Videos on social media are becoming increasingly influential in the consumer journey. Almost one in four Singaporean consumers say video is one of their top three channels to discover and evaluate products. Thirty-one per cent also say they purchased more streaming and content creator-related products compared to last year.
These were some of the findings from the Meta and Bain & Company SYNC Southeast Asia report, which looks at the digital economy and future of e-commerce in the region.
The study also reveals that Singaporean consumers are using 10 online platforms this year, up from six last year. While the e-commerce marketplaces account for the majority of online spend, 17% of Singaporeans’ online purchases are made on alternative e-commerce platforms such as business messaging, live shopping, and group buy.
“Live shopping is an exciting medium, and I think it’s gaining good traction, especially with Gen Z and Millennials. [According to our survey] in June, 40% of respondents in Asia Pacific had discovered and shopped on social platforms, with 61% being Gen Z and Millennials. The younger crowd feel really good about participating in these live-shopping events because it’s just much more prevalent and it’s close to where they are,” says Benjamin Joe, vice president for Southeast Asia and Emerging Markets at Meta, at a media briefing earlier today.
Dhruv Vohra, managing director of Meta business group for Southeast Asia, adds: “In the pandemic, shopping basically moved online. What was missing was the social experience of shopping – where you go out with your friends to shop and have a good time.
“Live-shopping, or even alternative e-commerce, brings the social aspect of shopping back online. Because what's happening is that you're [perhaps] watching the event together with friends, you’re gamifying shopping, or you're talking to the seller in a social manner. So I think it's a beautiful combination of online plus social, which makes [those forms of] e-commerce so exciting.”
Consider the use of business messaging and metaverse-related technologies
The digital consumer population in Southeast Asia is growing steadily. It is expected to reach 370 million by the end of 2022, and rise further to 402 million by 2027.
One way organisations can meet the needs of those digital consumers is to consider the use of business messaging. Since many companies in Southeast Asia skipped the desktop era – where they first build a website before branching into social media platforms – Joe believes that business messaging presents a “big opportunity in the region”.
He states: “More than 60% of consumers in the region have actually interacted with the business online through social apps [like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp]. Through these business messaging experiences, consumers can ask for any recommendation [or even] bargain for deals. We continue to be really excited about this and will continue to invest in helping consumers connect with businesses that matter to them.”
Besides that, businesses should also experiment with new technologies. According to the report, 70% of consumers in the region have used at least one metaverse-related technology – including augmented reality, virtual reality, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens and virtual worlds – this year. Almost 40% of Singaporeans have also used fintech solutions – such as e-wallets and neobanks – in the past year.
"This new evolution of digital consumers will undoubtedly be the driving force for Southeast Asia's e-commerce gross merchandise value growth. With a longer-term favourable demographic profile, and as Southeast Asia leads in the adoption of future technologies, businesses that focus on staying the course in the region, build a truly integrated channel strategy and necessary capabilities, make their supply chains resilient, and leverage new tools and technologies to engage with digital consumers will emerge as winners,” says Praneeth Yendamuri, partner at Bain & Company.