Compared to the other Southeast Asian countries, not much is known about Myanmar’s market potential.

Despite being late in joining the world wide web, the country’s internet penetration grew 97% in one year, reaching 26% of the population, roughly 14 million users.

eIQ speaks with Win Nander Thyke, founder and CEO of rgo47 — one of the leading online retail companies in the country — to shed light on the country’s retail potential, evolving Burmese shopping behavior, and why she believes strongly in the market’s future.

Realizing Myanmar’s new consumer

Rgo47, initially Royal Golden Owls (RGO), was introduced in 2013 during Myanmar’s inaugural hosting of the biennial Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

By leveraging her family’s fashion business, RGO was responsible for producing the official merchandise for the SEA Games such as t-shirts and fashion accessories to be displayed and sold at the two-week event.

Myanmar ecommerce market

Official SEA GAmes Myanmar banner with RGO as a sponsor.

It was the right opportunity to send a positive image of Myanmar and reach a large audience with her new apparel brand as one of the official event sponsors and operators.

And it was during this time the company first observed a shift in consumer behavior that signaled the beginning of online retail potential in the country.

“People would email us or contact our Facebook page to ask if we were able to deliver the SEA Games souvenirs to their homes,” said Win. “At the time, we didn’t have the resources to do so and didn’t think that our Myanmar people would be interested to shop this way that early.”

Fair to say so considering only 1% of its population was connected to the internet only a few years back.

RGO, now rebranded to rgo47, decided to launch its online channel in April 2014 — the year that marked the country’s “Mobile Revolution” when mobile penetration jumped to 83% in only five short years.

Through its ecommerce channels to this day, the company continues to sell its most popular category: fashion apparel that includes everyday apparel, sportswear, shoes, and bags as well as its most recent category additions: cosmetics, kitchen appliances, and electronic and home office goods.

A uniquely Facebook-first market  

Given Myanmar’s reputation for being a Facebook-first country, the company set up a Facebook page and website as its first online channels.

“Facebook is very integral to the Burmese daily life that it’s almost useless for us to have a website,” said Win “I’d say 80% of our transactions come from Facebook.”

Myanmar ecommerce market

rgo47’s main Facebook page

According to Win, a native Burmese herself, a majority of consumers in the country require a personal touch, which usually means human interaction while placing their orders.

To cater to this need, the company employs 42 telesales personnel – out of 122 employees – to communicate with customers through phones and chat applications including Facebook Messenger, and the country’s favorite, Viber.

Win is trying to lessen its reliance on a labour intensive transaction process and anticipates a change in consumer behavior. The company released its mobile application earlier this May, already generating 11,000 (iOS) and 72,000 (Android) downloads.

However, even with this initiative, Win admits that shoppers still prefer the company’s Facebook page, pretty evident as the rgo47 page holds the largest audience in the country.

Myanmar ecommerce market

The company has the largest Facebook audience in Myanmar, leaving behind even earlier player Rocket Internet’s and Kaymu

Evolving Burmese online shopping behavior

A preference for Facebook is not to say that the Burmese are resistant to change.

While cash-on-delivery (COD) was the most preferred payment method based on rgo47 records last year, the company saw a shift to more than 50% of its orders now being processed via other channels such as bank transfer and Wave Money – Myanmar’s top mobile financial service providers.

Although a step in the right direction, Win believes the country’s lack of ATMs can cause customers to travel long distances in order to complete a payment and has unfortunately resulted in many canceled orders.

Aside from low payments infrastructure, the country’s addressing system also presents the last mile challenge. While most of its customers reside in big cities such as Yangon and Mandalay, the company has seen an increase of orders coming from rural areas where the drop off locations are difficult to find.

“Outside of Yangon, it is really hard to find the address for customers. That’s why most ecommerce companies in Myanmar still need to give every customer a call to confirm their orders and exact location,” explained Win.

While Myanmar’s ecommerce challenges are not uncommon, Win says customers are loyal, especially after companies have proven their reliability.

More than 30% of rgo47’s monthly transactions come from returning customers.

Win believes that the reason they have such a high retention rate is because her company constantly seeks ways to cater to customer needs.

“Customer satisfaction is the only metric that really counts for us,” said Win.

Customer-obsession seems to be working as the company is currently experiencing two-folds growth in its annual number of transactions and expects volumes to increase as more Burmese pick up online shopping habits.

Possibilities for the future

Despite the hardships that come with nascent markets like Myanmar, Win feels optimistic about the possibilities yet to be explored in ecommerce and its potential impact on communities.

A big determinant of ecommerce success in the country rgo47 believes is working together with experienced ecommerce firms from other markets to learn and apply their best practices.

Win also encourages foreign players to get their hands dirty and enter the market while it’s still early to reap the most benefits.

“The Myanmar people are smart and very curious about new tech experiences,” says Win.

“Many companies hesitate to enter Myanmar because they think the people or the market is not ready but if you’re waiting until they’re ready, it means you’re already too late.”

Singapore is the most mature ecommerce market in Southeast Asia where 60% of respondents report shopping online. Singaporeans also spend the most online in the region – on average a shopper purchased online goods worth $1,022 in 2016.

Statista data shows that Singapore’s ecommerce market is expected to increase from $3.3 abyillion this year to $5.1 billion in 2021 growing annually by 11.2%. And the number of online shoppers is forecasted to rise from 64.8% of the population in 2017 to 80.9% in 2021.

Which categories present good opportunities in Singapore’s ecommerce market in the near future?

Singapore ecommerce outlook

Singaporeans mostly shop online for electronics & media

Electronics & media is currently the leading ecommerce vertical in Singapore, similar as in Thailand. It’s predicted to remain as such in the near future, Statista data shows.

  • Electronics & media ecommerce market in 2017: $918 million or 27.6% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Electronics & media ecommerce market in 2021: $1.345 million of 26.5% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +10%
  • Market’s largest segment: Consumer electronics with a market volume of $679 million in 2017

Currently, there aren’t many players in Singapore who sell online physical media (e.g. books, DVDs, games), consumer electronics (e.g. TVs, stereo systems) and/or communication devices (e.g. computers, smartphones, tablets).

The annual growth rate of online sales in this category is not the fastest, but ensures that in five years time, more than one fourth of all projected online sales in Singapore will come from selling TVs, computers, books and other devices and media.

Furniture & homeware to grow the fastest

This vertical is expected to grow by nearly 15% annually within the next five years from 2017.

  • Furniture & appliances ecommerce market in 2017: $452 million or 13.6% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Furniture & appliances ecommerce market in 2021: $782 million or 15.4% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +14.7%
  • Market’s largest segment: Furniture and Homeware with a market volume of $317 million in 2017

Selling online furniture and household goods such as kitchen and bathroom accessories, textile furnishings will account for nearly half of the market volume in this vertical.

Below is a few examples of companies currently selling products in this vertical.

Some local players like Horme and Star Living are already seizing this opportunity whereas global giants like Ikea have not yet taken advantage but will most likely move online.

Fashion to become the second largest vertical

Fashion ecommerce in Singapore is expected to have the second highest annual growth rate following furniture. This will make fashion the second largest vertical by sales by 2021, up from the third largest vertical in 2017.

  • Fashion ecommerce market in 2017: $769 million or 23.2% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Fashion ecommerce market in 2021: $1.243 billion or 24.5% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +12.7%
  • Market’s largest segment: Clothing with a market volume of $584 million in 2017

The fashion ecommerce vertical is unsurprisingly quite crowded in the Lion City. From local marketplaces such as Reebonz and Megafash to local brands like Charles & Keith and global brands like Uniqlo, many have already added online to their sales channel to be where their customers are – in the digital environment.

Hobby and stationery products are big in Singapore ecommerce

Selling toys, baby items, sports and outdoor products, and stationery online is also a big market in Singapore. It is projected to be the third largest vertical in sales by 2021 making up 23% of Singapore’s total ecommerce.

  • Toys, hobby & DIY ecommerce market in 2017: $844 million or 25.4% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Toys, hobby & DIY ecommerce market in 2021: $1.178 billion or 23.2% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +8.7%
  • Market’s largest segment: Hobby & stationery (e.g. musical instruments and office supplies) with a market volume of $529 million in 2017

Food & personal care to grow 55%

This category is expected to grow to $528 million within the next five years. Although it is the  smallest of all verticals in terms of sales, it is still projected to produce a steady annual growth rate of nearly 12% in the period from 2017 to 2021.

Singapore’s online grocery segment is quite advanced compared to other Southeast Asian countries, while there are limited numbers of beauty online sellers.

  • Food & personal care ecommerce market in 2017: $339 million or 10.2% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Food & personal care ecommerce market in 2021: $528 million or 10.4% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +11.7%
  • Market’s largest segment: Personal care with a market volume of $231 million in 2017

Looking ahead

Although the country’s ecommerce growth is not the fastest projected in the region, an online shopper in Singapore is expected to spend on average $1,234 in 2021, according to Statista. This stands to be three to four times more than annual online shopping spending in Indonesia and Thailand, nearly 10 times more than in Malaysia, 13 times more than in Vietnam and 26 times more than in the Philippines.

Thailand’s ecommerce market has long been projected by Google and Temasek to become the second biggest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia by 2025 capturing nearly 13% of the market.

Online retail in the country is forecasted to reach $5.31 billion in 2021, an increase 1.8 times from a projected market volume of $2.95 billion in 2017.

But which categories are projected to have the largest sales? And which one will see the fastest growth in the next few years?

Thailand's ecommerce market outlook

Electronics & media ecommerce sales lead online shopping

Electronics & media is currently the leading ecommerce vertical in Thailand and will remain as such in the medium term as shown by Statista data.

The vertical includes the online sales of physical media (e.g. books, DVDs, games), consumer electronics (e.g. TVs, stereo systems) and communication devices (e.g. computers, smartphones, tablets).

  • Electronics & media ecommerce market in 2017: $1.25 billion or 42.5% of the total ecommerce revenue
  • Electronics & media ecommerce market in 2021: $1.77 billion or 33.4% of the total ecommerce revenue
  • Electronics & media ecommerce revenue 2021 vs 2017: +40%
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +9.1%
  • Market’s largest segment: Consumer electronics with market volume of $834 million in 2017

Currently, there are only a few players in Thailand that have specialized on this vertical: JIB, Advice, Power Buy, IT City, Banana Store, Munkong Gadget and HP.

Apart from consumer electronics stores, book shops Asia Books and Kinokunya also sell physical media through their own online stores.

While it is the largest ecommerce vertical, its revenue growth pace is projected to be the slowest among other verticals within the next five years.

Apart from specialized ecommerce stores, businesses planning to sell electronics & media should note that online marketplaces also serve as popular sites to purchase such gadgets from.

51% of online buyers reported buying a mobile phone on a marketplace.

Brands opting to sell on a marketplace have a variety of tools available to increase traffic and conversions for their shop-in-shop.

Fashion ecommerce revenue to grow the fastest

Fashion ecommerce sales are projected to increase 2.5 times within the next five years, the fastest among verticals. Fashion is and will remain the second biggest vertical by ecommerce revenues in the medium term.  

  • Fashion ecommerce market in 2017: $525 million or 17.8% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Fashion ecommerce market in 2021: $1.31 billion or 24.7% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Fashion ecommerce revenue 2021 vs 2017: +149%
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +25.6%
  • Market’s largest segment: Clothing with a market volume of $345 million in 2017

12% of consumers in Thailand buy clothing & footwear on a few specialised fashion online retailers. The opportunity offered in the country has recently been noted by big global players like Uniqlo and Zara that have opened stores. It is only a question of time when other big players will follow online.

A large portion of consumers – 25% – shop for fashion on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and chat app LINE.

More demand for toys, hobby and stationery products

Selling online toys and baby items, sport and outdoor products, garden products, hobby and stationery (e.g. musical instruments and office supplies) offers another opportunity for businesses in Thailand.

This vertical is expected to double to $1 billion within the next five years. The good news is there are only a handful of online retailers targeting moms & babies (Orami) or selling office supplies (OfficeMate and Somjai).

  • Toys, hobby & DIY ecommerce market in 2017: $506 million or 17.2% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Toys, hobby & DIY ecommerce market in 2021: $1.03 billion or 19.4% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Toys, Hobby & DIY ecommerce revenue 2021 vs 2017: +103%
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +19.4%
  • Market’s largest segment: Hobby & stationery with a market volume of $270 million in 2017

Furniture & appliances to grow steadily

The market projections foresee more Thais will go online to buy furniture and home appliances in the future as the market of this vertical is expected to grow by 80%. Local names such as Index Living Mall, Home Pro and SB Design Square are already pursuing omni-channel strategy having both online and offline shops to reach their customers.

  • Furniture & appliances ecommerce market in 2017:$475 million or 16.1% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Furniture & appliances ecommerce market in 2021:$855 million  or 16.1% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Furniture & Appliances ecommerce revenue 2021 vs 2017: +80%
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +15.8%
  • Largest segment: Home appliances with a market volume of $259 million  in 2017

Food & personal care

This vertical is the smallest compared to the others and includes sales of food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and medical products. However, its predicted annual growth rate of more than 16% suggests a strong demand in the next five years.

  • Food & personal care ecommerce market in 2017: $186 million or 6.3% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Food & personal care ecommerce market in 2021: $340 million or 6.4% of total ecommerce revenue
  • Food & Personal care ecommerce revenue 2021 vs 2017: +83%
  • Annual growth rate (CAGR): +16.4%
  • Largest segment: Personal care with a market volume of $121 million in 2017

Looking ahead

Thailand’s ecommerce market as a whole is expected to grow with an annual growth rate of nearly 16% in the next five years and online spending per user is expected to nearly double.

Those who buy online on average this year are also expected to spend $243, whereas in 2021, it is projected that every fourth Thai will buy online and on average spend $382. The future looks bright.

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Ramadan, the time of year when Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk, is only six weeks away. The holy month is not only for reflection and prayer through the Islamic world but surprisingly also one of the busiest shopping seasons for businesses.

Online sales and web traffic have been especially profound for online businesses with a rise of 77% and 110%, respectively, during Ramadan last year. With approximately 240 million Muslims in Southeast Asia, the upcoming holy month means more eating, praying and shopping.

But what are observers of this religious festival shopping for? When and where can businesses reach them? Facebook has shared a presentation that contains insights about users during Ramadan. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Shopping peaks before, during and after Ramadan

Ramadan falls on May 27 to June 25 2017, however, sales increase both pre- and post-Ramadan offering businesses a period of nearly three months to capture the attention of potential buyers.

According to Facebook, the pre-Ramadan phase this year falls from April until May 26 followed by the holy Ramadan month, while the post-Ramadan phase falls from June 26 to July 31.


People start browsing to discover products as early as April, but shopping peaks in the Ramadan month, by as much as 27% compared to the season average in 2016.

Women especially are looking for tips to decorate the home, create a new dish or buy a dress, so it’s best to reach them through online campaigns when they begin prepping for the celebrations.

The pre-Ramadan period is good for offering things like household cleaning supplies as people embrace “purity” and “cleanliness” preparing to welcome Ramadan. The week before Ramadan, people will stock up on food and beverages.

Mobile is the observer’s best friend

  • 60% of Indonesians use the mobile during this season to connect with family and friends. Family, food and the home dominate Facebook conversations.
  • 86% of Indonesians access the internet via the mobile.
  • 96 million people access Facebook monthly on mobile making the platform a smart marketing channel.  
  • More service-based apps are downloaded during and post-Ramadan for a stress-free (28% increase in installs in June, 26% in July).

The Ramadan shopper

The focus is on women during this time of year as more activities become stressful in Ramadan. They include:

  • Keeping a tidy home (30.6%)
  • Cooking (30.4%)
  • Dressing well (27.9%)
  • Entertaining family/friends (19.5%)
  • Being a parent (14.9%)

And because they tend to miss out on relaxing (29%), watching TV shows (20%) and spending time with family/friends (16%), they turn to the mobile to post on Facebook and 50% look for inspiration during Ramadan.

Women namely discuss family, food and beverage and the household in Facebook conversations. The most popular Instagram hashtags during Ramadan include:

  • Hijab, Hijabers, Hijab fashion
  • Fashion
  • Dress
  • Kemeja (shirt)
  • Bajuanak (children’s clothes)
  • Holiday (more local destinations than global)

The most popular shopping topics among women:

  • Clothing – particularly for new clothes for Eid/Lebaran
  • Electronics – TV, Playstation and mobile phones (particularly Samsung)
  • Gifting and promotions

How to reach this demographic? Facebook has shared a handy table for setting up ad campaigns and the topics/keywords to focus on to provide convenience to observers:

Other tips to reach more Ramadan browsers

eIQ case study a few years back found that web traffic peaks in the early hours of the day so boosting online promotions and offers between 3AM to 6AM will be more effective than scheduling those for later in the day.

Digital marketing is a good way to send your brand message to customers during this period, especially if it’s optimized for the mobile device. Businesses also need to be aware that if they are connecting to their audience during this religious time, content should be appropriate and sensitive while providing as much convenience as possible.

  • Inspire with best Ramadan deals: tips for decorating the home, healthy recipes, stylish dresses
  • Begin campaigns early: Start as soon as April (now!) before it gets to Ramadan crunch time.
  • Be a problem solver: Women are stressed about cleaning, cooking and dressing well. Be creative, bundle cleaning supplies with home delivery and curated fashion solutions.

Be it marketing through Facebook, email or any other channel, this is a helpful checklist for optimal marketing efficacy:

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The five most valuable companies of today account for almost $2.4 trillion in market capitalization combined while only employing around half of the people that normally attend the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City’s Times Square.

This number may not tell us much per se but when we think that the whole continent of Africa with a population of 1.2 billion people has a combined GDP of $2.2 trillion, (International Monetary Fund) we realize that there was never a time in recent history where so much wealth was generated by such a small number of people.

If we think of these tech giants in simpler terms, we have a company connecting people (Facebook), another one organizing the world’s data (Google), one that’s aspirational (Apple) and another that makes businesses more efficient (Microsoft).

Amazon, on the other hand, is set out to become the world’s marketplace.

And even to this day, they continue to hold true to its original mission statement, which we can consider as their “Box Two”, which is to be “earth’s most customer-centric company, where consumers can find anything they want to buy online and at the lowest price” (

In its annual letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos characterized Amazon as an “invention machine” which three main pillars or “Box One” are: Prime, their marketplace and AWS. Not only will Amazon Prime members account for 50% of American households this year but they also spend more than twice as much and order much more frequently than non-members.

Members not only get free and fast delivery but other benefits such as video streaming, which in the end results in higher conversion rates and retention. The company is allocating almost $6 billion on original content next year.

With more than 63 million members spending around $1,300 each year and a retention rate of more than 90% (Consumer Intelligence Report, 2016), numbers seem bright for Amazon. We also see that last year, Amazon alone was responsible for 51% of the growth in US ecommerce while expectations are set on the fact that total global sales are predicted to reach $28.3 trillion by 2018 with ecommerce accounting for 8.8% (eMarketer, 2014).

Lastly, when looking into Amazon cloud service, AWS, we find that they lead adoption rate with 57% and around $10 billion in revenue this year. Spending on public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) hardware and software are also expected to reach $173 billion within the next ten years – the market growth potential is massive.

Amazon ‘Box Three’

The new global logistics paradigm

Not that long ago, only a handful of retailers offered free shipping. Now, everyone is forced to try and do so, hoping they won’t run out of oxygen before it happens. Amazon has changed the rules of the game for the retail industry with its tremendous access to cheap capital that allows them to make multi-billion dollars investments in their fulfillment infrastructure.

They have opened more than 180 fulfillment centers across the globe surpassing any other retailer and only last year, they opened 28 sorting centers, 59 delivery stations and more than 65 Prime Now and Fresh delivery hubs with the intention of delivering goods to consumers in less than 60 minutes.

Amazon also offers a platform called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which is a way for third-party retailers to take advantage of Amazon shipping infrastructure. FBA saw its active users grow more than 50% last year while nearly 50% of total third-party units delivered was through this platform.

To this day, the Achilles heel for Amazon continues to be its shipping costs, which account for 11% of its overall sales and have increased each year to almost $12 billion in 2015. Shipping fees collected – mostly through Prime users – are only 50% of all shipping transportation costs making this situation unsustainable in the long-run.

Amazon needs to reduce its dependency on external providers and change the role it plays in the delivery of products.

The Seattle-based company has not sat quietly and recently made of series of moves to strengthen its logistics arm:

  • obtained a freight-forwarding license through one of its Chinese contractors that allows them to sell space in cargo ships potentially becoming a sort of travel agent for freights
  • leased 40 US cargo planes that could account for 20 to 30% of its cargo volume independently
  • started testing the usage of parcel-drone delivery under the “Prime Air” platform
  • utilizes more than 30,000 robots at its warehouses
  • started delivering packages under the “Amazon” brand with leased truck trailers.

Amazon has also recently focused on its “last mile” strategy, which is the final and normally most expensive part of a package’s trip to a customer’s front door.

Amazon started to team-up with delivery startups in Europe, mostly the UK, and introduced its own crowd sourcing delivery service called “Flex” that uses contract drivers to deliver its regular packages directly competing with FedEx, UPS and if thinking about future possible business models, with Uber.

Amazon has also filed a patent to use transient warehouses that would allow smaller vehicles to access items from places other than brick-and-mortar locations.

This is Amazon’s move into expanding across the supply chain by focusing on logistics components that were previously outsourced — first inbound logistics and then home delivery.

Once they have built a sustainable and efficient transportation network over the next 5 to 10 years, others will be able to use it and Amazon will market it accordingly, just like they did with their cloud computing business.

This way of doing business is explained by Freightos CEO Zvi Schreiber in Techcrunch as being part of the development process at Amazon. First, you identify some inefficiency and start developing a technological solution internally, then as you scale that solution and it becomes a platform, you can offer it as a paid service to third-parties.

Amazon has done this for things like product development and warehousing to payment systems.

Figure 1. Amazon’s vertical integration in the supply chain (Freightos, 2016)

In the following years, we are going to see a disruptive change in the current transportation business as Amazon will not only compete domestically but it will also become a global delivery company capable of moving goods directly from China to consumers in the US or Europe through its transportation network that ranges from cargo ships to drone deliverance.

Nowadays, ocean freight continues to be mostly a “paper-based” industry with room for technological improvement with consumers keen to have faster and cheaper access to a broader range of products from around the world and merchants eager to have a broader market.

This is what Amazon believes is a unique opportunity to enter both the $1 trillion market of cross-border online sales and tap into the $350 billion ocean freight industry.

Disrupting fashion

Although most of Amazon sales comes from either books or consumer electronics, there’s one category that has seen tremendous growth over the past few years: clothing.

Amazon has invested heavily in setting itself as a fashion destination for anyone looking to buy clothing online. Many designer brands have decided to be on the platform to take advantage of its huge consumer base, its excellent supply-chain management and the fact that Amazon has promised them full price on their listings.

Figure 2. US sales of apparel and accessories (Quartz, 2016)

On the other side, we see that all major department stores have witnessed their stocks fall last year as their long-term market outlook seems rather obscure with more people turning to Amazon for apparel.

Macy’s had to close 100 stores last year and it’s said that others like Nordstrom and Sears would have to cut down around 30% their stores in order to have the same level of sales per sq foot as pre-recession (2008) times.

Amazon has shifted its initial strategy about fashion to start offering more high-end designer names in its listings somewhat successfully with “accessible luxury” brands but most higher-end luxury labels still don’t want to be associated with what they consider to be a “simple marketplace” and diminish their brand equity.

Luxury is defined mostly as a customer experience that is difficult to replicate online and by no means in a template-ized format where their listings would be next to fast fashion or lower-end brands. But this could turn out to be a good opportunity for Amazon to acquire brick-and-mortar stores in exclusive locations -Macy’s for example – and build what could become an aspirational brand in the future, much like how Apple went from being a tech company to a luxury one.

Even when they are not officially on the platform, high-end luxury brands like Louis Vuitton also have products listed on Amazon. We can see that even when their products rank higher than other prestige brands, the bulk of their sales happened in the grey market through third-party sellers.

This phenomena involves mostly apparel and fragrances brands who can’t control the flow of counterfeits or legitimate discount listings.

Amazon keeps a close eye on the volume of these listings but only for partner brands, as is the case with Calvin Klein who after signing a partnership with Amazon went from having 7,824 SKU fragrances in 2014 to only 38 one year later.

This is the way that Amazon forces high-end brands to become partners and have an official store inside the marketplace.

Amazon’s move into the fashion industry does not only involve increasing brand equity by bringing higher-end brands into its platform but also positions them as a key player.

To do this, the company has launched its own private fashion label hiring executives from top luxury fashion companies and launching seven in-house brands.

They understand that branding is shifting towards the consumer and with its loyal and affluent Prime user base,they will surpass every department store out there and become the largest clothing retailer in the US by 2017.

Amazon entering our house

In a recent conference, NYU professor Scott Galloway stated that our previous understanding of how market capitalization is made in the tech industry has completely changed in the last few years. In the past, we would argue that value was dependent on the amount of users we had and how engaged they were and we could cite Twitter as a clear example of this with its vast (but declining) user base.

He argues that the algorithm for value is now based on how many “receptors” we have,

How much user data and user behaviour patterns we can collect and what we do with this data for the consumer in terms of intelligence.

Amazon had pioneered this idea long ago when they enabled shoppers to make informed purchases through user reviews while reinforcing search algorithms. This algorithm works by comparing historical and recent sales to determine a sales rank, which it then uses to support search placement.

Based on the user recent purchases and what product listings they visited, Amazon shows a customized home page relative to each person and while they provide users with the most information than anyone else about a product, they also ensure consumers that they are selling it at the lowest possible price.

While BestBuy and Walmart change their prices about 50,000 times each month, Amazon does it 2,500,000 times each day reinforcing the idea to Prime users that they don’t have to go anywhere else to buy something online.

Almost 20 years ago, the world of ecommerce was shaken when Amazon filed a patent for a “one-click” payment system that allowed customers to avoid the hassle of entering their personal information each time they make a purchase. This patent covered a business method with such a broad definition that created an initial technological lead by Amazon for many years.

With the recent introduction of the “Dash” button, Amazon now offers these “one-click” purchases within the household as a way for consumers to effortlessly order goods for their everyday lives but have no desire to spend time purchasing it, such as cleaning detergent, for example.

This was a bold move by Amazon to lure consumers away from brick-and-mortar stores and also learn even more about their users purchase history.

At the same time, it came at almost no cost for them because 150 brands were each sponsoring their own version of the “Dash”. But it doesn’t stop there, as Amazon launched a device called the Echo that uses cloud-based AI Alexa to perform tasks that range from answering queries about the weather to controlling smart home devices and making purchases.

Alexa has recently been opened up to external developers and more skills are introduced each week by the community – over 3,000 as of now. With sales reaching 3MM units this year, even other tech giants like Google had to come up with their own version of the Echo (using “conversational actions” instead of skills), to not miss the opportunity of entering ‘our’ house.


Not many companies have a broader “Box Three” than Amazon does at the moment. It has the ambition to disrupt not only the retail and fashion industries but also global logistics and content-on-demand to name a few.

Amazon is already the undisputed leader in ecommerce and cloud infrastructure (“Box One”) and have an affluent and loyal Prime user base.

My prediction is that Amazon will continue to secure this user base by spending more each year on generating original content for its users. The budget for next year ranks 3rd worldwide only after ESPN and Netflix.

It will also add more special perks such as “Prime Day” and finally continue providing an ever faster and cheaper service for consumers.

As Jeff Bezos said in a recent conference, “I don’t think anyone will ever want to spend more in shipping and have longer delivery times”. These users belong mostly to upper-middle class households that have yet to shift most of the purchases they do from offline to online.

Amazon wants to capitalize on that by offering a seamless experience to users through Dash and Echo for everyday item replenishment and through Amazon Fresh and Pantry for grocery delivery.

Amazon will surely open brick-and-mortar stores that will serve as warehouses and offer curated items with a 5-star user rating along with user reviews similarly to what they currently do in its Seattle bookstore or the recently opened cashier-less convenience store they call “Amazon Go”.

Amazon Go serves as proof that vertical integration is key to this kind of disruption as no other company would have ever pulled something like that off through corporate partnership.

As only 3 to 5% of the shopping we do is actually enjoyable and we prefer to do it in brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon understands that to capture the mid-high end market, they need to transform its brand into an aspirational one. For that, they need to provide a disruptive shopping experience inside its stores and make a name for themselves in the fashion industry.

Finally, through all this user generated data, Amazon machine learning algorithms will learn our purchasing behavior over time and eventually be able to “predict” what our purchases will be, only asking for confirmation before ordering the groceries for the week.

That way, most of today’s purchases, both offline and online, will happen through Amazon thus increasing the current Prime user yearly expenditure from $1,300 to $10,000 pushing market capitalization to a trillion dollars.

By Nicolas Metallo, the original article can be found here. Editing by ecommerceIQ

Indonesia is projected to capture 52% of Southeast Asia’s total ecommerce value by 2025.

Total revenue from ecommerce in Indonesia only this year is predicted to reach $6.96 billion, and projected to rise to $14.47 billion by 2021, meaning that total revenue will double in four years.

Statista data shows us what businesses looking at the Indonesian market should keep in mind for the next few years.

Fashion is a leading vertical in ecommerce

Fashion consistently dominates as the country’s top selling vertical in online retail and is predicted to increase in revenue every year until 2021.

Fashion 2016: $1.99 billion total revenue

Fashion 2017: $2.47 billion total revenue

Fashion 2021: $5.32 billion total revenue

Current key players in fashion ecommerce:

Matahari Department Store, Salestock, Zalora, Lyke, Berrybenka, muslim fashion store Hijup, and Kuki

Source: eIQ ECOMScape Indonesia

Food and personal care to experience slow growth

The total revenue for online food and personal care in 2016 was $0.49 billion, and predicted to reach $0.71 billion by 2018. By 2021, food and personal care online revenues are projected to reach $1.07 billion, trailing behind verticals such as electronics, fashion and furniture but still expected to double.

Furniture and appliances to experience steady rise

The graph suggests that more Indonesians will be jumping online to buy couches and chairs. A few first movers in the furniture industry such as Fabelio will be a part of the market that is expected to bring in a total revenue of $1.18 billion and  predicted to rise to $2.39 billion by 2021.

Looking ahead

Indonesia’s ecommerce market as a whole is  set to grow.All verticals ranging from fashion to toys are all poised to experience 2X growth by 2021 as internet penetration is going to jump from 13% to 21% by 2021.