Cross-border Business to Southeast Asia: Part II

by Kathy Tan

September 2, 2021

3 minute read

Understanding Southeast Asian eCommerce

The Growing Middle Class

Southeast Asia’s middle-class is expanding, and this increase in disposable income is helping to power a thriving eCommerce landscape. Before COVID-19, the region’s online market was on track to triple its value to US$146.8 billion by 2025.[1]

5-Year Online Retail GMV Forecast on SEA Markets. Source: Hootsuite

[1] Source: “The Rising Middle Class” by Bain & Co (Facebook-commissioned study of 4,745 people ages 18+ in ID, MY, PH, TH, VN), Feb 2018. Disposable income measured in Purchasing Power Parity; Middle Class defined as people earning $16–100 (USD) daily.”

Top Purchase Categories in eCommerce

Southeast Asian online shoppers enjoy a diverse choice of products, indicating a number of cross-border penetration opportunities. Refer to the top purchase categories below.

Southeast Asia’s Top eCommerce Players

The Southeast Asian market is home to some of the most well-known companies in regional and international eCommerce, all of which offer chances for cross-border collaborations and partnerships. Brands can look to the broad range of services provided by Facebook Marketing Partners and Global Expansion Partners to help bring about these connections.

Adopting The Platform ( Economy

Within six years, 30% of the world’s economic activity will take place on platforms, according to McKinsey & Co. However, only 3% of established companies globally have a platform strategy, the consultancy found. And in Southeast Asia, large retailers, brands, and enterprises are lagging behind smaller players in developing and implementing the platform strategies, they need to stay competitive.

Some of these larger organisations are unable to participate in the quick and nimble platform economy due to technological, cultural, and structural difficulties. These larger organisations must move quickly to reap the benefits of joining the platform economy in this fast-growing, fluid market with tremendous potential and few dominant players.

Given how quickly e-commerce is gaining popularity in the Asia Pacific (APAC) area, developing that approach now is vital. According to an eMarketer analysis, Southeast Asia was home to six of the ten nations with the fastest-growing e-commerce marketplaces in 2019. The pandemic has also boosted the popularity of online shopping. According to the iPrice Group, an online shopping aggregator, e-commerce platforms in Singapore had a 23 percent increase in visits in the first half of 2020. Meanwhile, when compared to the same time last year, the average cart size increased by 51%.

Southeast Asia shoppers has always preferred the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. However, as more business-to-business and business-to-consumer customers turn to platforms for shopping and sales transactions, especially since the pandemic began, the need for APAC companies that aren’t already on transactional platforms to update their digital strategies to keep up with consumer behaviour has grown rapidly.


Stay Tuned for Part III: Deep Dive into Southeast Asia’s Cross-border Shoppers


How Facebook Global Expansion Partner can help >

Meekco.Asia helps High-Growth Retailers & Brand to build & grow their global eCommerce | A Shopify Plus & Facebook Business Partner.


[1] Source: Data Reportal, Ecommerce in Singapore 2019
[2] Source: eMarketer, Nov 2018
[3] Source “Cross Border Advertising Insights Study” by GfK (Facebook-commissioned survey of 10,149 people in BR, GB, ID, IN, MX, SA and US), Sep 2019. This article refers to people who have made cross-border purchases in Mar and Apr 2019.
[4] Source: We Are Social, Digital 2019 Spotlight Ecommerce inThailand, September 2019 External sources
[5] Source: We Are Social, Vietnam Digital Report 2020, Feb 2020
Source: Facebook
Source: Harvard Business Review

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