Data will play key role in sustaining SEA digital economy growth

Jan 27, 2023

Southeast Asia’s digital economy is projected to reach $200 billion in gross merchandise value this year, but market players will need to understand consumer behaviour to sustain growth as adoption of online services matures across the region.


Southeast Asia’s digital economy is expected to reach $200 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) this year, ahead of earlier estimates as the global pandemic spurs demand for online services. Market players, however, will need to leverage data to better understand consumer behaviour in order to sustain growth, as adoption of digital services matures across the region. 


Some 460 million internet users currently reside across six Southeast Asian markets, of whom 100 million came online in the past three years, according to this year’s e-Conomy SEA report jointly released by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company. The six nations–Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines–have a total population of more than 600 million. 


Despite global headwinds including disrupted supply chains, geopolitical tensions, and inflation, the Southeast Asian digital economy was on track to hit $200 billion in GMV this year, three years ahead of projections made in the report’s inaugural release in 2016.  


The e-commerce sector continued to lead the pack in terms of growth, which was projected to hit 16% in GMV even as offline shopping resumed in parts post-pandemic. Urban affluent users and young digital natives were the heaviest adopters of digital services, accounting for 98% and 92% of e-commerce users, respectively. 


The report noted that market players, though, were shifting priorities from customer acquisition to focus on establishing deeper engagement with existing customers, with the aim to drive value, loyalty, and frequency. 


Source: ISEAS

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