Lazada leads the E-commerce Battle in Southeast Asia

The sector is slated to reap in US$102 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025

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The past year has been a historic one for e-commerce companies in Asia. While Bukalapak became the fourth unicorn of Indonesia, Tokopedia, also based in Indonesia, raised $1.1 billion from Alibaba and SoftBank, and Singapore’s Lazada received an additional US$4 billion. Considering the steep growth, its small wonder that the e-commerce sector is expected to reap in US$102 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025, according to a Google study.

A new study by the iPrice Group, a meta-search website with presence across Southeast Asia, where Malaysian consumers can compare prices, specifications and discover products with hundreds of local and regional merchants, conducted a study to find who were the top players in the region by analysing consumer search patterns on Google and total visits on desktop and mobile Web on SimilarWeb on Malaysia’s top e-commerce platforms.

The most visited e-commerce platforms on desktop and mobile web in Malaysia and Southeast Asia in 2018 was Lazada, commanding the largest market share of total visits at 46 percent. It was followed by Shopee and 11street at a market share of total visits at 23 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Tough competition

Shopee, however, fought tough. Between the first and the fourth quarter, the Alibaba backed e-commerce received a strong challenge from Shopee who grew its total visits on desktop and mobile web by 98 percent. Towards the end of the year, Shopee reduced Lazada’s lead by 62 per cent to become its closest competitor.

When it comes to Malaysian companies, the most visited platforms on desktop and mobile Web were Lelong, Hermo, and GoShop. Lelong, which had an average of five million visitors in 2018, is the fourth most visited e-commerce platform after Lazada, Shopee, and 11street.

It’s shopping time

The Singles’ Day sale, 12.12 Sale, birthday sales, Hari Raya sales and the day GST was zero-rated garnered the most interest, said the study, which analysed the search patterns on Google of Malaysians.

Owing to the increased investment for promotion, the Singles’ Day sale garnered a bigger interest in 2018 as compared to previous years.

Last year also saw rise of the Birthday Sales, an initiative started by Lazada and followed by Shopee.

Regional players going strong

In July and August last year, Lazada’s dominant position was almost overtaken by Tokopedia. The Indonesian company, founded in 2009 by William Tanuwijaya, had a high number of total visits on desktop and mobile web, thank to its Ramadan and Hari Raya sale campaign in May 2018.

Among the many successful efforts initiated by Tokopedia, which raised $1.1 billion in a funding round led by Alibaba and SoftBank in December last year, to maintain its increased total visits on desktop and mobile web after Hari Raya was with its ninth-anniversary sale in August.

Also going strong were Vietnamese e-commerce platforms Thegioididong and Tiki, receiving an average total visit on desktop and mobile web at 29 million and 26 million, respectively in 2018.

Pooja Singh

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A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters.