Digital Commerce in Asia Pacific

December 2019

Digital consumers in Asia Pacific have a significant impact on global trends today backed up by the largest number of internet users in the world. While developed countries adopted digitalisation at an early stage, China, India and Southeast Asia are experiencing a unique development embracing the ubiquity of mobile devices for all types of activities. With continued strong growth, digital commerce in Asia Pacific is showing the way for next-generation commerce.

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Key Findings

Asia Pacific shows strongest growth in digital connectivity and digital commerce

Digital commerce in Asia Pacific has risen in a unique way compared to Western regions, and its growth is sometimes described as leapfrogging certain technologies. The region is mobile-orientated and consumer-orientated. For many Asian countries, the digital revolution has led consumers to jump to the forefront of shopping experiences, skipping the development process that Western countries have experienced over the past decades.

Mobile as the main device in multiple countries

Mobile devices lead digital commerce in the region, offering enhanced customer experiences and personalised offerings. China, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines already show higher mobile rates than PC with remote purchases in 2018. Taiwan will join this trend by 2023. Emerging supper apps in Southeast Asia such as Grab and GoJek seek to follow China’s WeChat, leveraging the rapid spread of mobile devices in the region.

Retailing leads growth in remote and proximity payments

In both remote and proximity, retailing leads in many countries. In the region’s powerhouse, China, Alibaba Group took advantage of holding the largest e-commerce marketplace in the country, Tmall. In proximity payments, however, WeChat Pay by Alibaba’s competitor Tencent Group prevails over Alipay by offering in-store coupons at major retailers through SNS WeChat. Within retailing remote purchases, fashion, cosmetics and digital media content are the preferred product categories. 

Asia Pacific will become more influential backed by the largest population connected to the internet

Despite the rapid development, as of 2018, only 54% of the total population in China, 35% in India and 36% in Indonesia are connected to the internet. This is expected to expand to 70%, 54%, and 56%, respectively, by 2023. With the high volume of total population in these Asian countries and accelerated improvement of digital connectivity, Asia Pacific region’s influence over the digital commerce trends in the world will become even stronger.



Key findings

Regional Overview

Asia Pacific records the highest historical value CAGR
Rising connected population increases digital commerce
China as a powerhouse of Asian digital commerce growth
Different levels of digital connectivity and acceptance in the region
Retailing and bill payments leads remote purchases
Mobile rapidly spreads to expand remote purchases
Asia shows a new model of digital commerce revolution
Retailing dominates proximity payments, foodservice grows fast
Mobile proximity payment becomes common in Asia Pacific
QR code proximity payments show more traction

Country Snapshots

China: market context
China: digital commerce landscape
Japan: market context
Japan: digital commerce landscape
South Korea: market context
South Korea: digital commerce landscape
Thailand: market context
Thailand: digital commerce landscape
India: market context
India: digital commerce landscape
Taiwan: market context
Taiwan: digital commerce landscape
Hong Kong, China: market context
Hong Kong, China: digital commerce landscape
Indonesia: market context
Indonesia: digital commerce landscape
Singapore: market context
Singapore: digital commerce landscape
Philippines: market context
Philippines: digital commerce landscape

Forecast Projections

Over half of Asian population is connected in 2020
Strong growth in digital commerce continues in Asia Pacific
Digital commerce continues to grow with 12% CAGR by 2023
China and India are expected to rise up Connected Commerce Index
Retailing and bill payments remain the most important industries
Mobile dominance continues in remote purchases
Connectivity improvement in emerging countries is key
Retailing leads, while consumer foodservice grows quickly
QR code proximity gives advantage for mobile
Coverage expansion will be key to win the competition
China will grow rapidly to be comparable with the US in voice
Leading intelligent speakers will offer more service options
Local players are likely to lead voice commerce in Asia Pacific


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