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What Asia Can Teach the Rest of the World About Digitally Inspired Commerce

July 2019

No region illustrates the emergence of the digital consumer better than Asia Pacific. The expansion of connectivity has rewired life for the region’s newly connected consumers, with these consumers embracing the ubiquity of the device more so than others for all types of activities, including commerce. Given how consumers in Asia Pacific have embraced technology in commerce activities, this region is in many ways giving the world a preview of next-generation commerce.

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Key Findings

Why Asia Pacific is a region worth watching

Asia Pacific is already an important region based on many metrics, and will increase its leadership in the future. There are two factors propelling the region forward – an expanding population and a growing economy.

Half of digital consumers reside in Asia Pacific

The Asian Century will usher in more digital consumers. In 2018, 51% of internet users globally resided in Asia Pacific, with that figure expected to rise to 53% by 2030. The region will see the largest increase in internet users globally over 2018-2030, adding 1.6 billion.

Asia Pacific gives the world a preview of a life rewired

Asian consumers have embraced connectivity, and in particular the ubiquity of the mobile device, more so than any other region. Many Asian consumers turn first to this handheld device when it comes to performing an array of activities. Mobile has been so transformative that is has enabled Asia Pacific to leapfrog other regions in many facets of life, including commerce.

Digital commerce growth in Asia Pacific is outpacing other regions

Asia Pacific is already the leading region for digital commerce, accounting for 41% of such spend globally in 2018. The region posted the fastest growth rate over 2013-2018, with nearly double the growth rate of any other region. Asia Pacific will continue to post double-digit CAGR growth rates over 2018-2023, outpaced only by the Middle East and Africa.

Three ways Asia is shaping the digital commerce storyline globally

Asia Pacific has been fertile ground for the expansion and evolution of the digital consumer. The region has emerged as the mobile internet hub of the world, which has helped it take a lead in a number of initiatives, including social commerce, super apps and digital wallets.


Scope of the Digital Consumer
Key findings

Why Asia is a Region to Watch

Population and economic expansion will give rise to Asian Century
China and India will account for 30% of youth globally in 2030
Already half of digital consumers globally reside in Asia Pacific
Digital commerce growth in Asia Pacific is outpacing other regions

The Defining Characteristics of Asia

Despite commonalities, the region is most notable for its diversity
How Asian markets can be clustered based on digital development
Case study: South Korea is a digital frontrunner
Case study: India remains a market of high digital promise
Case study: China is leading the region’s digital transformation
Case study: Indonesia aims to become ASEAN’s top digital market
Expanding mobile connectivity unites an otherwise diverse region

What Digital has Meant for Asian Life

Asia Pacific gives the world a preview of a life rewired
China emerged as the world’s first mobile-centric nation in 2015
Case study: QR codes spur China’s rise to digital stardom
Now this mobile mindset is being replicated in other Asian nations
Case study: number of impediments hold back tech-savvy Japan
Even in digital era cash on delivery remains a necessary strategy

Three Ways Asia is Shaping Digital Commerce

Asia is leading digital consumer development in three ways
Asian consumers were the first to marry social life with commerce
Social commerce appeals to young, emerging market consumers
Asia Pacific, specifically China, birthed the super app revolution
Case study: Indonesia’s Go-Jek solves major consumer pain point
Case study: Singapore-based Grab evolves into a super app
Asia Pacific has been fertile ground for digital wallet exploration

Prospects for Asia in the Years Ahead

Shift in global economic balance will fuel Asian digital commerce
China will account for two thirds of Asia digital commerce in 2023
Retailing and foodservice will be industries to watch
Case study: foodservice shapes story in Taiwan and Singapore
Case study: digital uptake in India and Hong Kong driven by retail
Regulators seek to spur innovation while protecting consumers
Case study: China and Hong Kong illustrate the role of regulation
Three Asian countries to watch for future digital development
Winning in Asia means embracing the mobile-first mindset


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