E-commerce can allow SMEs to tap new markets

By Michael Wan, Bradford Loh and Brian Tan

With the global economy still in recovery mode, it’s more important than ever before to help SMEs in our region expand efficiently, discover new markets, and diversify their customer base.

Our previous articles highlighted how e-commerce can do just that, allowing homemakers, students, and even full-time employees to discover their entrepreneurial spirit by providing them access to new and alternative sources of income while supporting their livelihoods in the process (more info here and here).

In this article, we take our analysis one step…

By Michael Wan, Bradford Loh, and Brian Tan

While COVID-19 has accelerated many of the transformations that were already happening, it has also sharpened the divide between different groups.

One such fault-line is the digital divide.

We examine this issue in detail in this article, and flesh it out using existing research, together with results from our annual youth survey with the World Economic Forum.

The digital divide is not just about physical access

When mentioning the digital divide, what typically comes to most people’s minds is access to a smartphone and internet.

However, the issue of the digital divide is more complex and extends beyond just the binary…

Turning crisis into opportunity

By SeaInsights

Our recent survey of 2,000 Singapore youths and 68,000 young people in ASEAN illustrates some of the seismic transformations which are starting to take shape in Singapore and beyond.

See our full report for more details (link here)

We highlight three key findings from our report (also summarised in our infographic attached below).

First, Singapore youths adapted to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 by significantly raising their adoption of digital tools during the pandemic.

Second, with digitalisation as the key enabler, COVID-19 has reshuffled the decks, while catalysing significant and lasting changes, across businesses, workers, students, and consumers.

Third, COVID-19 has also exposed vulnerable segments in Singapore’s society, in particular among students, educators, and those in the gig economy and food and accommodation sectors.

Survey of 7,000 sellers on Shopee Thailand, the largest in-depth report on e-commerce in Thailand

New research from the Sea Insights team illustrates how e-commerce can be a pathway to inclusive growth for three underserved groups in Thailand: 1) the traditional SMEs with offline businesses, 2) sellers outside Bangkok, and 3) the hidden entrepreneurs with untapped potential such as homemakers and students.

We surveyed close to 7,000 merchants on Shopee Thailand — conducting one of the largest surveys of e-commerce sellers in Thailand, and analysing how household income, sales, employment and customer locations changed post e-commerce adoption.

See link here for the full report

We drew 3 key conclusions from our research:

1. E-commerce adoption lifts revenue, productivity, and employment

Traditional SMEs with…

Each year, the World Economic Forum runs one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of ASEAN youths in partnership with Sea, the parent company of Garena and Shopee.

Last year’s survey found that young people in our region are highly optimistic about the impact of technology on their job prospects. It also found that entrepreneurial spirit is very strong in this region, with 1 in 4 youths aspiring to work for themselves.

This year’s survey focused on the future of jobs and skills in ASEAN, collecting responses from 56,000 young ASEAN citizens surveyed through our Shopee and Garena platforms.

Sea’s Research and Public Policy team has just published a new report, Youthpreneurs in Indonesia, which examines this question. It draws on data from a survey of close to 14,000 young people in Indonesia aged 18–35. This was part of a region-wide survey of 64,000 young people around ASEAN conducted via Sea’s digital platforms in 2018, in conjunction with the World Economic Forum. One of the key takeaways is that young Indonesians are entrepreneurial and that they would benefit from greater use of technology to overcome some of the common challenges of running own businesses.

See links below for the…

The line between offline channels and e-tailers are getting blurred.

By Santitarn Sathirathai

First published 30 Jan 2019


With the new year settling in, it is time for us look back at 2018 and understand what might come in 2019. Using the past month to let some of these themes take shape, I’m sharing what we might expect to see for this hugely exciting industry, in an equally thrilling and promising region.

E-commerce in Southeast Asia — a global growth bright spot

Broad-based economic growth may become a scarcer commodity in 2019, owing to near term macro factors such as global trade tensions and rising interest rate environment. But…

A follow-up deep dive study on Thailand following the WEF-Sea ASEAN Youth Survey reveals that youths in Thailand have the strongest entrepreneurial spirit among ASEAN countries.

The ASEAN-wide report was published in September 2018 and generated widespread interest, particularly among business leaders and policymakers. A follow-up deep dive study on Thailand was then conducted, where approximately 10,000 youths participated in the survey.

The study revealed 4 key findings:

  1. Thais have the strongest entrepreneurial spirit in ASEAN.
  • Youths in Thailand are 13% more likely to aspire becoming entrepreneurs than their fellow ASEAN peers, demonstrating their desire and ambition.

A new survey of ASEAN youth, conducted by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Sea, has found that young people in the region are highly optimistic about the impact of technology on their job prospects and incomes.

The survey, gathered responses from 64,000 ASEAN citizens through users of Garena and Shopee, Sea’s online games and e-commerce platforms respectively. The majority of respondents came from six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Singapore and the Philippines.

To read more about the 2018 WEF Youth Survey, click here, and to download the full report, click here.

Key findings from the report…

Bain Unveils New Research Highlighting the Trillion-Dollar Potential of ASEAN’s Digital Economy

New research by Bain & Company, “Advancing Towards ASEAN Digital Integration”, outlines how harnessing the collective power of the region’s digital economies could accelerate intra-regional trade and growth (digital integration) and stimulate a GDP uplift of US$1 trillion across ASEAN by 2025.

Sea is pleased to be involved as a technical advisor for this study, which surveyed over 2,300 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across all 10 ASEAN member states.

To read more about Bain’s findings and download the full report, please click here.

Key findings from the…

Michael Wan

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