E-comm to result in common Southeast Asian consumer market: BCG

The rapid spread of e-commerce and digital technologies is binding together the economies of the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) into one of the world’s largest emerging consumer markets, helping fulfill a decades-old aspiration of the region’s leaders, says a report by global management consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The growing reach of e-commerce platforms and investments in logistical infrastructure are helping connect buyers with sellers across Southeast Asia

Titled ‘How the Digital Revolution is Integrating Southeast Asia’s Consumers’, BCG presented the report recently in Singapore in partnership with the Singapore Summit, according to a press release from the company.

The growing reach of e-commerce platforms and investments in logistical infrastructure are helping connect buyers with sellers across Southeast Asia, the report said. 

As a result, e-commerce is projected to grow explosively by 36 per cent per year till 2025, when it will reach around $88 billion.

E-commerce is also projected to account for 6.4 per cent of retail sales in ASEAN by 2025, compared with less than 1 per cent today, it said.

“Affluent consumers are growing more rapidly than the emerging middle-class. To capture the enormous opportunities, companies will not only need an ASEAN-wide strategy. They will need a digital ASEAN strategy,” said Aparna Bharadwaj, a BCG partner who leads the firm’s centre for consumer insight and its marketing, sales and pricing practice in ASEAN.

Powerful trends accelerating the growth of e-commerce in the region include rising affluence and urbanisation and a growing demand for convenience. The percentage of Southeast Asians with middle-class or affluent incomes is projected to rise from 40 per cent now to 64 per cent in 2030.

Between 2015 and 2030, the percentage of the population in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam living in cities is projected to rise from 48 per cent to 57 per cent, the report added.

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