E-commerce transactions in SEA increasingly mobile: iPrice
Online shopping in SEA markets have shifted to smaller devices
Shoppers in M’sia, S’pore, Philippines, prefer to shop using desktops
iPrice Group believes that online shoppers' buying behaviour have shifted in Southeast Asia (SEA), with some countries prefering mobile to shop while others prefer desktops. In its most recent study titled “The State of Online Shoppers in Southeast Asia 2021/22,” the online shopping aggregator traces the impact on online shoppers of the rapid rollout of mobile broadband networks; the continued development of smartphones; and the impact of the Covid pandemic.
The data is based on data from 125 million unique users on the group’s websites supporting e-commerce across six key SEA markets namely Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The data was collected from Jan 1 2021 to April 30 2022, it said.
According to iPrice, consumers were much more likely to buy online via their desktop computers than using their mobile devices five years ago.
However times have changed and so have consumer preferences and today, online shopping across most Southeast Asian markets has shifted to smaller devices, it added. The company noted that mobile purchases are now almost two times higher than those on desktops and on average with 5% of visitors to iPrice’s site via a mobile device end in a transaction, compared to only 3% of visitors using a desktop.
The company said several macro trends have driven this shift. This includes:
The rapid roll-out of mobile broadband, and a wider and more affordable range of internet-enabled mobile devices (smartphones/ tablets), have made it easier for consumers to browse and buy online;
E-commerce providers have optimised their websites for smaller devices and launched mobile apps for an improved customer experience;
Online stores have invested heavily in marketing initiatives to encourage mobile purchases; and
Some e-commerce players drive users to mobile via exclusive e-wallet features not available to desktop users, whilst others offer coupons exclusive to mobile users or discounts for first-time purchases via handheld devices.
The study shows Vietnam is the exception to this trend. In this market, customers browse heavily on mobile, but still prefer to make the final purchase on desktop.
iPrice notes that consumer browsing patterns and relatively underdeveloped mobile platforms explain this behaviour.
It said most Vietnamese online shoppers appear to be actively browsing during work hours and are therefore more likely to be using their office desktops to complete their purchases.
Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, the push for mobile adoption is not as aggressive in Vietnam, it said.
Several popular merchants, such as The Gioi Di Dong and FPT, do not have mobile apps, therefore users can still access the e-commerce store via mobile, but many turn to the desktop version, where the larger screen allows for a more comfortable browsing and buying experience, iPrice added.
As mobile use increases across the whole region, Indonesia is fast becoming a mobile-only e-commerce market.
iPrice said its 2021/2022 study, found 94% of shoppers use mobile to browse and search for products, up 16% from 2016/2017.
Further, mobile consumers are likely to purchase almost twice as many things compared to those on desktops, it added.
This represents a complete reversal of the 2016/2017 data when desktop-based purchases were almost three times more likely than on mobile devices, it said.
iPrice said Indonesia is a Southeast Asian success story in the digital economy. Its seven ‘unicorn’ e-commerce startups have transformed the country’s online browsing behaviour, driving millions towards mobile platforms.
A We Are Social Indonesia survey revealed that 96% of respondents owned a smartphone, compared to 67% ownership of desktop computers or laptops, iPrice said. The company said faster Internet, wider coverage, and access to affordable devices are all key contributors to a hyper-connected online community.
Other factors include the early adoptption of e-wallets amongst Indonesian consumers and more confidence in making purchases through mobile payment systems.
Howver, although online shoppers in SEA are increasingly comfortable on mobile, desktop still plays a key role in e-commerce, especially in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, where device penetration is high, the study indicated.
It is also highlighted in these markets, online shoppers show hybrid browsing and buying patterns, moving across multiple platforms as they transition through the purchase funnel of awareness, research and decision to purchase.
The study also showed e-commerce companies track this user behaviour to tailor and target their marketing strategies.
This includes in-depth reviews to technical information and product specifications, content needs to be adapted according to the stage in the buying journey. Additionally, the study indicated that detailed product guides are effective in attracting customers during the awareness and research stage.
It also states that email marketing campaigns and remarketing can be effective in converting those who have added products to their cart without checking out.