*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.


*Nielsen doesn’t report demand for chocolates in VN. Covers six largest cities in Myanmar, includes carbonated soft drinks, isotonic drink and sports drinks. Source: Nielsen.


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.

Alibaba launches anti fake drive

Counterfeit designer products is a big problem in emerging markets, both online and offline. Alibaba takes drastic steps.

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba announced its new anti-fake drive to showcase the company’s determination in eliminating fake goods, reports Reuters.

Alibaba has recently been hit with controversy regarding the company’s stance on counterfeit products, resulting in its ejection from a US based anti-counterfeiting alliance weeks after its entry.

At an intellectual property conference on July 1, Alibaba announced a new online system that will help track and remove fake goods. This announcement follows its top anti-piracy official’s request for more active cooperation with designers and branded goods companies.

In the face of such a complex problem we can’t be complaining about each other, or criticizing each other…We have to have everybody involved and work together. – Jessie Zheng, Chief Platform Governance Officer, Alibaba Group.

This collaborative attempt follows not only the ejection from the anti-counterfeit alliance, but also a mutiny from luxury goods brands Michael Kors and Gucci. This is a positive move from the ecommerce giant, as it shows unity with global brands, and highlights their commitment in wiping out counterfeit products.

The online system, known as the “IP Joint-Force System” will streamline IP-related communications with brands and Alibaba in order to simplify the removal of listings of suspected counterfeit products. The online initiative is in line with founder Jack Ma’s insistence that “fake goods have no place on the site“. This is considered the company’s first active stance against counterfeiting, following a series of anti counterfeit rhetoric, and should be considered a positive turn of events.

This online initiative could possibly lead to a series of anti-counterfeit platforms from collaborators, with Alibaba inspiring the movement it started in the first place.

A version of this appeared in Reuters on July 1. Read the full article here.