This is what’s behind SEA upcoming trillion-dollar digital economy

Southeast Asia (SEA) is on its way to becoming a US$1-trillion digital economy by 2030.

This year’s e-Conomy SEA Report revealed that SEA is at the cusp of its digital decade, spurred by digital finance services such as e-wallets and account-to-account services, which are seen to hit $1.1 trillion in gross transaction value (GTV) by 2025. This is up from the expected $707 billion in 2021. 

The report, released by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, also revealed that more than 440 million SEA’s people have internet access today. Of this, 350 million (about 80%) are digital consumers who have purchased at least one service or product online.

The pandemic added 60 million new digital consumers from the region, 20 million of whom began their e-commerce journey in the first half of 2021. By the end-2021, the region shall have reached $174 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV), 65.7% up from $105 billion last year. This could reach $360 billion by 2025, driven the e-commerce and food deliveries.

All regional countries surveyed enjoyed double-digit growth in 2021, topped by Indonesia which contributed $70 billion (40%) to the region’s total GMV, and the Philippines which grew 93% to become a $17-billion digital economy.

E-commerce and food delivery will fuel the region’s internet economy over the next 10 years, growing 33% year-on-year to hit $12 billion in GMV. That’s 71% of all internet users ordering food online at least once.

Meanwhile, the pandemic gave birth to a new kind of digital merchant — digital lending services – due to the demand for more consumer financing and supply chain options. The growth of buy now, pay later services could push digital lending up by 50% in outstanding balance from $26 billion in 2020 to $39 billion in 2021, the report said.