Southeast Asia’s digital retail growth is APAC’s fastest

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By Manila Bulletin

Southeast Asia’s digital retail share grew 85 percent year-on-year, outpacing China (5 percent), Brazil (14 percent) and India (10 percent), according to Facebook and Bain & Company’s annual SYNC Southeast Asia report which looks at the digital economy and the future of e-commerce in the region.

The report is based on a survey of approximately 16,700 digital consumers and gathered insights from interviews with over 20 CXOs across six Southeast Asian countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Digital consumers surveyed are those who have made an online purchase in at least two product categories in the past three months and are above 15 years of age.

According to Bain & Company, there will be 350 million digital consumers in Southeast Asia at the end of 2021 compared to around 310 million at the end of 2020. This means that almost 80 percent of Southeast Asian consumers will go digital by the end of the year, and almost 8 in 10 Filipino consumers will go digital by the end of 2021. Digital spending per person is up 60 percent compared to last year, with overall e-commerce sales set to double by 2026.

Southeast Asian consumers are not just spending more online as forecasted in 2020, more of them (45 percent) are using online as a primary purchase channel. They are open to the discovery of new products and services with 65 percent of them saying they don’t know what they want to buy when they go online and 51 percent saying they had tried new online stores this year that they’d never heard of before. They’re also buying an even wider range of categories online – survey respondents said they now buy online for an average of 8.1 categories – 60 percent higher than the 5.1 average seen in 2020.

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