Embarked on a steady growth tangent, the eCommerce market in Southeast Asia is projected to reach US$ 67,640 million in 2021. The data clearly indicates tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for eCommerce players.
But, the continuing rise of eCommerce also means intensified competition. As different eCommerce players end up following similar trends, it gets difficult to create a competitive advantage.
Since the popularity of products keeps changing, it is only reasonable that eCommerce players must always have an updated knowledge of top selling products. Hence, we’ve come up with a list of such products for 2021 based on different categories.
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Selling on eCommerce platforms can be quite competitive. But, if you are looking to tap the growing purchasing power, women are Southeast Asia’s biggest online consumers. Approximately 80% of the household purchases are made by them, and fashion and beauty are placed amongst Southeast Asia’s biggest online-selling categories. The popular shopping events (9.9, 11.11, Year End Sale, Raya Sale, etc.) edition claimed to have the following as top-selling products from this category:
1. Apparels and Footwear
Statista (1) reports that the revenue in the fashion segment is projected to reach US$ 429,685 m in 2021. And the most favoured vertical will be the apparels expecting the average revenue per user to be US$ 171.59. The top selling fashion must-haves are casual-wear, beauty, and skincare products and footwears. But adding on to it was the sleepwear and comfort fashion as work-from-home became a daily norm across almost all of Southeast Asia.
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2. Athleisure and Fitness Accessories
Athleisure is one fashion trend that has consistently been popular in the past couple of years. It is nothing but activewear worn as a regular everyday-wear. According to Google Trends (2), of all the fashion-related web searches, athleisure is a huge hit amongst millennials.
The second best fashion category has been the fitness accessories. Given mandatory government shutdowns of gyms around the world due to the pandemic, there’s been a growing trend of purchasing at-home exercise equipment. Fitness accessories like exercise bands, yoga and pilates mats quickly became one of the best-selling products as people started working out at home.
3. Fashion Accessories
Planning to enter fashion eCommerce? Then accessories are one of the best products to make your mark in. You should look out for bow ties, pocket squares, cufflinks, and scarves, as they are always going to be in fashion regardless of the weather and season. Apart from that wooden sunglasses are also being used for their organic and raw style.
From formal parties, to daily-wear, people nowadays experiment with watches to accentuate their look. According to Fossil (6), men seek variety in wrist-bands, patterns, material etc. while women want to have a choice with its look and appearance. Digital, analog, smartwatches are not going to lose the market especially with increased use of technology. You can also try to sell wooden watches because they are very degradable and comfortable to use.
5. Leggings and Shapewears
Leggings and shapewear were used as innerwear earlier. However, with time they have become a must-have in every person’s closet essentials. The trend in the sale of leggings has gone higher in the past few years and will continue only after something more prominent comes into existence. People like to flaunt their new collection of leggings as a part of their mainstream clothing
6. Modest Fashion
Modest Fashion basically refers to wearing less skin-revealing clothes. Modest clothing also tends to prioritise comfort and fit, satisfying your shoppers’ demand for these aspects. While this may seem a primary category in the Southeast Asian community, it even made its way to Paris Fashion Week a few years back.
So, if you think of this as a niche category, think again. Hijab, scarves, head-to-toe swimwear, are just some of the products from this category. Take note that modesty and comfort without compromising aesthetics and style is the way to go.
If you thought the furniture was something people like to buy offline instead of online, you might be mistaken. Furniture (factory-made or DIYs) is a timeless category of popular products to sell online.
So, what sells best in furniture? Here are some best hits that have made the leaderboard across all Southeast Asian countries:
Southeast Asia is blessed with tropical forests. These forests provide a huge amount of timber which is used for the wooden craft by native people of these lands. Malay-styled engraved panels; keris dagger handles, Orang Asli sculptures, twisted walking sticks, kitchen utensils, and carved scented woods are some of the antiques used for decoration. They can be sold worldwide for their exotic definition of every minute detail. Products from this category are unique and require a meticulous approach when it comes to managing the listing. So, if you are planning to sell woodcrafts, make sure you have an exceptional catalogue management system in place.
2. Home and Office Furniture
As shoppers started spending more time at home, they started looking to spruce up their living spaces. They wanted to indulge in online shopping without leaving the comforts of their homes but also wished to maintain the sanctity of their work.
Ergonomic chairs, desks, and home furniture therefore quickly became one of the trending searches on popular marketplaces like Lazada, Shopee, Matahari mall, etc.
Although people have switched to modern techniques of pursuing lifestyle, there is still a good taste of design and decoration with pottery. Some of the major ones are:
4. Branded Plastic Bags
Yes, you read that right! The best thing about the eCommerce market of Southeast Asia is that you can sell anything and almost everything at your web store. A popular or high-end, plastic or paper bag is the new trend for those who desire to hold a branded bag when they walk around the market but do not have the cha-ching to buy one. You will be surprised to know that depending on the quality of the bag you can sell each piece for more than RM10.
A study conducted by Neilsen (3) states that almost 10% of Southeast Asia households have children aged 0-2 years, which means they are changing their lifestyle to raise kids.
Naturally, convenience becomes their top priority and online shopping is a good place for it; offering extendable shopping hours and a larger product assortment.
According to a report released by Inkwood (4), Southeast Asia holds a 30.45% market share in this category. Although these products were bought in hypermarkets/supermarkets earlier, internet retailing is playing a huge role in becoming a prompt distribution network for them
It is interesting to see that the most popular product sold on Lazada is Diapers. In one of the surveys, the number of diapers sold on Lazada every month, accounts for up to 5% of the total diapers sold in South East Asia. Maybe the complexity of being homebound while taking care of a child makes it more convenient to buy diapers online, that too with some attractive discount offers.
With rapid urbanization, greater access to high-speed internet, and increasing purchasing power, the largest buying group in Southeast Asia belongs to households having kids. So, it’s easy to see why baby product listings regularly top online sales records. Major shopping events like 9.9, 12.12 Shopping Festival see the continued popularity of toys like Lego or Education-based preschool toys.
3. Baby Food
New parents often seek out reliable products, read user reviews, follow trends and get what’s best for their children. Nielsen’s research report (3) states that almost 17% of consumers in Southeast Asia frequently browse for baby food and purchase it then and there. The importance of health and nutrition is one of the common reasons that drive consumers to look for baby food online.
Daily essentials such as staple groceries, hygiene, and sanitization products are a massive category that was relatively underpenetrated due to logistics and other reasons. But the sector grew nearly three times during the outbreak in Southeast Asia. The packaged food industry directly saw a surge in demand along with sanitizers, and home disinfectant solutions from this category.
Euromonitor’s (5) lifestyle survey in February 2020 shows that groceries were the most purchased category online, from consumers buying regularly online (around four to seven activities per week) to less active digital consumers.
While eCommerce in Southeast Asia has been thriving, consumer electronics has become one of the prime product categories amongst online shopping. This is even more so when you take into consideration the fact that it’s one of the main reasons that has favoured digital consumerism.
Let’s find out which are the top-selling products from this category:
1. Mobile Phones and accessories
The rising rate of smartphone adoption has resulted in almost 90% of the Southeast Asian population being online. So, it isn’t surprising that the sale of mobiles is always high up through all the marketplaces. In September 2020 also, mobile phone and tablet sales soared high up to 90% as compared to the previous year. Singapore tops in mobile phone sales while Indonesia and Malaysia added mobile gadgets such as earphones, Bluetooth speakers, etc. to the best-selling list.
2. Laptops and Home Office Electronics
The rise of ‘work-from-home’ during the pandemic likely helped the laptop sales have significant sales upticks in 2020, with September sales increased 100% over 2019. Apart from laptops, other product groups that interestingly did well were cameras, recording equipment, microphones, Bluetooth speakers, etc. Probably because of the surge in live streaming activities, social media and blogging experiments, or zoom calls.
3. Game Consoles
Having its home base in Singapore, in recent years, Lazada claims to have made game consoles one of the primary products to be sold from the electronics category. Game consoles such as the PS4 and XBOX One (and their accompanying games) have seen higher sales alongside Kindles and other tablets.
4. USB drives & Power Banks
Last but not the least, power banks and USB drives top the chart of best-selling items in Southeast Asia via web stores. As with the growing technology, the need to stay connected to the world grows, the use of portable electronic devices also increases. Hence, selling USB drives and power banks can be great products to choose when you think about starting your web store.
The goal of eCommerce selling is indeed attainable if you figure out the right products. To have an even better understanding of the product behaviour and consumer demand, try checking your order insights from across all your sales channels.
Now that you know the trending online products, you are one step closer to becoming a successful seller on top Southeast Asian eCommerce platforms. So, what are you waiting for?
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