Tuesday, March 19

Southeast Asia’s most visited e-commerce platforms of the year

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2018 has been really significant for e-commerce in Southeast Asia. Among most notable highlights in the region was that Tokopedia raised US$1.1 billion from Alibaba and SoftBank, Bukalapak, became Indonesia’s fourth Unicorn, Lazada, received an additional USUS$4 billion and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A recent study by Google predicts that the e-commerce industry in the region will garner a total of US$23 billion in gross merchandise revenue (GMV) by the end of the year. By 2025, the industry is on track to value as much as USUS$102 billion in GMV.

Before we wrap up the year, we looked back to find out who were the top players in the region, the competition and point out the most interesting developments of 2018.

To do this, we analysed the total desktop and mobile web visits of 60 e-commerce platforms from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. From this, we ascertained the top 10 players in the region as well as the top 10 in each country.

E-commerce platforms featured in this study were chosen based on their performance on our study on the map of e-commerce as well. All data on the total visits on desktop and mobile web in this study were taken from global traffic figures from the respective regional sites.

Uptrend growth in Southeast Asia’s top 10 e-commerce platforms

We calculated the percentage of growth of the total visits on desktop and mobile web by the company between January and November 2018 and saw that the 10 top e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia grew its traffic by 53 per cent on average. This positive uptrend is mirrored by Google’s report stating that the online retail sector is moving quicker than expected.

Commanding the biggest market share of total visits on desktop and mobile web of the year are Lazada at 27 per cent, Tokopedia at 17 per cent, Shopee at 15 per cent and Bukalapak at 12 per cent. Lazada maintains its market-leading position despite facing stiff competition from Tokopedia and Shopee throughout the year.

By the end of 2018, we see Shopee closing into Lazada to become its closest competitor. Shopee grew its total visits on desktop and mobile web to overtake Tokopedia and reduced Lazada’s preeminent position by 66 per cent in its total total visits on desktop and mobile web.

Indonesian, Vietnamese platforms compete with region

Lazada’s dominant position was almost overtaken by Tokopedia in July and August 2018. In fact, Tokopedia, as it was able to sustain a high number of total visits on desktop and mobile web garnered from its Ramadan and Hari Raya sale campaign in May 2018.

The Ramadan period was considered among the most important festive season in Indonesia. It is a popular sale period as consumers will actively purchase gifts, apparels, and decorative items to prepare for the occasion in June.

As such, it was apparent to see that both Tokopedia and Lazada experienced a dip in total visits on desktop and mobile web in June 2018 in Indonesia as most consumers were offline during the Hari Raya celebrations.

Among the many successful efforts initiated by Tokopedia to maintain its increased total visits on desktop and mobile web after Hari Raya was with its 9th-anniversary sale, which was held in August 2019.

The Indonesian e-commerce company has been particularly impressive as it was able to challenge for the top spot though it was only available in Indonesia. Meanwhile, Lazada is a regional player with consumers from 6 countries.

Its success received further validation as Tokopedia recently raised US$1.1 billion from Softbank in December 2018 to become Indonesia’s most valuable startup, valued at about US$7 billion.

Also remarkable in the regional level were Vietnamese e-commerce platforms Thegioididong and Tiki with the average total total visits on desktop and mobile web at 29 million and 26 million respectively. This was particularly impressive as both players are only available in the Vietnamese market.

Thegioididong (also known as Mobile World in Vietnamese) initiated its business as brick and mortar electronics store since it was founded in 2004. Through the years, the electronics store rose to become the most prominent platform in Vietnam both online and offline. In its home country, Thegioididong overtook Lazada to become the second most visited e-commerce platform after Shopee by November 2018.

On the other hand, Tiki was popular amongst locals as well and is backed by Chinese e-commerce giant, JD.com. The e-commerce company recently received approximately US$44 million to develop its business specifically for the Vietnamese market.

Biggest improvement in total visits on desktop, mobile web
By comparing the percentage of growth in total visits on desktop and mobile web between January and November 2018 we were able to see who grew the most by the end of the year.

E-commerce platforms with the most remarkable growth figures were JD at 246 per cent, Shopee 158 per cent, and Tokopedia at 94 per cent.

JD.com has continued its expansion into South East Asia recently launching its e-commerce platform JD Central in Thailand in October 2018 and has made great progress in Indonesia as well. This was evident as they grew the fastest from 5.4 million in January to 12.7 million in November in total total visits on desktop and mobile web.

Jeremy Chew is the head of content marketing for iPrice group, the fastest growing product meta-search platform in Southeast Asia. For further information, please visit https://iprice.my.