*Introducing eIQ DataBite series that shares interesting charts and research findings relevant to consumer habits and ecommerce in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia is commonly thought of as Southeast Asia’s largest market as it contributes to 40% of the region’s economic output, has the largest population in the region and endorsed as the ideal cash cow for many businesses (VCs and startups alike).
But according to alpha-beta and Nielsen findings in a recent report highlighting consumer demand in the region, Indonesia does not dominate the largest consumer markets for items like shampoo, soft drinks and detergent.
It is the Philippines that actually accounts for a larger share in one third of the consumer product categories looked at by Nielsen (cigarettes, beer, chocolate, diapers, instant noodles, vitamins, moisturizer, etc.).
Other notable stats was Myanmar’s increasing impact on ASEAN’s consumer demand for items like chocolate and diapers and the popularity of facial moisturizer in Thailand.
Euromonitor 2016 reports predict that most consumer demands in Southeast Asia are being driven by online channels. Unilever brand, St.Ives, launched an official shop-in-shop on Shopee through aCommerce Brand Services in July and sold out its all-natural SKUs in a day and a half.
Keep in mind
Indonesia shouldn’t be the only market that foreign FMCG companies look at when assessing the Southeast Asian market, especially as the market becomes saturated with resource rich outsiders.
According to Euromonitor (2016), well-educated Filipinos between 25 and 34 years account for just 3% of the population but more than 20% of discretionary consumption – that is, spending on categories other than basic needs.
By 2020, this particular demographic group is expected to contribute 50% of the country’s discretionary expenditure, much of which is starting to be conducted online.
Read more about the Philippines ecommerce landscape here.