As internet adoption grows at a double digit pace year on year in Southeast Asia – a 31 percent increase last year – retailers and brands must find ways to capture the wave of the some 80 million new consumers coming online.
Internet shopping has become one of the most robust areas of growth in the last few years, especially in markets like Indonesia and Thailand as both international and local ecommerce players pour money into winning the emerging digital customer in the region.
In such a fragmented market segmented varying in cultures and languages, there are a few common key threads to be noted about the region’s increasingly affluent shoppers:
- Southeast Asia is mobile first. Mobile subscriptions have increased by 8% since last year, adding an additional 60 million users.
- Southeast Asian’s are the most actively engaged with social media. Indonesia is sometimes referred to as “Twitter city” whereas Total Access Communication Pcl, estimates that Thais spend up to six hours a day on Facebook and Youtube – the 8th highest in the world.
- Southeast Asia has low credit card penetration and a large unbanked population – 73 percent – due to a lack of financial maturity.
- There is an overall low trust in anything ‘digital’ due to its novelty and user unfamiliarity.
So how do retailers, brand stores and marketplaces attract more consumers to shop on their websites?
One highly successful and proven method is to incentivize with large discounts, leading to the emergence of some of the region’s most infamous flash sales.