Rapid Growth in Global and Asia Pacific e-Commerce Market
The Asia-Pacific region is projected to become the leading region for business to consumer e-Commerce sales by 2016. The region will account for nearly 35 per cent (US$675 billion) of total sales. Even with the exclusion of China and Japan, two of the largest e-Commerce markets in Asia, the market for the rest of Asia-Pacific remains significant at US$180 billion. This explosion of e-Commerce in the Asia-Pacific is driven by a growing base of digital buyers, and faster adoption of mobile commerce.
South East Asia e-Commerce Market
To ride on this growth, our strategy should start with Southeast Asia (SEA), the home to nearly 630 million people who are generally much younger as compared to other markets. Currently, online shopping makes up 1 per cent of total retail sales in Southeast Asia. This is low when compared to 8 per cent in China and over 10 per cent in the US and UK. With Internet penetration in this region projected to reach 60 per cent in 2020, there is opportunity for fast growth in the SEA e-Commerce market.
Unlike the US, where giant online retailers like Amazon and eBay dominate the market, SEA’s e-Commerce market is highly fragmented and less competitive in SEA. There is room for regional players to establish a foothold here and eventually compete with other global players.
Social commerce is also an emerging trend in SEA, with Indonesian and Malaysian consumers having the highest propensity for social commerce. This is a new sales channel for retailers to compete for additional market share as more consumers spend more of their online time on social media sites. Social media is also a huge data source for retailers to understand consumer insights and engage in targeted marketing.
Goals for e-Commerce
Singapore’s Position in e-Commerce
Singapore’s e-Commerce ecosystem has grown significantly over the past two years. Key digital marketplaces such as Alibaba and Qoo10 have set up regional operations in Singapore to manage their growth in SEA.
Even though e-Commerce sales in Singapore are expected to hit S$4.4 billion in 2015, the sales remain a small percentage of total retail market in Singapore. There is much room for growth in the short term.
Singapore must overcome these challenges to grow our e-Commerce market
We envisioned that Singapore to be a hub for consumer-centric innovation where companies understand and know their consumers online. To achieve this, we should develop Strategic e-Commerce Trade Lanes in the short to medium term and evolve our hub into a Digital Commerce Trade Bloc in the longer term.
Short to Medium Term: Strategic e-Commerce Trade Lanes
We can develop Strategic e-Commerce Trade Lanes in the short term by creating a One-Stop-Shop Fulfilment Service and developing Asia Consumer Insights.
One-Stop-Shop Fulfilment Service
Today, the e-Commerce operations of most retailers rely on multiple third-party service agreements and integrations. Retailers are expected to manage these processes all by themselves:
- Integrate and manage connectivity to multiple marketplaces.
- Match orders with available inventory.
- Engage logistics service providers to fulfil online orders.
- Resolve arising issues and manage returns.
- Develop new markets and promote new products.
To improve efficiency, we can establish a “One-Stop-Shop” Fulfilment Service to:
- Manage product placements and orders across different marketplaces and web-stores from a single integration platform;
- Outsource business operations via distribution centre and logistics service support to manage both the inventory and fulfilment of orders; and
- Enable outreach to overseas consumers through a cost-efficient regional cross border network.
With this service, small retailers with limited infocomm media capabilities can also leverage on e-Commerce. This service also lifts the logistics burden off retailers and they can focus on managing their customers and penetrating new markets.
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