Do you tend to find yourself buying from sellers on Instagram and Facebook? You are not alone, in fact, there are over 150 million people just like you in this region, according to new data from consulting firm Bain & Co. published in the Wall Street Journal.
The report revealed that social media websites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are attracting 150 million digital consumers in the region into e-commerce by using messaging tools and introducing shopping features. That is, in contrast, with the US, where only 7 percent out of the 287 million Internet users are likely to buy something, according to market-research firm GlobalWebIndex.
How social media thrive as an e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia is attributed to the rapidly growing smartphone market and a less-than-ideal e-commerce landscape. Using social media, users can easily buy products they found and contact the seller via messaging platforms like Line or WhatsApp, where they then transect.
Nadia Tan, head of Facebook’s small-medium businesses unit in Southeast Asia, told the WSJ that Messenger is one of the main reasons social commerce is growing in the region.
Small and midsize businesses in the region depend heavily on social commerce because it is the cheapest and most convenient way to promote their products; online marketplaces usually require transaction fees.
Facebook expanded Shop — which helps entrepreneurs who already run business pages on the platform — to other markets in August.
With Shop, buyers can view photos of products being sold on Facebook, including T-shirts and sewing machines, and then use Messenger to chat about the sale, get directions to the store in real life or buy on an official website.
While Facebook does not reveal how much revenue it receives from online shopping, it said that the top markets where Shop is used most often include Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.