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    COVID-19 in Focus: e-commerce

    Published On: 18 June 2020

    Each Thursday, Asia House Advisory’s COVID-19 monitoring service examines the impact of economic measures taken by individual governments across Asia and the Middle East, and the trends emerging across these regions. This week, we look at the e-commerce sector.

    Explosive growth in digital economy

    Asia is expected to see explosive growth in e-commerce in the next decade – by 2025, the region’s internet economy is expected to grow to US$300 billion, driven by growth in e-commerce, ride-hailing, and digital payments.

    The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have changed consumer behaviours – potentially permanently – driving people online. Some trends include: a shift to shopping for daily essentials online; increased discovery of new apps providing digital solutions; greater concern around value for money and health and welfare; and a commitment to contactless solutions.


    Trends in e-commerce are here to stay

    The pandemic has seen growth in digital solutions around retail, online entertainment, and financial services. One key change in consumer behaviour that is likely to prevail long after the end of the pandemic is a shift to online purchases for essential daily items. Growth in this sector has accelerated exponentially, with 44 per cent of digital consumers across Southeast Asia spending more on and choosing to buy fresh and packaged groceries online. Of this group, 80 per cent expect to continue doing so in a post-pandemic world. Sales of online groceries and other essential items online has grown nearly threefold during the pandemic.

    Can cross-border growth drive global recovery?

    Could cross-border e-commerce and other forms of digital trade help drive global recovery? Though geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruption will continue to impact growth and recovery, continued cross-border e-commerce and other activities within the digital economy look likely to see continued growth post-pandemic. However, in order for e-commerce to drive recovery, it will be important for the necessary infrastructure, logistics, and policy to be in place.

    Asia House explored these issues during a webinar with TechNode on 16 June.


    These insights are produced by Asia House Advisory’s COVID-19 monitoring service.