Thailand vs. Vietnam vs. Malaysia, who is leading the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia?

Kun Su
Thailand vs. Vietnam vs. Malaysia, who is leading the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia?

The competition among the three markets is tight, and here are some interesting insights

As e-commerce grows rapidly in Southeast Asia, iPrice spotted this trend and conducted a study on e-commerce markets in three big countries in the region: Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. They have been competing not only in the e-commerce market but also the economy in general. The competition among the three players is tight, and here are some interesting insights.

Lazada has become the top choice among online shoppers in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam

Thailand Malaysia Vietnam
Name Traffic (%) Name Traffic (%) Name Traffic (%)
Top1 Lazada TH 52.6% Lazada 48.5% Lazada VN 19%
Top2 11 Street TH 12.2% 11 Street 16.4% Thế giới di động 15%
Top3 Shopee TH 4.4% Lelong 10.5% Sendo 11%
Top4 Chilindo 3.9% Shopee 4.5% Tiki 8%
Top5 Notebook Spec 3.5% Zalora 3.9% Vật giá 6%

Lazada has been operating in Southeast Asia for around 5 years. With the big investment from Alibaba in April 2016, Lazada has become the top choice among online shoppers in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. This is based on iPrice’s study, revealing the ranking of top e-commerce stores in each country by the share of traffic. Here are other interesting findings:

In Thailand, Lazada has a traffic share of around 52.6%, followed by 11 Street with 12.2 %, and Shopee with 4.4%.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian market is dominated by Lazada with a traffic share of around 48.5%, followed by 11Street with 16.4%, and Lelong with 10.5%

For Vietnam, although Lazada is ranked first on the list with 19% share of traffic, the total traffic is diversified by many local players such as Thế giới di động with 15% and Sendo 11%. This only proves that there is a tight competition between each player, unlike in Malaysia and Thailand where Lazada leaves a huge gap for other players to catch up.

Consumer preferences in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam

Information Search and Purchase Decision

According to the study, the availability of information varies in each country.  Malaysians tend to find more information about promotions and deals, unlike in Thailand and Vietnam.  On the other hand, Vietnamese tend to find information about price and availability of the product.

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Meanwhile, Thai people are called collectivists since they tend to listen to their friends and family when they seek information. With the advancement of technology and the easy access to information, Thai people’s behavior has changed. Although Thai look for information through online channels often they still shop in brick and mortar such as department stores.

There are many factors to explain this behavior, as an example — Thai people do not trust online shopping system, since they wouldn’t be able to touch and try the products before they make a purchase. Not to mention, they feel more comfortable to have a representative to assist them in their purchase.

International Purchase

International purchase becomes a primary choice for Southeast Asian customers who seek for more options outside their region. Vietnamese people purchase products internationally because they believe that products abroad have higher quality than the one produced in Vietnam. Thai people also like to purchase products from international companies because of the vast selection of products they offer. They also believe that ordering products online from international companies are cheaper than those sold in their local department stores.

One of the obstacles that these shoppers face is language barrier. This problem seems to be evident among Thai and most especially Vietnamese. This is because they are not comfortable in navigating through an online website that uses English. On the other hand, Malaysians who often use English in their daily conversation, do not experience such problem when purchasing products online from aboard.

Thai people engaged with E-Commerce Facebook Fan page

iPrice collaborated with Socialbakers, a leading company in social media analytics, to study the social media engagement of people toward e-commerce Facebook pages in each country.

The study shows Thai people have the highest interaction per 1K fan, garnering a score of 237.6. This is followed by Vietnam with 208.9, and Malaysia with 109.

The data above implies that Thai people are more engaged with content on e-commerce Facebook pages. They tend to like, share, and comment on the post more than people in the other two countries.

Thailand is expected to be the second biggest e-commerce market in Southeast Asia in 2025

Market Value (Billion Dollars)
Country 2015 2025 CAGR (%)
Thailand 0.9 11.1 29
Malaysia 1 8.2 24
Vietnam 0.4 7.5 33

According to the e-conomy SEA study by Google and Temasek, it shows Thailand e-commerce market value was $0.9 Billion in 2015. It projects that the market will grow with the compound annual growth rate of 29% which will reach the valuation of $11.1 Billion in 2025, expecting it to be the biggest among the three countries and become the second largest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

With the tight competition in each market, it’s quite interesting to see how the e-commerce market in each country will play out in 2018. Definitely, consumers in each market will benefit from this stiff competition because not only do they have more options but also expect more product and service quality.

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For more information and data, check out iPrice Insights.

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