Whats Next In eCommerce: 6 Trends Shaping The Future

According to a survey commissioned by delivery giant FedEx Express indicates that both Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and consumers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region (AMEA) agree that there’s room for further growth in the already booming e-commerce sector.

In Malaysia, nearly 90% of SMEs acknowledge the increased importance of e-commerce to their business over the past 3 years while 89% of SMEs believe it will continue to become even more important in the future.

The survey polled SMEs and consumers in 11 markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region (AMEA) in July 2022 to explore the continuing evolution of e-commerce in the region and identify the trends that could fuel their future growth.

It also reveals that consumers in AMEA are looking for innovations in personalization, shoppertainment and payment options that enhance their experience and at the same time, make it easier to discover new brands and make purchasing convenient. And with plenty of shopping festivals already on the calendar, consumers are looking for even more seasonal offers. Taken together, the research shows there is plenty of fertile ground for e-tailers to experiment with new approaches that can help build their customer base.

Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa said “With more people shopping online consumer preferences are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As SMEs and e-merchants evolve their online sales platforms, our research uncovers opportunities for businesses to capitalize on what consumers want.”

E-commerce sector matures but further growth ahead

Asia Pacific which includes the world’s biggest e-commerce markets like India, Mainland China, Japan, and Korea, will see revenue from e-commerce sales reach US$2.09 trillion this year as 57% of the region’s population shops online.

Eight in ten SMEs in AMEA believe e-commerce will become more important in their business in the next three years and nine in ten believe they are well prepared for the challenge. 80% of consumers reported that e-commerce had taken a greater share of their total purchases over the past three years while 71% see further increases ahead.

Of the 11 markets in the Asia Pacific, SMEs in India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam were among the most optimistic about their future e-commerce growth in the next three years, a sentiment shared by consumers in these same markets. Looking ahead, for Malaysian SMEs, China is seen as the key market, within AMEA, that Malaysian SMEs will target for export growth, followed by India and Japan.

Expectation mismatch on service experience touchpoints

In Malaysia, the survey data reveals that the biggest pain point in service gaps is that deliveries are taking too long, which is cited by 71% of consumers within the study, as the majority (79%) of online orders typically take 3 days. The second pain point cited by consumers in Malaysia is having to return products (42%), followed by the difficulty in finding products online (33%) as the third pain point.

The service experience mismatch varies widely across the 11 Asia Pacific markets ranging, with Malaysia seeing the widest gap, followed by the Philippines and Singapore.

Too few experienced people for too many jobs

While the future looks bright, 65% of e-tailers in AMEA reported they were struggling to handle the growing number of orders they were receiving. Amid surging demand talent and recruitment has proven challenging for SMEs. A further 73% had experienced extremely high levels of resignations over the past 12 months as the global Great Resignation phenomenon has impacted the AMEA region. 62% believed there were too few people for too many jobs with e-commerce marketing and sales experience being most in demand. SMEs are adopting a dual approach in response, recruiting talent from outside their business and upskilling current staff through training to meet demand in a tight employment market.

Logistics providers are here to support

“E-commerce is gaining more importance in people’s lives, as consumer needs continue to evolve. We are well positioned to support businesses taking advantage of the future growth of e-commerce in Malaysia, with a dual focus on meeting the needs of e-tailers and their end consumers. For e-tailers, they provide simple, streamlined solutions which make order fulfillment easier. While for the end-consumer the priority is to provide speedy, reliable, trackable delivery, that enhances overall service experience,” said SC Chong, Managing Director of Operations, FedEx Express Malaysia.

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