Beyond the Pandemic in ASEAN E-Commerce

As a result of the proliferation of #Covid19, ASEAN leaders have been forced to adopt social separation restrictions and shut down cities.


  • Due to the extensive closures of retail stores and dwindling customer demand, conventional retail has been put under duress.
  • As the epidemic spread, it has hastened the digital transformation and expedited the rise of e-commerce.


The epidemic spread has hastened the digital transformation and expedited the rise of e-commerce. Buyers have access to a wide range of items from the comfort and safety of their own homes, while businesses rush to improve their digital platforms to mitigate the effects of social distancing restrictions and contact limitations.

Increasingly, three out of every five individuals are now online, and they’ve been dedicating more time to the internet since the epidemic began. The average length of time spent on the internet per day increased by one hour throughout ASEAN countries, with the Philippines having the largest increase, having consumers spending upwards of five hours per day online. The trend to online purchasing is anticipated to continue post-pandemic, as customers increasingly value the advantages of comfort and security of e-commerce.

As companies adjust to the new normal, the ASEAN e-commerce industry is expected to develop steadily. However, there is still a lot of potential for improvement. Despite recent robust growth in online sales in ASEAN, the sales of online commerce in mainland China and the United States remains substantially higher. The ASEAN e-commerce industry is highly fragmented, with several regional companies and numerous local B2C services. The two largest online companies with activities in major ASEAN nations are Lazada and Shopee.

Many ASEAN merchants traditionally considered e-commerce to be a nice to obtain rather than a necessary business strategy. However, e-commerce has become an efficient avenue for enterprises, particularly Hong Kong SMEs and exporters, to engage local customers or expand their current profile in ASEAN, as Covid-19 reshapes consumer behavior and intensifies the move to online purchasing in ASEAN markets. 

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