SINGAPORE — Over half of Southeast Asian consumers are using e-commerce platforms as a search engine to look for products, according to a report conducted by Lazada.
Lazada released on Thursday its “Transforming Southeast Asia: From Discovery to Delivery” report during its LazMall Brands Future Forum in Singapore, which showed that 57% of shoppers in the region are searching for products directly on online marketplaces.
The report included six countries in Southeast Asia, namely: Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. It involved a total of 38,138 e-commerce users.
“More than half of Southeast Asian consumers now use e-commerce marketplaces as search engines to find what they want,” Lazada Group Chief Executive Officer James Dong said during a speech during the forum.
“Today’s online shopping journeys are dynamic since buyers have so many ways to discover and shop for products. E-commerce marketplaces like Lazada have surpassed social media and search engines to become the discovery channel of choice,” he added.
Aside from e-commerce platforms, the report said that social media are still used by 50% of consumers, followed by Google Search at 40%, and super apps such as Grab at 9%.
“E-commerce has evolved into a crucial component of the retail landscape in recent years. As a result of the ongoing digitalization of modern life, shoppers from almost every country today benefit from online purchases,” the report said.
Further, Lazada’s report showed that e-commerce user penetration in Southeast Asia is seen to improve to 63.3% by 2025, equivalent to 413 million expected users. It noted that the 2025 projection is higher than the 53.8% reported this year.
“This shift away from commonly-used search engines highlights the importance of e-commerce marketing solutions and the digitalization of businesses to remain resilient and relevant amid rising global interest rates and inflationary pressures,” it said.
For the Philippines, the report said that it expects user penetration to reach 47.8% by 2025, equivalent to 55.8 million expected users. This is higher compared with the 42% user penetration in 2022.
The report showed that the Philippines’ user penetration in 2022 is lower compared with other countries such as Indonesia (64.1%), Singapore (59%), Vietnam (58.2%), Thailand (56%), and Malaysia (47.1%).
“We absolutely believe that e-commerce will only grow and will play a stronger role in our region and in the Philippines,” Lazada Group Chief Business Officer James Chang said in a separate interview.
According to Mr. Dong, e-commerce marketplaces such as Lazada have “surpassed” social media and search engines as the platform to use when looking for products.
“The behavior and mindset change during the past two years have driven more high-quality consumers who are looking for high-quality authentic products, and high-quality experiences,” Mr. Dong said.
The report also revealed that 94% of shoppers used the search function to look for products on Lazada, and 94% of them proceeded to buy the items that they found.
“Lazada’s surveys found that customer stickiness and retention was most likely with wider product assortment, competitive pricing, increased convenience and varied options, as well as a highly-personalized shopping experience,” the company said.
“Additionally, 71% of shoppers purchased products as a result of Lazada’s tailored-to-user ‘Recommendations’ feature,” it added.
The LazMall Brands Future Forum is a trade event that gathers industry leaders across Southeast Asia and Lazada partners to exchange ideas and innovations targeted at enabling brands and sellers to offer a “differentiated retail experience” in the region.
LazMall is a digital mall that offers products from leading international and local brands.
Lazada, which is under the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, is eyeing to serve 300 million shoppers by 2030 and achieve $100 million in annual gross merchandise value. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave