Southeast Asia's Internet economy to hit USD50 billion in 2017: Study

The internet economy of Southeast Asia is poised for unexpected growth as it is going to hit USD50 billion (SGD67.55 billion) this year, according to a study by Google and Singapore-based investment company Temasek Holdings today. Progressing on this trajectory, the study also predicted that the region is well on track to realise a USD200 billion internet economy by 2025.

Below are some other striking numbers about Southeast Asia’s internet economy from the latest report:

330 million internet users: With more than 70 million new internet users since 2015, Southeast Asia now has the third largest number of internet users in the world — bigger than the whole population of the United States.

Southeast Asia region is on track to realise a USD200 billion internet economy by 2025.
Southeast Asia region is on track to realise a USD200 billion internet economy by 2025. Photo courtesy:

3.6 hours on the mobile internet every day: Southeast Asians spend more time on the mobile internet than anyone else on the planet. Thailand is top of the list with 4.2 hours per day, with Indonesia a close second at 3.9 hours per day. To compare, the US spends 2 hours per day, the UK 1.8 hours per day, and Japan 1 hour per day on mobile internet.

140 minutes shopping online every month: Southeast Asians spend almost twice as much time as Americans in e-commerce marketplaces. The region will have an $88.1 billion e-commerce market by 2025.

6 million rides booked through ride-hailing platforms every day: The ride-hailing market in Southeast Asia has grown four-fold since 2015 and will be $20.1 billion by 2025.

The report points out that all sectors of the internet economy including online travel, online media, e-commerce and ride hailing, have witnessed "solid growth" in 2017.

The study pointed out that mobile has the "absolute prominence" as the access point and driver of the region's Internet economy. More than 90 per cent of Southeast Asia’s internet users are on smartphones. They spend an average of 3.6 hours per day on mobile internet, more than in any other region in the world.

There has been also growth of about 40 per cent in the e-commerce and ride-hailing services in the region.

In the e-commerce sector, growth factors include a boom in consumer engagement and a surge in marketplaces, such as Lazada and Shopee, which provide small and medium businesses with readily accessible platforms to transact online and reach new consumers.

There have been overall e-commerce sales in Southeast Asia reaching USD10.9 billion in 2017, up from USD5.5 billion in 2015, the study said.

The ride-hailing service is also seeing ‘dramatic growth’ in 2017 as the gross merchandise value (GMV) touched to USD5.1 billion, compared to two years ago.

The research noted that more than 6 million rides per day were booked on top ride-hailing apps, such as Grab and Uber, in the third quarter of 2017. That marks a more than four-fold increase since 2015.

With these players expanding to food delivery, courier services and digital payments, they are well positioned to become Southeast Asia’s horizontal personal services leaders given the large and growing base of users and drivers on their platforms, the study said.

Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.