Covid-19 and lockdown boost e-commerce in Southeast Asia

The total turnover reached 105 billion for this year. Home food deliveries and entertainment among the leading sectors. In 2020, 40 million new users in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines, for a total of 400 million. 70% of the regional population now "on-line".

Singapore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Southeast Asia’s online economy will reach an overall share of 105 billion dollars this year, also favoured by the push to online orders and home deliveries due to the pandemic. Research published in recent days shows that the main items requested include home delivery of food and the broader entertainment sector.

The study, which examines the purchase volumes recorded in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines, shows that 40 million new network users have been added to the region this year. With this further addition, the total number of Internet users reaches a total of 400 million. This means that 70% of the total population in the area is now "online".

In a joint note released by the study's authors, including internet giants such as Google, Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, and consulting firm Bain & Co., the internet-related economy in Southeast Asia is increased by 5% compared to 2019. "The coronavirus - the experts add - has triggered a permanent and massive transition to digital".

From the various lockdowns imposed to combat the pandemic, online retailers have come out on top: consumers prefer to buy from inside their homes - because they are unable to go out or because they feel safer - instead of turning to public establishments or large shopping centres, with the fear of contracting the virus. And the data confirms it: e-commerce has increased by 63%, reaching 62 billion dollars in 2020. This is the largest growth on an annual basis. In contrast, the travel sector suffered a 58% collapse, with an overall loss of 14 billion.

Of course, growth is not uniform in all countries: in Singapore, for example, there is a 24% contraction due to the collapse in the travel and tourism sector, while Vietnam and Indonesia recorded double-digit growth. The regional industry linked to the network is set to reach 309 billion in gross value of goods by 2025, in line with the forecasts of 300 billion made last year.

With an 11% increase in online users, Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world. Growth is higher than the world average of 7.4%, with a total number of users equal to 4.7 billion as shown by data. The continuous increase in the use of the internet has contributed to the birth of giants such as Grab and Go-Jek, capable of attracting billions in capital from global tech or investment companies.