Social commerce expected to contribute USD 42 billion to Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market by the end of 2022: Cube Asia’s first report
SINGAPORE, 7 December 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Cube Asia, a Singapore-based market information company for the online economy, today publishes its first report on Southeast Asia booming social commerce market. Title ‘Social commerce i Southeast Asia 2022‘the report claims that social experiences will have a direct impact 42 billion dollars of e-commerce sales i Southeast Asia by the end of 2022. Sponsored by Sprinkler nothe unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform for modern enterprises, estimates were compiled from multiple sources, including online surveys of over 15,000 respondents across Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailandand Vietnam. Additional sources also include web crawling to collect thousands of data points across public sources, primary research of company literature and financial reports, and interviews with industry experts and stakeholders.
While COVID significantly increased user time on social platforms, it has also developed long-term opportunities in e-commerce. Instead of just sending high-quality traffic to e-commerce platforms through advertising, social platforms have matured and sought to take a larger share of the economic value. Almost 15% of Singapore’s e-commerce can, for example, be attributed to such trading that takes place on social platforms. At the same time, e-commerce platforms are also trying to introduce social features such as live shopping to make their own platforms more engaging, which is another form of social commerce that will grow. These trends make this area more complex, leading to different brands asking the same questions about social commerce,”How big is it? Is it a viable channel for our brand? Is it profitable? What platforms can help us scale it up?”
To address these questions, Cube Asia undertook this research initiative by systematically dissecting the 4 different social elements of e-commerce that make up the social commerce market. The company also analyzed opportunity sizes for each of these elements as well as the overlaps across them to estimate the overall social commerce market size in Southeast Asia. The most important findings from the report are below.
1. E-commerce on social platforms to contribute 34 billion dollars to Southeast Asia in 2022. This is the largest contributor to social commerce and refers to any type of sales activity that occurs directly on social platforms and is strongly influenced by social aspects of human relationships such as real-time communication, authenticity, trust and community. Although Facebook and Instagram had an early start for social platform commerce, they are now falling behind TikTok, which is now a rising star as the platform offers a number of distinctive features and solutions in this area.
Among more than 800 beauty brands from the Cube Asia Indonesia brand panel, 44% are present on TikTok Shops, with beauty being the most popular category at 63%. While the growth in branded stores has certainly been helped by TikTok’s strong underlying user growth, the companies’ relentless focus on delivering more engaging, social e-commerce experiences to users is also part of the reason.
Recognizing this trend, TikTok has strengthened its e-commerce platform by offering free shipping and cashback for shopping events. They also have significantly more resources in teaching brands how to sell on their platform compared to Meta, with some estimates showing a tenfold gap between the two tech giants in Southeast Asia alone. These initiatives draw in buyers across the region. Almost 30% of Singapore’s Internet users surveyed by Cube Asia recently claim to have made a purchase on TikTok Shop this year.
2. Conversational Commerce contributes directly 12 billion dollars in Southeast Asiawhere customers select a product and pay directly on the messaging app. Conversational commerce is a ubiquitous form of social commerce that spans the entire e-commerce journey and improves customer experiences. It also gives shoppers a new way to seek service and clarity while shopping online, thereby encouraging more consumer-led transactions. This could include a customer messaging a baker to customize and buy a birthday cake for their friend on Instagram or confirming if the product they’re looking for is in stock. Conversational trading also indirectly trades a much larger volume of 50 billion dollars through online chat and USD 200 billion for online-to-offline transactions. This often means that customers start with conversations over WhatsApp with store staff, after which they complete their purchases in the physical store.
This form of social commerce is one of the most promising and vibrant trends in social commerce Southeast Asia. Growing out of pure organic demand from consumers, conversational commerce reached impressive penetration and usage rates despite limited platform and vendor tools. At one end of the spectrum, high luxury brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton have used client messaging apps for years, and are now looking to integrate this messaging experience into their primary user journeys. On the other hand, social micro-merchants, who were among the first to offer instant text-based purchases, use easy-to-use plug-in tools to offer e-commerce through messaging apps.
In markets such as Singaporethe digital hub of Southeast Asia, 45% of internet users shop on messaging apps, with conversational shopping found to be most popular among users of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. “The pandemic changed consumer behavior forever, accelerating the rapid adoption of digital products and services and increasing the importance of e-commerce across Southeast Asia,” so Florian ZennerSprinklr SVP for APAC & Japan. “As Cube Asia’s research shows, conversational commerce is set to play a growing role among the region’s retailers. The most successful businesses will seize the opportunity to leverage technology such as AI chatbots or voice assistance to deliver customer experiences that are convenient and personalized.”
3. Live Shopping sales i Southeast Asia grows more than tenfold 13 billion dollars in 2022. 44% of internet users in the region have participated in live shopping in the past 12 months, with the most active target groups in Vietnam and Thailand where 60% of respondents have made a purchase. Singapore lagging behind compared to only around 35% of users who shopped from live broadcasts in 2022. Movement restrictions during COVID created demand for similar face-to-face experiences on live video streaming on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, including real-time visual engagement and product demonstrations. Live shopping today is a fragmented ecosystem with 3 categories of live sellers across independent sellers, influencers, as well as brands and retailers; and 3 types of platforms across social media, e-commerce and native platforms.
Live Shopping is characterized by great deals and deep discounts between 20-40%, to create a reason for users to tune in and an urgency to buy. The cost of live selling for a brand depends largely on how it is executed. For example, if the transactions are closed on an e-commerce platform like Shopee that takes a cut of sales, if a famous influencer is hired to help drive traffic, and if technology providers and agencies are engaged to deliver a more interactive experience.
4. Community Group Buy is currently the smallest contributor to e-commerce, with a market share of 2-3% in Southeast Asia. Inspired by Pinduoduo i China and Meesho in Indiamany new retail startups have tried to use community or group dynamics to drive e-commerce growth Southeast Asia. While most cities in developing markets such as Indonesiahas this model also found a foothold Singaporewith messaging apps like WhatsApp helping small communities aggregate demand to get better prices.
Community group buying models can be roughly segmented into two types, both influenced by the dynamics of small communities or groups. The first is a price-led model with people coming together organically to unlock a special deal, and the second is an agent-led model with a reseller offering services or value addition to the group’s members.
Community Group Buying presents a different distribution channel for brands, new ways for consumers to purchase products, and a new employment option for retailers in the agent-led model. It won’t completely upend the region’s e-commerce landscape, but will still be an exciting opportunity for new cost-conscious brands, or existing ones looking to break into new frontier markets.
Sponsored by Sprinkler noa leading global enterprise software provider for Unified-CXM, Cube Asia’s Social Commerce 2022 report can be accessed at cube.asia/social-commerce-report. To find out more about Cube Asia or access the full report, the press kit is available here.
About the authors
Sarab is Cube Asia’s CEO and Chief Data Officer. He is a specialist in e-commerce and digital economy with extensive strategy, operations and new experience with business building in Southeast Asia. His previous experience includes 10 years at McKinsey & Company where he was head of e-commerce for Southeast Asia, as well as leadership roles as a former founder of a technology startup and interim CEO of two enterprise projects. For more information about Sarab, please click here.
Simon is Cube Asia’s head of growth and customer service. Prior to founding Cube Asia, Simon spent nine years in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce industry. His previous roles include Southeast Asia Head of Omnichannel and Thailand Marketing & E-commerce Director for Sephora, as well as external advisor for McKinsey & Company where he was focused on e-commerce and omnichannel retail. For more information about Simon, please click here.
About Cube Asia
Cube Asia is a market intelligence company for the online economy, helping consumer brands and retail companies grow profitably online through better data and insights, including detailed market data, competitive insights and cost benchmarks. Their mission is to lead brands, retail businesses and institutional investors to make better decisions through better data, for strategic opportunity sizing, market share assessment, performance and performance measurement, pricing, campaign planning and channel sales forecasting. Cube Asia’s Set to launch in Q1 2023, the MeterCube™ subscription provides access to detailed data and insights across six markets in Southeast Asia and an increasing number of e-commerce channels, including social commerce channels. For more information about Cube Asia, please visit cube.asia.
Sprinklr is a leading enterprise software company for all customer-facing functions. With advanced AI, Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform helps businesses deliver human experiences to every customer, every time, across every modern channel. With headquarters in New York City with employees worldwide, Sprinklr works with more than 1,000 of the world’s most valuable companies—global brands like Microsoft, P&G, Samsung, and more than 50% of the Fortune 100.
SOURCE Cube Asia