SE Asian online sellers bullish about Q3 prospects

More than half (52%) of online sellers experienced a high level of growth during the first semester of 2021, with 70% expecting additional growth of more than 10% in the third quarter, according to Lazada’s pioneering Digital Commerce Confidence Index.

Out of the 70%, one-third was extremely confident that their sales volume would increase by more than 30% in the same time period. As a result, the overall index achieved an “optimistic” score of 64, with 0 being “very pessimistic” and 100 being “very optimistic” on the spectrum.

The index surveyed 750 sellers across six markets in Southeast Asia  —Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore — in the first half of this year.

“Many SMEs have embraced new technology and acquired digital capabilities to transform and future proof their businesses,” said Magnus Ekbom, chief strategy officer of Lazada Group. “Despite the challenging health situation and ongoing challenges, our Index shows that sellers remain both resilient and optimistic about the future.”

A key driver of sellers’ positive sentiment could be attributed to significant shifts in Southeast Asian consumers’ consumption habits with greater diversification between online and offline purchases. 

While strong growth momentum was generally recorded across all retail categories, sellers from the electronics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) categories appeared to be the biggest beneficiaries of a stay-at-home economy, with 53% reporting that their business recorded strong growth in the first semester.

Also, sellers from the fashion segment made the biggest leap of faith. Even though 48% say their businesses improved in the first half of the year, 75% say that they expect business to improve in the third quarter, and almost 40% of them anticipated that their growth would exceed 30% in the same quarter.

Developing a unique and differentiated offering (52%), driving more user traffic (50%), and the ability to harness data insights (23%) were identified by sellers in the survey as key enablers of online business growth.