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Social Commerce Surges In Southeast Asia

Orders via social media more than doubled, while gross merchandise value (GMV) jumped three-fold, a new study from iKala found

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Growing digital usage, greater adoption of social shopping technologies and a global pandemic has accelerated social commerce in Southeast Asia, a new study by AI solutions firm iKala found. The study titled ‘The Rise of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia’ is based on a survey of 12,000 consumers and over 1,000 social sellers across Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Singapore, conducted in the first half of 2020. 

According to iKala, two things are happening at once: people are shopping more, and they’re shopping for more. Total social commerce orders in the first of 2020 more than doubled, while gross merchandise value (GMV) grew three-fold across the region, as compared to the same period time last year. 

The study also sheds light on another emerging trend—the remarkable rise of live-selling, or broadcasting of live videos featuring products. Overall, the number of live-sales in the region increased nearly 13% to 67%, thanks in part to shoppers in Singapore and Thailand who spent more time engaging with merchants and buying through live-streams. 

Shopping via live-sales is happening often, too. An analysis of repeat purchases found that consumers in Vietnam and Philippines typically make purchases via live sale twice a week, compared to their peers in Singapore who shop once a week on social media. However, shopping on social platforms is not without its challenges. The study found that trust, fraud and a lack of familiarity are proving to be big barriers for retailers in the region. 

“Social commerce is growing rapidly, and every day social media companies are adding new capabilities to support this growth. For retailers, the opportunities are apparent, but to truly succeed they must find ways to make the shopping experience live, interactive and seamless,” said Sega Cheng, CEO & Co-Founder of iKala.

Already, the adoption of social technologies is up, but it varies from country to country. In Singapore, more retailers are using AI chatbots to automate order creations, while Thai retailers prefer AI-powered order management systems. In Vietnam and the Philippines, there’s a greater dependency on leveraging tools for payment reminders. 

“Social commerce will continue to evolve, and retailers who adapt quickly and experiment with a growing array of social technologies will emerge strongest. We believe iKala’s Shoplus will continue to support the growth and development of the social merchants community.  ” added Cheng. Download the full report here.

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