Singapore and Malaysia are two of the most promising Southeast Asian markets in e-commerce right now.
Malaysia’s online sales value is expected to total US$6.297 billion in 2021, almost doubling that of its neighbour, Singapore, whose e-commerce revenue is still projected to reach US$3.188 billion this year, according to Statista.
Collectively, the duo represents some US$9.485 billion in e-commerce value in 2021, a figure which is only going to increase in the coming years.
Confirming that sentiment, Malaysia’s e-commerce revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 14.84 percent, resulting in a projected market volume of US$10.951 billion by the year 2025.
The nation’s largest e-commerce segment is fashion with a projected market volume of US$1.924 billion in 2021. Malaysia’s e-commerce user penetration is sitting at 44 percent in 2021, and is expected to hit 53.1 percent by 2025, with user numbers surpassing 18 million by 2025. Meanwhile, the average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to US$436.28, according to Statista.
Comparatively, Singapore e-commerce revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 10 percent, resulting in a projected market volume of US$4. 666 billion by 2025.
Unlike Malaysia, Singapore’s largest segment is electronics and media with a projected market volume of US$803 million in 2021. Singapore also has a higher e-commerce user penetration at 55.9 percent, and is expected to hit 67.2 percent by 2025, with the number of users forecast to surpass 4 million users by 2025.
Singapore’s average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to US$966.60, more than double than that of Malaysia. Poised for varying degrees of e-commerce growth both in 2021 and the years to come — thanks to increased internet penetration and the convenience and ease of online shopping discovered by shoppers during the global pandemic in 2020 — Singapore and Malaysia’s e-commerce industries also boast similarities as to which internet marketplaces are currently dominating the nations’ e-commerce sector this year. And who will continue to do so over the next four years and beyond. From international online entrants to homegrown tech firm favourites, here are five e-commerce marketplaces to know now in the Singapore and Malaysia online retail landscape.
Founded in Singapore in 2015, Shopee is a mobile-centric marketplace that sits within parent company, Sea Group. The number one e-commerce marketplace in Singapore, with approximately 12 million monthly web visits in the first quarter of 2021, according to Statista, Shopee is equally as popular in Malaysia, registering 47.4 million clicks in the final quarter of 2020, taking the number one spot Malaysian spot for online shopping too.
New developments for Shopee include food delivery in Malaysia earlier in the year, a category the firm looks to home in on in 2021, while late last year, the firm’s parent also secured a full digital bank licence in its native Singapore, as it looks to expand into payments.
Most recently, Shopee’s parent company Sea was reported as planning to file an IPO and is looking to raise US$6.3 billion in a share and convertible bond sale, according to Reuters, which would make it the largest ever capital raising out of Southeast Asia.
This is the second major fund raising in less than a year for the US$185 billion company, after raising US$2 billion in December 2020, by issuing new securities in the U.S., according to DealStreet Asia.
Sea is said to be using the IPO funds to scale up its global expansion in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and by testing out possible new markets, including India and Poland.
Founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, Lazada Group is a Singapore-based e-commerce provider and is currently its native market’s second-most popular marketplace with 7.3 million monthly visits, according to Statista, and ranks second in Malaysia, with 14.78 million monthly visits in the last quarter of 2020.
China’s Alibaba Group took a controlling stake (51 percent) for US$1 billion in 2016 and injected another US$1 billion into the Singapore e-commerce firm in 2017, before increasing its stake to 83 percent in 2018, with an additional US$2 billion. It appointed its latest CEO, Chun Li, in 2020.
The darling of the Lazada platform is ‘LazMall’, a department store-like marketplace that acts like a portal for Singapore and Malaysia shoppers to purchase international and local brands. In August, LazMall bowed LazMall Prestige: a new personalised portal that boasts eight categories with over 50 premium brands such as Bacha Coffee, Bang & Olufsen, Elemis, Longines, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Shanghai Tang, SMEG, with the latest addition La Mer.
Lazada’s annual sales event ‘9.9’, held on 9th September, has this year tapped K-drama star Hyun Bin as its official brand ambassador, in a bid to drive more millennials to its portal during the sales event. The 9.9 event sees discounts across its LazMall offerings and more, of up to 90 percent, and is a major contributor to Lazada’s annual revenues in both Singapore and Malaysia.
In its most recent trading update, Lazada recorded over 90 percent year-over-year growth for the quarter ended 30th June, thanks to increased product supply, and improved user experience and recommendations on its mobile app, ramping up customer frequencies, it said.
Looking ahead, Lazada said it aims to serve 300 million shoppers by 2030 across Southeast Asia, in the hopes of surpassing Shopee as the number one e-commerce platform in the region.
Founded in 2012, Singapore-based Carousell is an online consumer-to-consumer marketplace that sells new and used items across Singapore and Malaysia, in addition to several neighbouring Asian markets. Since its debut, Carousell has merged with Telenor Group, parent of online classifieds business, 701Search, which owns general classifieds site Mudah in Malaysia, among others.
Last year, the classifieds portal, last valued at US$900 million, inked an US$80 million investment from a consortium led by South Korean tech company, Naver.
Most recently, Carousell Group formed Carousell Media in February, as a marketing platform for the brands Carousell, Mudah.my, Cho Tot, and OneKyat.
Last month, Forbes reported that Carousell hopes to “aggressively” expand its auto trading business with a consumer-to-business bidding platform and financial offerings such as auto loans. Its cars business is now Carousell’s largest vertical, contributing a third of the company’s revenue, according to Bloomberg.
In its most recent financial update, Carousell revenues reached some US$16 million for the year 2019, according to Business Times.
Founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, Singapore-based Zalora is a business-to-consumer marketplace that focuses on selling fashion across Southeast Asia. In May 2013, Zalora raised its first US$100 million from Rocket Internet, Kinnevik AB, Summit Partners and others, before doing it again in December that year, raising another US$112 million in new capital from investors including billionaire Leonard Blavatnik’s Access Industries and U.S. firm Scopia Capital Management.
In 2014, Zalora was placed under Rocket’s Global Fashion Group, alongside other fashion portals in the Rocket fold. Today, headquartered in Singapore and Malaysia, the online fashion platform has continued to invest back into the region. In 2017, Zalora announced the opening of a 470,000 square foot regional e-fulfilment hub in Kuala Lumpur, in conjunction with YCH Group.
Looking ahead, Zalora is homing in on sustainability, with the onboarding of eco-focused, minimalist brands like H&M Group’s Cos in recent months. That is in addition to Zalora’s nine fulfilment centres that utilise 100 per cent renewable energy currently.
In the final quarter of 2020, Zalora was the most visited B2C e-commerce website for fashion in both Singapore and Malaysia, with approximately 1.1 million and 1.15 million monthly web visits, respectively, according to Statista. Zalora Singapore took in more than US$40 million in sales in 2020, while Zalora Malaysia reported US$38.7 million in revenues for the twelve-month period, according to E-commerceDB.
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Singapore, Japan’s Qoo10 is a third-party only marketplace providing a platform for external sellers in Southeast Asia. In 2015, Qoo10 inked US$82 million in funding which it used to expand its seller base across Southeast Asia and Japan.
Digitally driven, Qoo10 in 2018 went on to introduce a blockchain-based free-to-use e-commerce platform QuuBe that uses Q*coin, tapping SEA’s unbanked majority who have little or no access to credit or debit cards.
One year later, it acquired India’s ShopClues, expand deeper into Asia. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Qoo10’s number of monthly visitors in Singapore amounted to approximately 5.65 million, according to Statista, with revenues of US$34 million for 2020, according to ReviewBolt. Qoo10 ranks as Malaysia’s number 8 most popular e-commerce platform in 2021, according to SimilarWeb,.