Social networks are innovating ecommerce models, taking advantage of their network of wider connections. Social commerce is distinct from conventional e-commerce in that e-commerce is the digital version of brick-and-mortar shopping, while social commerce focuses on shoppers and their customer journey.

Social commerce leverages communities and connections to create business opportunities and is projected to become a $1.2 trillion industry by 2025.  The true growth story is in Southeast Asia, where the sector’s value is currently more than $13 billion.

Social commerce in Southeast Asia has accelerated due to the high mobile internet penetration and engagement among a mobile-first generation that spends a lot of time on social media.

The biggest driver of social commerce is the region’s community-driven culture, where Southeast Asians appreciate the value of a collectivist society while individually aiming for success. They use their networks for socializing and transacting, affecting the way they buy.

The social commerce model leverages community leaders’ and influencers’ connections by marketing directly to their friends and family. Through social platforms or apps, these leaders act as resellers, order products at wholesale prices, and redistribute to their networks at a markup.