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Social commerce booms in Southeast Asia: report

A new report has found social commerce has showed little sign of slowing its growth, despite the Covid-19 restrictions seen throughout parts of Southeast Asia.

The ‘Riding the Pandemic Wave & Beyond’ report by iKala found that social commerce orders and GMV nearly doubled in the first half of FY21 compared to the the year prior, and revenue per order rose 88 per cent during the same period.

Additionally, 78 per cent of customers prefer social commerce to bricks-and-mortar (35 per cent), though most still prefer a traditional e-commerce experience (91 per cent).

“Much of this fast-paced growth has to do with consumers finding some of the experiences forced by Covid to be more convenient and price-friendly,” the report reads.

This is due in large part to the fact that many Southeast Asia countries are among the most fervent users of social media: both the Philippines and Malaysia rank in the top 15 for usage and time spent.

Plus, more platforms are now offering their own commerce experience, such as Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp’s Shops, as well as Twitter and Pinterest’s focus on facilitating sales.

However, while social commerce is growing it isn’t without its pain points.

Online shoppers today have high expectations and can get frustrated by friction and inconveniences in the customer experience.

“In the case of social commerce, expensive shipping costs, lack of or unclear exchange [and] return policies, and poor customer service are the biggest pain points for customers in the region,” the report continued.

“Equally, with its share of scams and risk, consumers are less trusting of social commerce.”

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