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Social commerce gains popularity in Southeast Asia

·2-min read

Shoppers are purchasing more on social commerce but shopping on social platforms is not friction-free.

Consumers in Southeast Asia are showing a greater appetite for social commerce.

They are spending more of their time discovering, considering and purchasing products within the social media ecosystem, according to a survey by artificial intelligence-based customer engagement platform provider iKala.

Although e-commerce (91%) remains the preferred channel for shoppers in the region, social commerce (78%) is gaining popularity.

Nearly half (42%) of the respondents said they make purchases through social media at least once a month, while 35% do so more than three times per month.

See: Over half of Southeast Asian consumers willing to share their data with retailers: VMware

Shoppers are spending more on each order made on social media too, with revenue per order seeing an increase of 88% in the first half of 2021.

However, shopping on social platforms is not friction-free. Consumers across the region report expensive shipping (51%), no return and exchange policies (41%) and a lack of customer service (34%) as key points of friction.

Payment preferences also vary wildly across the region, with consumers in Singapore and Malaysia relying much more on credit cards and digital wallets respectively, while those in Thailand and the Philippines prefer cash on delivery (COD).

Much of this has to do with the rising levels of scams, and as many as 70% of respondents said they had experienced product fraud at some point in their social shopping journey.

“It has become clear that social commerce is not a phase — the ease, convenience and accessibility of this format has earned it a permanent place in the way this region shops,” said Sega Cheng, co-founder and CEO of iKala.

“[However,] navigating consumer expectations poses challenges. As the landscape matures, sellers who are quick to adopt effective solutions to eliminate pain points will be able to retain engagement and trust in the long run,” he added.

Photo and infographic: iKala

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