SE Asian online sellers optimistic for omni-channel retail: DCCI

Southeast (SE) Asian sellers are adapting to the era of omni-channel retail, as per the findings from Lazada’s Q4 2021 Digital Commerce Confidence Index (DCCI). Businesses are cognisant of the need to put their efforts to attract customers to shop online, while ensuring that their products remain competitively priced, recognising the benefits of e-commerce.

Even as the last quarter of the year saw higher mobility and return of foot traffic to physical stores as COVID-19 restrictions eased, nearly half (47 per cent) of online sellers said they experienced more than a 10 per cent increase in their sales during the same period, the index said.

“We saw that in the last quarter of 2021, people were spending less time at home and increasingly visiting physical retail and recreational outlets. This trend, when viewed against the success of the year-end online shopping festival season, shows that consumers today are taking a more blended approach to retail than ever before, making purchases both online and offline in a way that meets their needs, adds value and delivers convenience,” said Magnus Ekbom, chief strategy officer of Lazada Group.

Southeast (SE) Asian sellers are adapting to the era of omni-channel retail, as per the findings from Lazada’s Q4 2021 Digital Commerce Confidence Index (DCCI). Businesses are cognisant of the need to put their efforts to attract customers to shop online, while ensuring that their products remain competitively priced, recognising the benefits of e-commerce.

The study, now in its third instalment, also showed that amidst the ongoing pandemic and uncertainties, sellers have remained confident throughout 2021, with an optimistic outlook on their sales performance. 70 per cent of the respondents in H1 2021 expected at least a 10 per cent increase in sales in the subsequent quarter, followed by 76 per cent in Q3 2021 and 74 per cent in the latest Q4 2021 report. This clearly indicates that even in the absence of big shopping festivals, online sellers remain resilient.

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Conducted in the fourth quarter of 2021 with 1,126 online sellers from across Southeast Asia participating, the latest report also found that 76 per cent sellers said that they would further increase their inventory by at least 10 per cent in the first three months of 2022. Further, as consumers gradually adapt their shopping habits to include a blend of physical outlet visits, as well as shopping online for convenience and value, there is optimism from sellers across different product categories about how this will result in an increase in sales. Notably, as the majority of the region’s working population assumes a hybrid work set-up, combining both work-from-home arrangements and trips to the office, it is no surprise that sellers in fashion (75 per cent) and electronics (73 per cent) categories were the most optimistic about their expected increase in sales for the three months ahead.

“Today, the customer shopping journey is much more complex. Customers are increasingly switching between physical and online channels. This same trend applies to all product categories including shopping for cosmetics, fashion, even food and groceries. While this behavior is not exactly ‘new-new’, it has been elevated by the stay-home economy during the pandemic. Therefore, to stand a higher chance of winning customers over, brands need to integrate online and offline experiences across a range of touchpoints, and leverage technology to recreate a ‘human touch’ in the digital space,” Chong Hin Ng, co-founder and CEO of Asia Insight, said.

DCCI is the first study of its kind that seeks to map out the trends in digital commerce by indexing the sentiments and confidence levels of Southeast Asian online sellers. It measures business confidence based on surveys benchmarking the opinions of online sellers in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore). In the fourth quarter of 2021, Lazada surveyed 1,126 sellers on their current online sales performance and their expectations for their digital commerce business in the future. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 being “very pessimistic” and 100 being “very optimistic” on the spectrum.

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