As e-commerce grows rapidly in Southeast Asia, iPrice spotted this trend and conducted a study of e-commerce markets in three big countries in the region: Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. They have been competing not only in the e-commerce market but also the economy in general. The competition among the three players is tight.
Lazada has been operating in Southeast Asia for around five years. With major investment from Alibaba in April 2016, it has become the top choice among online shoppers in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. This is based on iPrice’s study, revealing the ranking of top e-commerce stores in each country by the share of traffic. Other interesting findings include:
In Thailand, Lazada has a traffic share of around 52.6%, followed by 11 Street with 12.2% and Shopee with 4.4%.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian market is dominated by Lazada, with a traffic share of around 48.5%, followed by 11Street with 16.4% and Lelong with 10.5%\.
In Vietnam, though Lazada is ranked first on the list, with a 19% share of traffic, total traffic is diversified by many local players, such as Thegioididong with 15% and Sendo 11%.
This only proves that there is tight competition between each player, unlike in Malaysia and Thailand, where Lazada leaves a huge gap for other players to catch up.
According to the study, the availability of information varies in each country. Malaysians tend to find more information about promotions and deals, unlike in Thailand and Vietnam. On the other hand, Vietnamese tend to find information about the price and availability of the product.
Meanwhile, Thai people are called collectivists, since they tend to listen to their friends and family when they seek information. With the advancement of technology and the easy access to information, Thai people’s behavior has changed. Although Thais look for information through online channels, often they still shop in bricks and mortar establishments such as department stores.
There are many factors to explain this behavior. For example, Thai people do not trust online shopping systems, since they wouldn’t be able to touch and try the products before they make a purchase. Not to mention that they feel more comfortable having a representative to assist them in their purchase.
Internationals purchases have become a primary choice for Southeast Asian customers who seek more options outside their region. Vietnamese people purchase products internationally because they believe that products abroad have higher quality than equivalents produced in Vietnam. Thai people also like to purchase products from international companies because of the vast selection of products they offer. They also believe that products sold online from international companies are cheaper than those sold in their local department stores.
One of the obstacles that these shoppers face is the language barrier. This problem seems to be evident among Thais and most especially Vietnamese. This is because they are not comfortable in navigating through an online website that uses English. On the other hand, Malaysians, who often use English in their daily conversations, do not experience such problems when purchasing products online from aboard.
Thai people engage with e-commerce Facebook fan pages
iPrice collaborated with Socialbakers, a leading company in social media analytics, to study the social media engagement of people towards e-commerce Facebook pages in each country.
The study shows that Thai people have the highest interaction per 1,000 fans, garnering a score of 237.6. This is followed by Vietnam with 208.9 and Malaysia with 109.
This data implies that Thai people are more engaged with content on e-commerce Facebook pages. They tend to like, share, and comment on posts more than people in the other two countries.
Thailand is expected to be the second biggest e-commerce market in Southeast Asia in 2025.
According to the e-economy SEA study by Google and Temasek, Thailand’s e-commerce market value was US$900 million in 2015. It projects that the market will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 29%, reaching US$11.1 billion in 2025 and being the biggest among the three countries and the second-largest in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.
With tight competition in each market, it’s quite interesting to see how the e-commerce market in each country will play out in 2018. Consumers in each market will definitely benefit from the stiff competition because not only do they have more options but also expect more product and service quality.