Online shopping boom continues in 2022

Online shopping will still be booming this year, even if the COVID-19 pandemic is over, experts have said.

The digital economy saw massive growth in Southeast Asia last year, driven by the rise of e-commerce, according to a recent report by e-commerce platform Lazada.

The regional e-commerce market reported a 24-fold increase over the last six years, from US$5 billion in 2015 to US$120 billion in 2021. It is forecast to reach US$234 billion in 2025.

The Vietnamese market is also expected to quadruple to US$39 billion by 2025 from US$13 billion last year.

The pandemic has triggered major changes in customers’ behaviour and shopping habits, the report cited, as 58% of surveyed Vietnamese said they will continue shopping on online marketplaces because it is convenient. This habit is likely to sustain in the future as 53% of the respondents indicated that online shopping has become a part of their life.

Dang Hoang Hai, Director of the Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency (iDEA), said e-commerce has been a critical distribution channel, maintaining supply chains and boosting sales of agricultural products, particularly during the severe resurgence of COVID-19.

Sales on e-commerce sites reached US$13 billion last year, up 16% against 2020, making Vietnam one of the top three Southeast Asian countries with the highest growth in online retail sales.

There has been a booming demand for e-commerce since the outset of the pandemic, said Nguyen Ngoc Dung, President of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM). More than 70% of the Vietnamese population have access to the Internet; nearly 50% went shopping online and 53% use e-wallets and adopt digital payments, he noted.

James Song, CEO of Lazada Thailand and Vietnam, said COVID-19 waves have brought about major changes in customers’ behaviour and shaped new trends. Five key trends in 2021 are likely to continue having profound impacts on e-commerce ecosystem this year, namely social commerce, User Generated Content (UCG), personalised customer experience, digital payment, and multi-channel shopping, he said.

Though shoppers are returning to physical stores, there is no sign of decline in online shopping, said Tracey Ryan O’Connor, Vice President of Qubit Group, in fact, the trend keeps growing constantly.

Even if the pandemic comes to an end, online shopping will continue to thrive further as it has become a habit of consumers, she said.