Asia Pacific

In its 2021 regional report, the IMF was bullish on Asia. The fund predicted a strong rebound, driven by returning global demand for Asia’s exports, particularly its manufactured goods. IHS Markit predicts that Asian export volumes will increase by 13% in 2021. As a result of this trade boom, the IMF forecasts growth for the Asia Pacific region of 7.6% in 2021 and 5.4% in 2022. This is well above the predicted global growth rates of 6% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022.

However, the picture is not as uncomplicatedly optimistic as these headline figures indicate. In the summer of 2021, the IMF released an updated report in which it downgraded the outlook for some Asian economies, particularly what it referred to as “emerging Asia”. Composed of countries such as India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, emerging Asia suffered a bruising second wave of COVID-19 infections in the March through May period of 2021, denting its growth prospects.

The World Bank echoes these findings, pointing out that only China and Vietnam have enjoyed the anticipated
“V-shaped recovery”. It also pointed out that, because of the economic distress caused by the pandemic, in 2020 poverty levels in the Asia Pacific region stopped declining for the first time in 20 years. As a result of this, 22 million people who might otherwise have escaped poverty did not.

Another potential constraint on growth is the rapid increase in shipping costs that has been a feature of 2021.
In May 2021, the cost of hiring a shipping container for transport from Asia to Europe hit US$10,000 for the first time. Between the end of April and the beginning of August, Asia-Europe shipping prices rose by an average of US$6,000 per container.

The same phenomenon is evident on other routes. Shipping costs on the Shanghai to Los Angeles shipping route, for instance, also hit almost US$10,000 a container on 15 July. Some retailers are already predicting significant price increases for Asian consumer goods in time for the festive season. It’s possible that this, combined with falling consumer confidence due to post-vaccination COVID spikes, could hit demand and depress sales.

As with other parts of the world, Asia has been hit by rising infection rates since the advent of the Delta variant of COVID-19. By the start of August 2021, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam were all experiencing sharp rises in infection rates. In some countries, this rise in infections has been accompanied by a rise in hospitalisations and deaths. By the start of August, death rates in the region were close to 5,000 a day, a rise from just 800 a day in March 2021.

The potential for a strong recovery in Asia is clearly there. This was evident in early 2021, before the arrival in force of the Delta variant. The primary problem appears to be the region’s low vaccination rate. Less than 10% by August 2021, compared to around 40% in North America and Europe.

Asia Pacific
E-commerce % of total retail 23.8%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device 59%
World
E-commerce % of total retail 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device 53%

E-commerce in Asia Pacific

The e-commerce market

On the eve of the pandemic, the consumer e-commerce market in the Asia Pacific region was worth US$1.7 trillion and was growing at a rate of 22% a year. The region’s consumers completed 58% of all online transactions using
a mobile device. And the average shopper spent US$2,181 a year with e-commerce merchants.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, as in other markets worldwide, Asian consumers turned to e-commerce in their droves. In China, the e-commerce market (worth over US$1.2 trillion before the pandemic) is forecast to grow to
a value of US$3 trillion by 2024. In India, analysts predict annual growth for the e-commerce market of 18%, with the sector’s value rising to US$61.5 billion by 2021. In Southeast Asia, 40 million new internet users came online in 2020 and e-commerce grew by 35%.

As you’d expect, this turbo-charged growth rate has prompted some significant reordering of the region’s online commerce. India’s Tata group was prompted to spend, according to some reports, over US$1.3 billion, expanding into online grocery and pharmaceutical sales.

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s Gojek and Tokopedia merged to create GoTo Group. Worth as much as US$40 billion, the new company will offer e-commerce, ride hailing, and online financial services. Meanwhile in Singapore, GoTo’s main rival, Grab, announced plans to go public, with a valuation of around US440 billion.

The surprise development in Asian e-commerce has been China’s crackdown on its highly successful tech sector. Between February and July 2021, as a result of state restrictions on things such as how technology firms could go public and how they could use consumer data, the value of the Chinese tech sector, including many of its
e-commerce giants, fell by more than US$1 trillion.

  • Wallets
  • Card-based payments
  • Bank transfers
  • Cash-based payments
  • Other
[{"label":"Wallets","value":"60"},{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"25"},{"label":"Bank transfers","value":"7"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"4"},{"label":"Other","value":"4"}]

The payment landscape in Asia Pacific

The local payment culture

The most common way to pay for online purchases in Asia is by wallet, used in 60% of all online transactions. Online shoppers use cards in 25% of e-commerce sales, cash in 4%, bank transfer in 7%, and a range of other methods in the remaining 4%. The credit card market is dominated by local schemes, which have an 84% market share. Visa has just 9% and Mastercard 5%.

Along with the rise of e-commerce during the pandemic, there are also clear signs of the rise on online and digital payments in Asia. In Southeast Asia, for instance, the average number of cash transactions fell by 11% during lockdown.

E-commerce market size ($USD billion)
Asia Pacific 2472
World 4269
E-commerce spending per capita ($USD)
Asia Pacific 984
World 1080

Enabling and limiting factors

In Asian markets surveyed for this report, 60% of people had some kind of internet connection when the pandemic began. 71% had an internet-connected smartphone. The signs are that internet penetration increased during lockdown. Along with Southeast Asia’s 40 million new internet users in 2020, India’s online population is thought
to have grown by 24% during lockdown, and in China, the online population may now be one billion.

71% percent of Asians have a bank account. Though this headline figure masks fairly wide disparities between different markets. In China, for instance, 80% of the population has a bank account; in Vietnam, it’s just 31%.

A recent report by the IMF estimated that improving financial inclusion in the region could increase its GDP by 1% and lower the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, by about 10 – 20%. The good news is that digital financial services seem to be bridging the gap between the financial system and those previously excluded. For instance,
by 2020, there were 547 million people in Asia with mobile money accounts [24]. According to one recent estimate, the digital payments market in Asia is growing at a rate of more than 30% a year.

Logistics for e-commerce are highly variable in different markets. But most markets are investing heavily in improvements. In 2020, the Asia Pacific e-commerce logistics market grew by 22%.

Conclusion

Asia is booming. There are many bumps on the road to mass prosperity. But with thriving digital and manufacturing economies, Asia looks set to continue growing and diversifying its economy long into the future. And that can mean only greater consumer demand, which equally must mean more e-commerce. If you’re an
e-commerce merchant looking for lucrative new markets, look east.

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Asia Pacific

General Information

  • Population 4,285m
  • Population 15 + 3,263m
  • Online Population 2,564m
  • GDP ($US billion) 30,700bn USD
  • GDP per capita ($US) 7,164 USD
  • Card-based payments
  • Cash-based payments
  • Bank transfer
  • Wallets
  • Other
[{"label":"Card-based payments","value":"25"},{"label":"Cash-based payments","value":"4"},{"label":"Bank transfer","value":"7"},{"label":"Wallets","value":"60"},{"label":"Other","value":"4"}]
Banked population
  • Asia Pacific 71%
  • World 67%
Internet penetration
  • Asia Pacific 60%
  • World 62%
Credit card penetration
  • Asia Pacific 13%
  • World 19%
Smartphone penetration
  • Asia Pacific 71%
  • World 70%

Asia Pacific

The E-Commerce Market

E-commerce % of total retail
  • Asia Pacific 23.8%
  • World 20%
E-commerce completed on a mobile device
  • Asia Pacific 59%
  • World 53%
  • E-commerce market size ($US billion) 1660.8bn USD
  • E-commerce spending per capita ($US) 984 USD

Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific payment methods

Alfamart Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Alipay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High BitPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Boost Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High DOKU Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Dragonpay Type Bank transfer, Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High eNETS Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High FPX Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific GoPay (by Gojek) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific GrabPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Hyperwallet Type Bank transfer, Gift card, Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Indomaret Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Jenius Pay Type E-wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Kredivo Type Buy Now, Pay Later, Instalments Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High LinkAja Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High OVO Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Pay-easy Type Bank transfer, Cash Regions Asia Pacific PayPal Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High PaysafeCard Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Paysera Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High PayU Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific + 4 Market relevance High PermataNet Type Other (Internet banking) Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High POLi Payments Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Skrill Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High WeChat Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High 123 Type Bank transfer, Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High 7-Connect Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Aadhaar Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Afterpay Type Instalments Regions Asia Pacific, North America, Western & Central Europe Market relevance High AirPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Airtel Money Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa Market relevance High Allied Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Apple Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Amazon Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 3 Market relevance High AuPay / KDDI Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Baidu wallet (Baifubao) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Bajaj Finserv Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High BancNet Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Bangkok Bank PromptPay Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Boku Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High BPAY Type Buy Now, Pay Later Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Citrus Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Dana Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High DaoPay Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High DBS Paylah! Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High DuitNow Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Easypaisa Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High eSewa Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High eZ Cash Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High EZ-Link Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High FavePay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High GCash Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Google Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High ItzCash Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High JioMoney Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High JomPAY Type Buy Now, Pay Later Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High KakaoPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High KBZ Pay (Huawei) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Khalti Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Klarna Type Bank transfer, Buy Now, Pay Later, Instalments Regions Asia Pacific, North America, Western & Central Europe Market relevance High Konbini Payments Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High M-Pietsan Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High M-Pitesan Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Masterpass Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Mobiamo Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High MobiKwik Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Moca / Grab Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High MoMo Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Naver Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High NganLuong Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Octopus Type Local payment card, Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Ola Money Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Openbucks Type Cash, Gift card Regions Asia Pacific, North America Market relevance High Osko Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High OVO Cash Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Paidy Type Bank transfer, Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Pasmo Type Local payment card, Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Pay Maya Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Pay@Store Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High PayMe Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High PayPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Paytm Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High PhonePe Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Pi Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High QQ Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Rabbit LINE Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Razer Gold Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Razer Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High RuPay Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Samsung Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High ShinhanCard Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High ShopeePay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High SMART Money Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High SmartLuy Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Softbank / Carrier billing Matomete Shiharai Type Carrier billing Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High SWIFT Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance High Tesco Lotus Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Toss Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High T-Money Type Local payment card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High TNG Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High VNPAY QR Type Other Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Wave Money Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High WebMoney Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 3 Market relevance High WhatsApp Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, South & Central America Market relevance High Wing Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High YooMoney Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 2 Market relevance High 7-Eleven Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America Market relevance Medium Speedpoint services Type Buy Now, Pay Later, Cash, Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Alfamidi Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium AlipayHK Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium AstroPay Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, South & Central America + 1 Market relevance Medium Bao Kim Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium CenPay Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Coins.ph Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium D-Barai Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium eMonkey Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium FreeCharge Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium GPAY Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Huawei Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 1 Market relevance Medium InstaPay Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Kioson Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium LazyPay Type Buy Now, Pay Later Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium LINE Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Mi Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium MobiCash Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa Market relevance Medium OK$ Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium OneCard Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa Market relevance Medium PayNow Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Paystore Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium PayZapp Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium PesoPay Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium PromptPay Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium SAM Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Market relevance Medium VTC Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Wallet One Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 4 Market relevance Medium Zip Type Instalments Regions Asia Pacific, Western & Central Europe Market relevance Medium BankWallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific BCA KlikPay Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Big C Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Boloro Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 BSN Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Cash on Delivery Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Cash on Delivery Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Chharo Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific e-pay Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific e-pay BRI Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific eggmoney Type Prepaid voucher Regions Asia Pacific G2A Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Go by Bank Islam Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Hike Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific i-Muamalat Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific iPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific JazzCash Type Cash, Wallet Regions Asia Pacific JETCO Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific JKOPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High Jokul Type Bank transfer, Buy Now, Pay Later, Credit card Regions Asia Pacific kiplePay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Krungsri Online Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific KrungThai Next Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Livin by Mandiri Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific MerPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific ML ePAY Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific MobiDram Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific mPay Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific MYCash Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Napas e-commerce service Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High NETELLER Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific + 5 NETSPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Online EFTPOS Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Oxigen Type Prepaid card, QR code, Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium Pay@Post Type Cash Regions Asia Pacific Pockets Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Post Billpay (Pay a bill) Type Buy Now, Pay Later Regions Asia Pacific Rakuten Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Saldo Klik Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific Samsung Pay mini Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific SCB PromptPay Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific SimSim Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Suica Type Mobile app, Prepaid card Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance Medium T Wallet Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Tot Quick Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Truecaller Pay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific YES PAY Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific KasPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Sofort (Klarna) Type Bank transfer Regions Asia Pacific, Western & Central Europe Market relevance High Splitit Type Instalments Regions Asia Pacific + 5 Touch N Go Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High TrueMoney Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High ZaloPay Type Wallet Regions Asia Pacific Market relevance High