni

Diksha Sahni

Diksha currently leads Communications & PR at Affle. With a passion for content marketing, she also takes the lead in crafting compelling narratives for the MAAS Platform. A journalist turned marketer, she has worked in the B2B and AdTech industries and writes on all things mobile on the MAAS Platform blog.

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