E-commerce in APAC to reach USD$3.5 trillion by 2021

According to to Rakuten’s APAC E-commerce 2019 report, this multi-trillion dollar e-commerce market is the world’s largest, and almost three times larger than North America, the second largest, who have yet to exceed a trillion dollars.

Mobile device-commerce sales will account for a staggering 80% of transactions, just over $2.7 trillion dollars by 2021. For brands to be successful in APAC, it is important for them to be familiar with the different devices, platforms and consumer preferences within the region.

Data shows heavy usage of mobile devices for shopping, although in countries like China these transactions come from specific apps like WeChat and Weibo. APAC consumers also like to optimise their shopping experiences through concierge apps and freight forwarding services.

Mobile transactions have outpaced desktop within most markets in APAC, with China leading the way. China is expected to hit $2 trillion dollars in m-commerce sales by 2020. Although Australia and New Zealand have the highest offline shopping trends, e-commerce growth is steadily on the rise in both countries.

Website authenticity, payment security and costs in shipping or returns are reasons why many offline shoppers are adverse to online shopping. Malaysia is projected to exceed $140 billion in sales by the end of the year, a 4% growth from 2017’s total annual retail sales.

According to eMarketer, retail sales in Malaysia will continue to grow, exceeding $157 billion in annual sales by 2021. Online and offline shopping is heavily preferred among Malaysian consumers, with 90% saying they use a mix of both digital and in-store shopping.

Only 2% of Malaysian shoppers shop online exclusively and 8% don’t shop online at all. Of those who do shop online, the overall device preference is a desktop or laptop (80%), with mobile following closely behind (72%) and tablets in a distant third (31%).

Malaysian shoppers in the 18-24 age range use a desktop or laptop and mobile device equally when shopping online at 84% and 25-34 were almost identical in their usage (83% and 82%, respectively).

Desktop and laptop usage stayed the same across all Malaysian age brackets (78%-77%), whilst mobile device usage dropped heavily from 35-44 to 45-54, going from 72% to 55%.

Mobile device usage for online shopping was lowest among shoppers 55 and over at 49%. 18% of Malaysian shoppers cited concerns about the legitimacy of digital storefronts as well as the ability to return items as key reasons for not shopping online. High shipping costs were not far behind, as 16% of shoppers said the cost of shipping deters them from shopping online.

Following similar trends to most other APAC countries, Malaysian shoppers gravitate primarily to Women’s Fashion and Travel & Services categories. These two categories were in the top three of every age bracket among Malaysian consumers, with Beauty Products, Electronics and Groceries & Household also reaching the top three in various brackets.

Women’s Fashion and Travel & Services were tied at 10% apiece for online expenditure among all Malaysian shoppers, with Beauty Products not far behind at 9%. More consumers are planning on purchasing within all categories, with Women’s Fashion (86% increased intent to spend), Travel & Services (81%) and Beauty Products (80%) leading.

Malaysian shoppers primarily rely on search engines to discover new shopping websites, using them 19% of the time to find a new place to check out products. 16% of Malaysian consumers find websites from advertising on social media, and 89% said they made a purchase from a site after seeing a social media ad for it.

14% of the time Malaysian shoppers have learned about a site by seeing an ad for it on another website, and 82% of shoppers said they have purchased from a new site after seeing the ad. 91% of Malaysians have bought from a site after seeing it on a coupon or deal site, and 92% said the same after seeing a site on a cashback or rewards site.

However, Malaysian shoppers only discover new sites from these two types of deal sites 10% and 9% of the time, respectively. Luxury Goods are the most commonly purchased product category for Malaysian shoppers purchasing internationally, with 71% of products in this category purchased from overseas.

Media & Games were purchased internationally 63% of the time, followed by Wines, Beers & Spirits (62%), Watches & Accessories (60%) and Women’s Fashion (60%).

Malaysian shoppers shop locally 43% of the time. When they shop internationally they tend to shop from China (25%), South Korea (8%), Singapore (7%) and Japan (6%).

The highest engagement rates for Malaysian shoppers comes via Facebook, where they follow both local and international brands 38% of the time. When not following them on Facebook, almost one in every five subscribe to a brands email newsletter.

Only 13% of Malaysian shoppers don’t interact at all with local brands, and 14% with international. 59% say that international brands offer better product selections, 62% think they offer more innovative products and 49% say international brands offer better quality.

Source: Rakuten

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