Could Free Shipping Be the Key to Higher Customer Retention?

Originally published on, 16th December 2021.

Just like many other regions in the world, Southeast Asia’s e-commerce growth took off at an accelerated pace in 2020. Since the pandemic onset, around 70 million additional people have shopped online across countries in Southeast Asia. The number is expected to grow five times in the next five years.

With such amazing growth, there is a huge opportunity for e-commerce brands that are looking to enter the Southeast Asian market. As with expanding into any new market, it is important for retailers to first understand the shopping behavior and preferences of consumers in that market. So, which factors have the most influence on Southeast Asian consumers’ purchasing decisions?

Read on for the findings of our latest research in partnership with Parcel Monitor !

More Than Half of Indonesian Shoppers Expect Below 4 Days Delivery Time Even with Free Shipping

55% of shoppers in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, Indonesia, consider up to four days to be the acceptable waiting time to receive their free shipping orders. Despite these high expectations from Indonesian shoppers, Indonesia seems to be handling these demands pretty well. In the first quarter of 2021, the country had an average of 1.9 days parcel delivery time.

Moreover, the outlook of Indonesia’s e-commerce market looks very promising, with revenue projected to reach US$53,808m in 2021. Its e-commerce industry is largely dominated by e-commerce marketplaces such as Tokopedia and Shopee.

Malaysian Shoppers Are the Most Price Sensitive

There is ample research proving that product price plays a major role in the decision-making process of shoppers. However, it seems that the effect is even stronger amongst Malaysian consumers. A whopping 85% of them indicated price as one of the top factors that affects their decision to purchase online while 81% also said it affects their likelihood of repeat purchases.

This could be due to the fact that the pandemic has adversely affected Malaysia’s economy, thus causing a sky-high unemployment rate — the highest in a decade. This unfortunate combination of circumstances may have hence pushed many Malaysian consumers to become even more price-sensitive than before.

Thai Shoppers Value Customer Service More than Its SEA Counterparts

With all things moving online, it is more important than ever for e-commerce businesses to provide good customer service. In Thailand, for instance, 60% of consumers consider customer service as the top factor that would motivate them to make repeated purchases.

Singapore is the Least Likely to Increase Basket Size to Qualify for Free Shipping

On average, 59% of shoppers are likely to increase their Average Order Value in order to get free shipping. However, only 19% of Singaporean shoppers indicated that they would do the same; of which 51% of them expressed that they may consider increasing their basket size depending on the minimum amount.

In 2020, the average e-commerce basket size in Singapore was US$62. Although Singaporean shoppers are the least likely to increase basket size to get free shipping, through analyzing consumer purchasing habits, retailers can experiment on a suitable minimum amount based on customers’ average basket size.

Every Consumer is Unique

We hope you have found this guide useful in understanding the preferences of online shoppers in the SEA market! Nevertheless, it is still good practice for retailers to conduct market research to understand the intricacies of each market, demographic, and industry.

Click here to download Parcel Monitor’s full report powered by Rakuten Insight data

The survey was conducted in October 2021, with 49,991 respondents from Rakuten Insight proprietary panels in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Read the full article here.

Related articles: Free Shipping on consumers purchasing decisions, The e-commerce logistics race South East Asia, What do consumers really think about collection points?

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