Majority of Southeast Asian Companies Plan to Increase Investment in E-Commerce

Around three-quarters of organisations in South East Asia say they are going to experiment heavily with e-commerce during the next 12 months, according to "The State of Ecommerce in South East Asia" report, published by Econsultancy in partnership with hybris software, an SAP company. Additionally, the vast majority (90%) are working towards delivering a unified customer experience across online and offline channels.


Mobile commerce is expected to come to the forefront and will be a key focus for four in five organisations, with around three-quarters (76%) planning to increase investment in mobile-optimised transactional websites over the next three years. Additionally, half (51%) plan to invest more in mobile applications with transactional capabilities.


While three-quarters of companies surveyed agreed that they understand the importance of omnichannel, around a third (31%) don’t currently have a strategy to embrace this.


Asked about the most significant challenges to growing an ecommerce business, lack of budget and resources emerged as the most common problem, cited by 59% of company respondents and 39% of supply-side respondents as one of the three greatest barriers to success. The second biggest issue was a lack of integration with the rest of the business, with 45% of companies and 47% of agencies reporting this to be a barrier.


“We see high interest from B2C retailers, B2B suppliers and related ecommerce services companies alike in developing the market, with both local and foreign investment that will drive maturity and innovation," says Eric Toon, Country Manager, Southeast Asia and India at hybris software. "Only organisations that make it easy for customers to do business with them, regardless of whether they operate B2C or B2B, will survive.”


Econsultancy Research Manager Monica Savut adds: “Although China has taken much of the APAC spotlight when it comes to ecommerce, South-East Asia is rapidly emerging as a buoyant market. It’s a very diverse, dynamic and challenging landscape, but there is an increased appetite from organisations of all shapes and forms to build scalable ecommerce operations.”


On average, client-side respondents indicate they are planning to increase their investment in ecommerce technology by 31%. On the agency side, respondents report that they expect their clients to increase spend by 20%.


The study also revealed that two in five (41%) companies surveyed indicate they have a separate ecommerce budget. Three in five companies surveyed claim to have a ‘good’ (48%) or ‘very good’ (14%) understanding of return on investment (ROI) from ecommerce.


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