Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc., gestures while speaking during a discussion on artificial intelligence at the Bruegel European economic think tank in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. Pichai urged the U.S. and European Union to coordinate regulatory approaches on artificial intelligence, calling their alignment critical.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert | Bloomberg | Getty Images
For nearly as long as Google’s been a publicly traded company, it has attempted various e-commerce efforts that have mostly failed to make much progress. That’s making executives’ latest push difficult to buy but impossible to ignore.
The complications surrounding Google’s history of failed e-commerce attempts became more prominent in 2020 when it couldn’t capture the market when it needed it most. But experts say there’s still hope for the search giant and its cash stockpile to gain some traction. What it needs is a plan firm enough to outlast its past failures.
“While leaders in the space are getting bigger and the bigger, the harder it gets for Google to compete with them,” said e-commerce analyst Juozas Kaziukėnas. “It would take a massive change in the way we [shop] and it’s just unclear what it wants to do to become a serious player in shopping. It looks like they’re shooting for a few different ideas but there’s no master plan for what they want to become when it comes to commerce.”
On the table is millions of dollars and a long-term ability to reel in buyers beyond the pandemic and in an accelerated time frame.
2020 has transformed the world, and businesses have been forced to move and evolve with countless new e-commerce procedures. This evolution is only the beginning, and agile businesses that continue to adopt new strategies in 2021 will stay ahead of the curve. Here are the top trends tipped to affect e-commerce in 2021.
Many businesses have noticed SMS marketing yields higher open and click-through rates compared to classic email marketing. As texting has always been reserved for friends and family, SMS marketing helps shoppers feel more connected with a brand, bringing value to the form of communication in 2021.
Omnichannel marketing refers to the process of providing customers with a seamless experience across multiple channels and devices.
Online retailers will want to diversify and not just into Instagram shopping. They will use more pop-up stores to allow customers to shop in-person and enjoy the full brand experience, especially after in-person shopping was so limited in 2020.
On the other hand, those stores that are brick and mortar will diversify into online shopping platforms like Google Shopping, Facebook, and Instagram Shopping to allow customers to make purchases outside trading hours.
My top tips to optimise omnichannel marketing are:
Optimise your website for mobile devices.
Personalise the web experience where possible.
Offer various purchase options such as “buy online, pick-up in-store,” “buy in-store, get home delivery,” or purely “buy online, get home delivery.”
Have you ever watched a TV show and wished you could own the gorgeous shoes on the tall redhead? While this isn’t yet an option, direct shopping from smart TV ads has already been trialled by NBC using a smartphone app. The ease of use and access for customers makes this platform appealing for both shoppers and retailers in 2021.
AI algorithm analysis
Your business is probably already utilising AI to help present products more effectively. In 2021, AI will be able to analyse the results of more complex algorithms around buyer behaviour to help you know the best time, price, and channels to use when listing your products, optimising your sales.
E-commerce logistics will be transformed
2020 has turned logistics on its head, and the lessons learned will filter into 2021 in a big way. Better blockchain tracking, as well as autonomous deliveries and smart sensors, will continue to move and evolve in 2021 to enhance the shipping process for both customers and business owners.
Smart home assistants
Voice-activated assistants like Alexa and Google Home are handy for daily tasks like managing your lights and playing music, but they’re also convenient shopping tools.
In 2020, around 20 per cent of smart home assistant owners used their assistants for shopping. In the next four years, this is predicted to jump to 52 per cent. If you’re keen to optimise this trend, ensure your website is ready for voice activation by:
Offering voice-based navigation on your mobile app and online store.
Ensuring your checkout process can be completed with simple voice commands.
E-commerce has been transformed via necessity in 2020 and these developments have sparked new ideas for 2021. Preparing your business for these changes is important to increase the visibility of your brand plus create a whole new and more meaningful customer experience.
Stock moves into buy zone out of cup with handle; buy point at 1,112.51
Shares were consolidating before forming a handle earlier this month
Relative Strength Rating is 92 out of possible 99; stock is on Leaderboard
Industry Group Ranking
Cup with Handle
* Not real-time data. All data shown was captured at 1:14PM EST on 12/16/2020.
Shopify stock is the IBD Stock Of The Day as the provider of e-commerce software and services breaks out from a proper cup-with-handle base.
Shares in Shopify (SHOP) on Wednesday moved into a buy zone above a 1,112.51 entry point. Shares jumped 7.8% to close at 1,157.31.
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Josh Beck in a report published Wednesday speculated that Shopify could garner a new e-commerce fee from merchants, similar to larger rival Amazon.com (AMZN).
“Shopify has quietly expanded Shop Pay from a checkout wallet to a consumer-facing Shop App that offers package tracking and recommended product browsing,” wrote Beck. “Shop Pay has 60 million-plus buyers.”
Shopify Stock: New Revenue Stream From Consumer App?
He added: “While monetization details are limited at this early juncture, we see a future where Shopify could earn a referral fee (for example, Amazon generally charges a 15% take rate for many of Shopify’s merchant categories). Assuming Shop App is about 20% of total payment volume an incremental take rate would imply a $100 million revenue opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Business Insider reported on Monday that Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos is concerned about Shopify’s growth trajectory.
Shopify stock corrected some 27% in early September from an all-time high, then clawed back before retreating 22% in October. The stock didn’t undercut the Sept. 17 low of 839.40 on the second leg down, so it did not form a classic double-bottom base. Instead, the decline from mid-October was the start of a new base, a cup with handle.
The relative strength line for Shopify stock has drifted lower since early July, signaling underperformance vs. the S&P 500 index.
But Wednesday’s gain could show that Shopify stock is poised to rally heading into 2021.
Further, Shopify stock on Wednesday was added to the IBD Leaderboard. Leaderboard is IBD’s curated list of leading stocks that stand out on technical and fundamental metrics.
Shopify Premium Service Targets Big Brands
Canada-based Shopify enables merchants to build and manage their online businesses. While mainly focused on small- and medium-size merchants, its fast-growing premium Shopify Plus service targets big brands.
Shopify sets up e-commerce websites for small businesses, and partners with others to handle digital payments and shipping. Also, the e-commerce firm has stepped up business lending amid the coronavirus crisis.
The e-commerce platform provider holds a Relative Strength Rating of 92 out of a possible 99, according to IBD Stock Checkup.
Shopify stock, meanwhile, has a C- Accumulation/Distribution Rating. This rating analyzes price and volume changes in a stock over the past 13 weeks of trading. The rating, on an A+ to E scale, measures institutional buying and selling in a stock. A+ signifies heavy institutional buying; E means heavy selling. Think of the C grade as neutral.
Some analysts draw a distinction in rating Shopify as a subscription software company versus being a digital payment stock.
Susquehanna Financial analyst John Coffey initiated coverage on Shopify stock with a neutral rating on Dec. 2.
Shopify Stock: A Payments Or Software Company?
“From bags by Louis Vuitton to bags of Beer Nuts, you can buy nearly anything on SHOP’s million-plus websites,” wrote Coffey in the report. “For more than a decade, SHOP has been known to online retailers as the ‘brand behind the brand’ that offers merchants a turnkey solution for getting online and selling.”
He added: “But Shopify Payments, originally an ancillary service, is now the company’s largest source of revenue, not subscription fees. Accordingly, we think it is appropriate to value SHOP’s payment assets separately and against traditional online payments companies such as Adyen, PayPal and Square (SQ).”
On Black Friday, merchants on its e-commerce platform brought in sales of $2.4 billion, up 75% from a year earlier, Shopify said.
Further, Shopify has forged marketing partnerships with TikTok, Walmart (WMT), Facebook (FB) and Pinterest (PINS).
Shopify has $6 billion in cash on its balance sheet, leading to speculation it could make an acquisition.
The e-commerce firm acquired 6 River Systems, a maker of autonomous warehouse robots, for $450 million in late 2019. That marked its biggest acquisition to date.
Follow Reinhardt Krause on Twitter @reinhardtk_tech for updates on 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.
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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Creating a brand and marketing it online has great challenges. Learn how to go from idea to project launch in four months during the COVID-19 pandemic .
Like the vast majority of people, I started 2019 with a stable job, I went to the UDEM to give my entrepreneurship classes and did research in my office. It seemed what a normal semester would be until COVID-19 arrived in Mexico and soon after we entered a red light. Since March, my dining room has been turned into a classroom, office, and research center. Personally, I forced myself to be more productive by setting “entry” and “lunch” times, but after a few months the confinement made me wonder what would happen if they had to cut staff and I had no other source of income. I needed to start generating additional income!
A few months later, I received money from a savings bank for the first time in my life, and brainstorming began to invest it. At that time, in June, due to the pandemic, I had to return to live in my mother’s house, we were eating and we discussed the idea of starting an online business to manage it from home. However, the first questions began to arise: What do we sell? How do we sell it? Do we need to develop a website? How much is it going to cost us to invest? Is it easy to send? Etc.
In my case, I had been an entrepreneur twice before, I studied and specialized up to a doctorate in entrepreneurship, but most importantly, I worked two years before in one of the most important e-commerce stores in Mexico, researching and developing products for Luuna mattresses. However, launching an e-commerce project was something challenging where I had to put all my knowledge into practice. I knocked on a few doors, signed up for all the free trainings AMVO offers, and reviewed my class presentations that I give such as business plan, product development and innovation, and startups.
Currently, we have already launched our online brand of Mexican artisan jewelry KETZALIA . It was a four-month process from when we defined the general idea at the beginning of July until the launch beginning in November 2020. Personally, I decided to summarize the process in five key aspects that I learned and I hope they will help you create your own project.
1. Choose a product with a good margin
If you do not have a product that you can manufacture on your own at low cost, my first recommendation is that you do not choose a product because it is fashionable or you think it will sell well without knowing an approximate cost of the good. You always have to think that the retail price must be consistent, so if a customer finds your product at the same time on Amazon, Liverpool, Mercado Libre or your own online store, they will see similar sales prices unless a store has a seasonal discount. In addition, you have to think that one thing is the cost of production and another is that of sale, in the second you have to associate marketing, operations and logistics expenses. Have you already thought about what packaging you are going to send by parcel and if you are going to charge for that shipment or will it be free?
Customer experience is essential to generate online sales, you have to take care of every detail of the product, packaging, warranty, shipments, delivery times, forms of payment, etc. As a product can offer the best experience at competitive prices, it will attract more customers. Even if we want to give away shipments, for example, these have a cost that the company must bear and directly impacts the profit margin. That is why I recommend analyzing the economics of the product with approximate costs before selecting your idea. There are those who decide to import to reach a good margin without sacrificing experience. We work with artisans at a distance by mail and WhatsApp on product developments, which took more time, but better achieves the goal.
2. Research your market
The normal thing for any business model is that you first identify which are your customer segments to which you are going to deliver your value proposition. When you have that make sure you understand their buying process for your type of products. It is especially important to know what brands they know, how they buy them, what promotions they handle, where they have their advertising, etc. We found out from an online survey that there are many more unknown brands in the market and that customers perceive brands differently.
The research will help you to set the characteristics of the products, prices, promotions, above all, make digital campaigns. In e-commerce it is essential to generate traffic to our product pages and make conversions. You will find hundreds of alternatives to manage your digital marketing campaigns, but do not go with the one with the cheapest price but with the one that knows how to do it well. Generally, the most effective ones charge you for results, that is, for sales conversions not per publication.
3. Invest in community building
Ideally, you will market one or more own brands, although it may be the case that you have a multi-brand store. In either alternative, you will have a name and will require a graphic identity. At this point I want to be explicit that it is not only having a logo but also knowing the different design elements that will help you convey what you want to communicate. In many online stores you can see the graphic identity with the design of packaging, labels, social networks, photography, etc. So what I did was ask for the development of a brand manual, not the development of a logo. I recommend it!
In many online stores you can see the graphic identity with the design of packaging, labels, social networks, photography, etc. / Image: Depositphotos.com
Most of the most successful e-commerce are brands that invested in their graphic identity and have positioned themselves as benchmarks in their industries. The positioning you will achieve if you create a community of people interested in following your updates and you will need to create digital content. Not all digital content is going to be advertising oriented but also to communicate your philosophy and generate loyalty. I recommend investing in social media management that creates content and taking professional product photos.
4. Don’t waste time developing a platform
Perhaps our most difficult decision is whether we have to develop a web platform from scratch to sell online or it is enough to upload the products to a Marketplace. Nowadays a third alternative, platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, etc. These platforms offer the infrastructure to set up online stores without the need for programming and for a monthly subscription cost. The investment between developing your own platform or using a subscription platform can be very significant in time and money. What I recommend is that for new stores these platforms are used to have a quick launch and with less investment.
An online customer is not going to check if you used a third-party service to create your website but if it is visually attractive. We realized that a page that is capable of receiving payments and generating shipments is then a functional page for e-commerce. The aforementioned platforms fulfill both by integrating various alternatives of payment carousel and parcel logistics services. Therefore, it is more important for startups to invest in generating traffic to the page and in product development.
5. Be very patient!
The market research and idea planning process shouldn’t take more than a month. The problem is in the development of products with suppliers before an orange traffic light due to the pandemic, which is taking longer. If you manufacture or make up the products in any way, you need to ensure the quality, final design and prices with suppliers. Given this, you will experience a lot of uncertainty and longer delivery periods.
Generating sales on the site takes time, it is not something immediate. You have to invest in generating traffic to the site and wait for the algorithms to optimize the campaigns until the publications are more effective to convert to sales with your customer segments. Usually the first results in sales begin to be reflected weeks or months after launching a campaign.
Finally, the entire legal part of the business is essential and is progressing very slowly in Mexico. From the registration to the Federal Taxpayers Registry (RFC) to the SAT to the trademark registration in the IMPI , there are government procedures that are not working normal hours or they do so with appointments at very distant periods of time. In our case, the incorporation of the commercial company before a notary public and the public property registry took a total of three weeks, but obtaining the RFC to be able to invoice and open a bank account took almost two months. In the end we managed to launch and operate www.ketzalia.com .
New partners for 12.12 includes Starbucks, Lot10, TGV Cinemas
Free E-commerce Workshops help businesses maximise the upcoming sale
Malaysia’s economy is on the path of recovery, notes UOB Malaysia Senior Economist Julia Goh. Speaking to the press during the Shopee 12.12 Birthday Sale press conference, she notes that the country’s economy has a projected rebound of between 6.5% to 7.5% in 2021. The journey, however, will be uneven.
For one, much work is needed to properly recover, as the nation’s economy suffered projected losses amounting to US$16.43 billion (RM67 billion) as a result of the Covid-19 movement control orders (both the EMCO and CMCO). According to Goh, weak demand and tight liquidity have caused businesses to permanently or temporarily crease operations.
“Private consumption will continue to be the key driver of growth in 2021, accounting for up to 60%* of Malaysia’s GDP. Therefore, offline retail and service sectors must find ways to thrive in a post-pandemic environment whereby higher unemployment levels may spiral into weaker purchasing power,” she says.
“One way is for businesses to integrate offline and online strategies to cope with the changes brought about by the new norm and tap onto the growing potential of the digital economy. E-commerce’s contribution to GDP grew from RM89 billion in 2015 to RM127 billion or 8.4% of GDP in 2019. While the contribution of online retail sales to overall sales is still small, it has room for strong growth,” she believes.
[RM1 = US$0.245]
Shopee is at hand to help. The e-commerce platform has onboarded more than 1,000 traditionally brick-and-mortar businesses. Furthermore, for their upcoming 12.12 Birthday Sale, they have announced new and upcoming partnerships, which include:
Shopping Malls: Lot10, Quill City Mall, and Tropicana Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur; Gurney Paragon Mall in Penang, and The Spring Mall in Sarawak
F&B: Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Gong Cha, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Tealive
These partnerships will see Shopee help encourage the purchase of products, merchandise set deals and cash vouchers from these partners.
“We asked ourselves what we could do to contribute towards business continuity of traditionally offline players, and saw the opportunity to convert our high traffic into footfall for them,” says Shopee Malaysia’s Head of Seller Management, Zed Li.
“Additionally, consumers can also do their part in helping their favourite establishments maintain steadier cash flow by buying their deals online ahead of their visit to the stores.”
Additionally, offline retailers will also be able to draw higher footfall to their stores with the support of daily cashback of up to RM8 when users transact with the ShopeePay mobile wallet. If anything, encouraging contactless payment is a good thing during this pandemic, which adds to safety.
Beyond that, Shopee says it will continue to support businesses, be it large outfits or micro traders, with seller incentives and e-commerce education – one of them being the recently-launched 12.12 Free E-commerce Workshops on digital literacy.
Shopee will also be working with 30 charity homes and organisations such as MERCY Malaysia and Zoo Negara to raise funds for their respective causes via #ShopeeGivesBack. The initiative is supported by members of the Shopee Celebrity Squad such as Siti Nurhaliza, Neelofa, Erma Fatima, Fahrin Ahmad, Irma Hasmie, Rita Sosilawati and Zoey Rahman.
Shopee is also subsidising payment transaction fees for a 6-month period to further its support to these organisations.
This year’s 12.12 Birthday Sale marks Shopee’s fifth birthday. From now till 12 December 2020, users can enjoy free shipping with a minimum spend of RM12. Meanwhile, RM1 deals during Shocking Sale, get free FamilyMart ice cream daily from Shopee Farm, and more.
Shopee also introduced a brand new live game show, Shopee Kotak Duit that rewards users with up to RM12,000 in cold hard cash. Hosted on Shopee Live at 9PM every Monday to Thursday with special sessions on 11 and 12 December, lucky users will be called to answer one simple question and given a chance to unlock one of six boxes.
Each box contains different values with the highest being RM12,000. The game show has since rewarded two individuals with RM12,000 each.
There will be a countdown live show to kickstart the sale. The 12.12 Birthday Bash is set to happen on 11 December from 9pm. Broadcasted on Shopee Live, Astro Ria, Astro Gempak and YouTube, the concert boasts a star-studded line-up such as Sheila Majid, Faizal Tahir, Ruffedge, Misha Omar, Khai Bahar, and Dolla.
Users also stand a chance to win 12 million Shopee Coins from Shopee Shake and Shopee Catch, and cash prizes worth up to RM24,000 by playing Shopee Kotak Duit.
“2020 has opened our eyes and shown us the importance and capability of technology to truly enable positive change. We continue to be committed in powering the growth of e-commerce in 2021 and beyond by bringing the human touch to online shopping, personalising and creating a seamless customer journey through integrated payments and logistics, engagement features and innovative experiences that value-add to the overall Shopee journey,” says Zed Li.
“As we wrap up the year with the 12.12 Birthday Sale, let us continue to have each other’s backs, uplift those in need and welcome 2021 on a positive note,” he concludes.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviours that are likely to have lasting effects.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed online shopping behaviours, according to a survey of about 3,700 consumers in nine emerging and developed economies.
The survey, entitled “COVID-19 and E-commerce”, examined how the pandemic has changed the way consumers use e-commerce and digital solutions. It covered Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.
Following the pandemic, more than half of the survey’s respondents now shop online more frequently and rely on the internet more for news, health-related information and digital entertainment.
Consumers in emerging economies have made the greatest shift to online shopping, the survey shows.
He said the acceleration of online shopping globally underscores the urgency of ensuring all countries can seize the opportunities offered by digitalization as the world moves from pandemic response to recovery.
Online purchases rise but consumer spending falls
The survey conducted by UNCTAD and Netcomm Suisse eCommerce Association, in collaboration with the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br) and Inveon, shows that online purchases have increased by 6 to 10 percentage points across most product categories.
The biggest gainers are ICT/electronics, gardening/do-it-yourself, pharmaceuticals, education, furniture/household products and cosmetics/personal care categories (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Percentage of online shoppers making at least one online purchase every two months
However, average online monthly spending per shopper has dropped markedly (Figure 2). Consumers in both emerging and developed economies have postponed larger expenditures, with those in emerging economies focusing more on essential products.
Tourism and travel sectors have suffered the strongest decline, with average spending per online shopper dropping by 75%.
Figure 2: Fall of average online spending per month since COVID-19, per product category
“During the pandemic, online consumption habits in Brazil have changed significantly, with a greater proportion of internet users buying essential products, such as food and beverages, cosmetics and medicines,” said Alexandre Barbosa, manager of the Regional Center of Studies on the Development of Information Society (Cetic.br) at the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br).
Increases in online shopping during COVID-19 differ between countries, with the strongest rise noted in China and Turkey and the weakest in Switzerland and Germany, where more people were already engaging in e-commerce.
The survey found that women and people with tertiary education increased their online purchases more than others. People aged 25 to 44 reported a stronger increase compared with younger ones.
In the case of Brazil, the increase was highest among the most vulnerable population and women.
Also, according to survey responses, small merchants in China were most equipped to sell their products online and those in South Africa were least prepared.
“Companies that put e-commerce at the heart of their business strategies are prepared for the post-COVID-19 era,” said Yomi Kastro, founder and CEO of Inveon. “There is an enormous opportunity for industries that are still more used to physical shopping, such as fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.”
“In the post-COVID-19 world, the unparalleled growth of e-commerce will disrupt national and international retail frameworks,” said Carlo Terreni, President, NetComm Suisse eCommerce Association.
“This is why policymakers should adopt concrete measures to facilitate e-commerce adoption among small and medium enterprises, create specialized talent pools and attract international e-commerce investors.”
Digital giants grow stronger
According to the survey, the most used communication platforms are WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, all owned by Facebook.
However, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have benefitted the most from increases in the use of video calling applications in workplaces.
In China, the top communication platforms are WeChat, DingTalk and Tencent Conference, the survey shows.
Changes are here to stay
The survey results suggest that changes in online activities are likely to outlast the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most respondents, especially those in China and Turkey, said they’d continue shopping online and focusing on essential products in the future.
They’d also continue to travel more locally, suggesting a lasting impact on international tourism.
“We’ve always wanted to have a direct service out of Melbourne, but we never had the volume,” he said.
Mr Edstein said DHL wanted a direct Melbourne-NZ service because it wanted to improve transit times, and side-step issues such as the curfew on flights in and out of the Sydney airport.
“When COVID-19 hit our volumes have soared, and we’ve always wanted to do this Melbourne-Auckland direct (service). And it’s been seven years in the planning to get up to a volume that will justify it, and we’ve now got that volume,” he said.
DHL Express’ Melbourne to New Zealand shipment volumes have jumped 49 per cent over the past year, making the route one of the fastest growing ones for DHL in the Oceania region. DHL said New Zealand is Victoria’s third largest export destination after China and the United States, buying about 7.6 per cent of Victoria’s exports.
Mr Edstein said the products DHL carried from Melbourne to New Zealand included clothing, electronic goods and spare parts.
“A lot of major companies have their distribution centre in Melbourne, and they don’t have a distribution centre in New Zealand. So because of our service, our overnight capability they can centralise all their stock in to one major location,” he said.
DHL Express has hired about an extra 120 staff in Australia since mid-year, because of the huge growth in demand for its services.
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Romaniaʼs e-commerce market will reach about EUR 6 billion in 2020, at least 40% more compared to 2019, according to estimates revealed in a study conducted by iSense Solutions for the GPeC summit, the annual event dedicated to the local e-commerce industry, reported business paper Ziarul Financiar as cited by news portal Romania-insider.
In the pandemic context, the number of Romanians shopping online increased by 13% this year compared to 2019, and the average value spent on online shopping went up by 41% compared to 2019.
The fastest evolution in terms of online sales was recorded by catering services (delivery of cooked food), with an increase of 124% compared to 2019.
Other categories of products recorded sales growth well above the 2019 average as well – such as books and magazines (+113%), pet shop goods (+113%), and FMCG (+110%). Fast delivery applications gained ground during this period, with almost half (45%) of survey respondents mentioning that they used a delivery application for online shopping or ordering at least once, and 27% of them used the applications at least once per week.
Southeast Asia’s Internet sectors continue to see strong growth, hitting $100 billion in 2020, and are on track to cross $300 billion by 2025 stated a report by Google, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and business consultants Bain & Co.
The e-Conomy SEA 2020 report sheds light on the internet economy in the region, covering Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and shows that internet usage in Southeast Asia continues to multiply, with 40M new users this year alone (400M YTD vs. 360M in 2019).
Super surge in new users
New users are coming online at a blistering pace, adding 40M new Internet users this year alone compared to 100M between 2015 and 2019 and 70% of the region’s population is now online.
During lockdowns, new users made up 38% of the region’s Subscription Video on Demand services (SVOD).Music subscriptions, on the other hand, grew at a slightly slower pace of 34% in the same period.
Thailand to have second largest internet economy in the region
In Thailand, with its various stages of lockdowns, users turned to the Internet for solutions to their sudden challenges. A significant number tried new digital services: 30% of all digital service consumers were new, with 95% of these new consumers intending to continue their behavior post-pandemic.
Thailand is projected to have the second largest internet economy in the region this year after Indonesia, despite economic challenges: the internet economy is projected to climb 7% to $18 billion this year, the second largest internet economy in Asean.
Resilience in times of crisis
e-Commerce has driven significant growth in Thailand, at 81%. This steep ascendance has largely offset declines in Travel and Transport. Overall, 2020 GMV is expected to reach a total value of US $18B in 2020, having grown at 7% YoY.
Looking at 2025, the overall e-Conomy will likely reach US $53B in value, re-accelerating to ~25% CAGR.
Online with a purpose
Southeast Asians spent on average an hour more a day on the Internet during Covid-19–imposed lockdowns, and it’s easy to see why. The Internet sector provided access to essential goods, healthcare, education and entertainment, and helped businesses “keep the lights on.”
With 8 out of 10 Southeast Asians viewing technology as very helpful during the pandemic, it has become an indispensable part of people’s daily lives.
HealthTech and EdTech have played a critical role during the pandemic, with impressive adoption rates to match. Even so, these sectors remain nascent and challenges need to be addressed before they can be commercialized at a larger scale. Nonetheless, the boost in adoption, compounded with fast-growing funding, is likely to propel innovation in this space over the coming years.
The car industry was badly ruptured by the pandemic, as supply chains were upset and consumer purchasing power fell
But autonomous vehicles, while also impacted, can leverage a surge in e-commerce to accelerate development
Driverless delivery firm Nuro today announced a US$500 million injection
From better longevity, reduced congestion and environmental impact, passenger experience — even improved safety — the benefits of autonomous vehicles far outweigh the negatives (of which there are admittedly a few).
The buzz around autonomous vehicles is often focused on consumer vehicles. That’s as you’d expect, given the thrilling prospect of binging Netflix, taking a nap, or getting in a fight on Twitter while our personal transport hurtles along the freeway by itself.
But with a big opportunity for autonomous vehicles to transform the way goods move from warehouses to stores, and how packages or meals get to our front doors, the reality is that autonomous commercial vehicles will very likely come first.
Like others, the autonomous vehicle market was interrupted this year; testing was forced to pause, while in the wider automobile market, consumer purchasing of new vehicles fell.
At the same time, however, communities around the world have shifted to home-based working and living environments. E-commerce has spiked as a result, and the need to move goods and services without human interaction is more important than ever before.
Online retail spend in 2020 vs. 2019. Source: Common Thread
Today (November 9), self-driving delivery company Nuro, whose R2 unit has no pedals or steering wheel and only room for packages, announced a US$500 million injection as the last-mile delivery sector witnesses more demand than ever.
Nuro’s vehicles are built for autonomous use first. Founded by two former Google engineers, the company has already conducted extensive testing in various states including Californa, Arizona, and Texas.
At the end of last year, the firm teamed up with retail giant Walmart, while Nuro is currently using Prius cars outfitted with its autonomous vehicle technology to deliver groceries and prescriptions for Kroger and CVS in Houston.
Nuro joins other firms that have raised money this year, as demand for automation and digitization has proven a byproduct of a global pandemic across seemingly every sector. Just last week, Pony.ai, backed by Toyota Motor Corp, raised US$267 million in the initial phase of its fundraising round that values the self-driving startup at US$5.3 billion, making it one of the most valuable independent autonomous vehicle startups.
Earlier this year, Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo raised US$3 billion, bringing the total raised by autonomous car-makers in 2020 to US$7.1 billion, according to Reuters.
The autonomous last-mile delivery market is expected to explode from a value of US$11.13 billion in 2021 to US$75.65 billion by 2030. But that projection was made before a surge in e-commerce spend this year that saw e-commerce behemoth double its revenue earlier this year.
With many businesses set not to return to working styles ‘as they were’, and home-working likely to continue to a degree — as well as many retailers making further investments into their online strategy — the spike in e-commerce isn’t likely to fall back to previous levels, and that will, in turn, continue to heat up the race toward commercial autonomous vehicle deployment.