2020 was an unprecedented year as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across some retail categories in Asia Pacific while benefiting others. Although Asia Pacific’s overall retailing industry registered a 4% sales decline in 2020, the region continues to drive the industry forward, thanks to tech giants.
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Second to Latin America, Asia Pacific is predicted to see the highest value sales CAGR for retailing during 2020–2025. Digitalisation, connectivity and demographics will be the key growth drives in the Asia Pacific region as an innovation hub post-pandemic.
Here is the sneak peek of the top 10 retailers in Asia Pacific, according to Euromonitor International’s latest report Top 100 Retailers in Asia 2021:
The region reported double-digit growth in e-commerce in 2020, and Euromonitor expects that e-commerce sales are expected to nearly double, reaching USD 2 trillion by 2025. World-class mobile connectivity enables digital transformation in industries like retailing, supported by extremely tech-savvy consumer segments in Asia Pacific.
Proximity payment has become the next big opportunity for many fintech players while retailers integrate their online and offline operations to better serve their customers who are more connected than ever.
Amid such a culturally nuanced and economically diverse region, there are some more prominent winners to reckon with — India for its massive domestic consumption-driven economy, Japan and South Korea’s advanced technologies and China’s burgeoning middle class. These four markets also unsurprisingly, happen to be among the world’s top 10 countries with the highest e-commerce potential, according to Euromonitor International’s E-Commerce Readiness Model.
Social commerce and Southeast Asia accelerating regional e-commerce growth
Chinese retailers continue to dominate e-commerce in the Asia Pacific region with Alibaba and JD.com far ahead of their competitors. This is largely due to a strong existing ecosystem that enables e-commerce to flourish, such as a large domestic consumer base, ease of use of platforms / payments and the lack of proximity of bricks-and-mortar retail outlets to some residential areas.
Social commerce is also gaining prominence in the Asia Pacific region. Brands are utilising social media approaches, such as livestreaming, gamification and online influencers, to engage and sell to consumers.
In October 2020, Chinese e-commerce retailer Suning.com partnered with Douyin for branded livestreams, where users can make purchases without leaving Douyin. For Suning.com, the collaboration grants access to Douyin’s young and fast-growing consumer base and provides insights on consumer preferences and media consumption behaviour to adapt their offerings and engagement strategies.
In 2020, businesses receiving online orders recorded 37.6% growth and will reach 44% by 2025.
“Livestreaming experienced an explosive growth in 2020 in tech-advanced markets. Countries like China and emerging economies in Southeast Asia including Indonesia and the Philippines witnessed a surge in social commerce through WhatsApp, Instagram and Viber,” said Quan Yao Peh, research analyst at Euromonitor International.
E-commerce in Asia Pacific will continue to grow strongly driven by the relatively young and tech-savvy populations in the region, rising mobile penetration rates and increased openness to shop online.
Retailers that innovate and integrate the consumer end-to-end journey seamlessly across product discovery, payments and fulfilment are best positioned to benefit. The rising popularity of mobile wallets, especially in the Southeast Asia region where many consumers remain unbanked or underbanked, is expected to accelerate regional e-commerce growth.
“As consumers connect and shop online more than ever, an increasing number of brands are expected to tap into social media to virtually engage and build trust with consumers in addition to serving as retailtainment,” says Deepika Chandrasekar, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International.
SEE ALSO : 2020, the year of livestreaming
As the retail landscape becomes more competitive with players fighting to stay relevant in the digital space, localising the shopping journey to individual markets and personalising the retail experience to various customer segments in Asia Pacific will be crucial in the diverse Asia Pacific region.
Read more about the other top retailers and country performance from the report.