Based on a small survey of sellers in one e-commerce platform, the scoring indicates optimism, at least among 70% of respondents.

A survey of 750 sellers across South-east Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) in H1 2021 has suggested that 52% of respondents experienced a high level of growth in the survey period, with 70% expecting additional growth of more than 10% in Q3 2021.

Out of the optimistic 70%, 33% of respondents were extremely confident that their sales volume would increase by more than 30% in the same time period.

The survey, said to be Lazada’s “first-ever bi-annual Digital Commerce Confidence Index”, seeks to map out the sentiments of online sellers in the region about the digital commerce industry, while shedding light on future challenges and opportunities.

Key findings

The respondents’ positive sentiment could be attributed to significant shifts in South-east Asian consumers’ consumption habits with greater diversification between online and offline purchases.

With major shifts in consumer spending last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the expansion of digital commerce and made it a pivotal battleground for sellers looking to scale up their businesses.  Other findings include:

  • Strong growth momentum was generally recorded across all retail categories. Electronics and fast-moving consumer goods appeared to be the biggest beneficiaries of a stay-at-home economy, with 53% of respondents reporting that their business recorded strong growth in H1 2021.
  • Sellers from the fashion segment made the biggest leap of faith. 48% said their businesses improved in the first half of the year; 75% expected business to improve in Q3 2021, and almost 40% of these respondents anticipated that their growth would exceed 30% in the same quarter.
  • According to one fashion e-tailer, live streaming has also been a big boost to many sellers, as it creates an interactive environment for consumers and vendors. However, with the recent surge of infections in the region may lead to “some moderation in the near future.”
  • 52% of respondents cited developing a unique and differentiated offering as a key enabler of online business growth, followed by driving more user traffic (50%), and the ability to harness data insights (23%). Competition among online sellers no longer occurs under a simplistic framework of price wars but has evolved to take on an additional dimension where technology-driven customer engagement serves as a differentiating factor for many sellers.
  • The overall index achieved an “optimistic” score of 64, with 0 being “very pessimistic” and 100 being “very optimistic” on the spectrum.

Said Magnus Ekbom, Chief Strategy Officer, Lazada Group: “We are excited to launch the Digital Commerce Confidence Index, aiming to shed more light on forward looking indicators and sentiment among small- and medium-sized enterprises in South-east Asia. Many of them have embraced new technology and acquired digital capabilities to transform and future proof their businesses. Despite the challenging health situation and ongoing challenges, our Index shows that sellers remain both resilient and optimistic about the future.”