The Philippines has the lowest share of mobile e-commerce traffic in Southeast Asia at 15% with Indonesia leading the pack with an 87% share followed by Vietnam at 26%.
A new report by online aggregator iPrice titled “State of e-Commerce in Southeast Asia 2017,” highlighted the similarities and differences in online buying patterns in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market, tracking mobile usage, conversion rate, basket size, and preferred payment method in six countries, including the Philippines.
According to the paper, e-commerce in Southeast Asia in 2017 achieved a gross merchandise value of over $10 billion, up from $5.5 billion in 2015, with a stunning 41% compound annual growth rate over the past couple of years.
“SEA e-commerce is a mobile-first economy, leapfrogging all the Western economies when it comes to the importance of mobile commerce in the traffic generated by each e-commerce operator,” said the paper.
The report also revealed that improving the conversion rate-the percentage of website visits that turn into a product purchase can have a dramatic effect on the profitability of a business.
Vietnam merchants are leading the way with a conversion rate 30% higher than the average. Singapore displays the second highest conversion rate, closely tied with Indonesia. The Philippines and Thailand are tied in last place.
Despite the meteoric rise of mobile traffic in the region, desktop still trumps mobile in conversion rate.
The report noted that Vietnam and Indonesia are above the average mobile conversion rate. Conversion rate for desktop is on average 1.7x times higher than the average mobile conversion rate.
In terms of basket size-the metric that measures the average total amount spent per order by customer over a defined period of time, Singapore’s merchants scored highest with a basket size of $91 or 3.7 times higher than their Vietnamese counterparts, with an average basket size of $23.
The report indicated the correlation between gross domestic product (GDP) as Singapore has the highest GDP per capita in the region, while Vietnam has the lowest among the six.
Another finding is that basket size is consistently higher on desktop vs. mobile, indicating that consumers prefer to finalize larger purchases on desktop.
As to what time Southeast Asian consumers shop the most, the number of orders is highest between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., when people are traditionally at work or school, with the exception of Singaporeans, whose shopping peaks at 10 p.m.
Another consistent trend is the peak conversion rate occurring on Wednesday, making this the best time for merchants to push their offers.
On payment solutions, merchants have had to offer a more diverse range of payment methods as low credit card penetration except for Singapore.
Cash on delivery is offered by more than 80% of the players in both Vietnam and Philippines.
Bank transfer is very popular in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, with 94%, 86%, and 79% of merchants in these countries offering it.
In Thailand and Vietnam, almost half of merchants offer offline point of sales, while paying by instalment proves to be very popular in both Vietnam (47% of merchants) and Indonesia (42%).