The digital commerce space is booming like never before, and according to a recent report from Accenture, it’s only going to get bigger. The report reveals that a staggering one billion new shoppers are set to enter the arena, transforming the way we buy and sell goods and services. Living in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines, these digital consumers are between the ages of 6 and 26 and represent 36 per cent of the aforementioned
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tioned countries’ populations. With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the shift towards online shopping, businesses must embrace digital transformation to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving marketplace. In this article, we’ll explore the implications of this report and what it means for businesses looking to thrive in the digital age. Things are looking up “We expect to see an expansion of the middle class and an associated increase in disposable income across Asia over the next five years. E-commerce sales in Asia are expected to nearly double between 2021 and 2025,” Simone Morandi, growth markets commerce lead at Accenture Song, the company’s digital agency, told Inside Retail. Morandi said the emergence of these digitally savvy consumers presents many untapped opportunities and is just the beginning of never-ending consumer change as digital commerce becomes ubiquitous. “Brands must reinvent their business model to embrace continual change by being digital-first, rewiring for agility and having the performance and scale to cut through complexities and across channels,” he added. Key trends According to the report, there are four core digital shopper archetypes spanning three generations – Gen Alpha, Gen Z and Millennials – and they are already spending significant time online when discovering, considering and making a purchase. Digital native purchasers are mostly Gen Zers and older Gen Alphas who will be between 15 and 34 years old in 10 years. Eighty-three per cent of them already shop online today, and customer experience matters a lot to them. Digital native content creators are the same age as digital native purchasers but currently do not make online purchases. Digital savvy millennials will be 35 to 44 years old in 10 years. They are not digital natives but have gained digital intelligence over time through the frequent use of digital services. Since 2018, the number of Millennials who mostly or always shopped online has nearly tripled and their use of social media has almost doubled. Digital alpha influencers are younger Gen Alphas and will be younger than 15 years old in 10 years. Although they will still be too young to be active digital buyers, they hold sway over their parents’ purchases, with 83 per cent of parents saying that their kids influence what they buy. Challenges remain According to Morandi, the challenges to serving these high-potential digital consumers can range from basic operational difficulties to consumer expectations rising faster than companies can manage. He went on to say that creating consumer awareness about a product or service can be challenging. Companies typically turn to billboard advertising or flyer distribution to get consumers’ attention and have not been able to market to targeted groups of consumers. “Some solutions include crowdsourcing delivery and quick-commerce services to facilitate fulfilment and reduce shipping costs while offering consumers greater flexibility,” he opined. In his opinion, to successfully enter and thrive in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and the Philippines, brands must meet consumers in the moment – whether they are searching for products, information, or simply wanting to make a purchase. “Companies need to maximise the value of their intentions across consumer segments, countries and channels, structure their capabilities with shared services and utilise technology such as automation, new technology and AI to scale,” he stated. The future is bright According to Morandi, commerce in Asia Pacific is experiencing a growth spurt, backed by booming social commerce and a changing multi-generational landscape. By 2030, seniors in Asia are expected to spend over $5 trillion each year. These seniors will likely leverage technology such as AI shopping assistants to make purchases. Meanwhile, the young generation of savvy digital natives will be spending more in their preferred arenas, fuelling growth in segments like gaming. Closer to home, Southeast Asia’s GDP growth is expected to outpace almost all other regions at 4.7 per cent in 2023. A fast-growing consumer market with a projected GDP of over $4 trillion by 2025, Southeast Asia’s robust growth is driven by healthy domestic consumption, strong fiscal support for economic development, and an inflow of investments from East Asia and other regions. “For that, we expect to see continued investment in this region as growth and connectivity get a boost, fuelling demand for exports and the rise of commerce,” he concluded.