Live commerce has grown exponentially in China since 2018 – at a CAGR of more than 146% – and top hosts/influencers are clocking in hundreds of millions of dollars in income!

Platforms in Southeast Asia, including TikTok, Shopee, Lazada, etc. have gone into enabling or actively promoting live commerce. 

We have been receiving a lot of questions from investors and community members if the success in China can be replicated (or adapted) in Southeast Asia? Is there a future? How does the ecosystem differ from that of China? What are the challenges platforms, multichannel networks (MCNs) and hosts, as well as suppliers face? 

We analyzed the logic and hope to give you a clearer overview of the live commerce industry in Southeast Asia through our report “Live commerce report in Southeast Asia”, which was released today. You can download the report here.

Here is a sneak peek into the report: 

#1  Live commerce GMV in China is twice the total ecommerce GMV in Southeast Asia

Live Commerce GMV

In 2021, the GMV of live commerce in China was US$314 billion, which was twice that of the total GMV for ecommerce in Southeast Asia, but this constituted just 10% of the total ecommerce GMV in China

Live commerce in China grew by 90% in 2021, and this is despite the regulatory actions. This growth is proof that consumers in China are accustomed to this new form of shopping experience. 

 #2 Platforms are an important driver in the live commerce ecosystem

Platforms in live commerce

Platforms (TikTok, Shopee, Taobao, etc.) are important in live commerce as they help consumers discover products, have integrated payment solutions and offer logistics solutions to enable an efficient ecosystem and enhanced customer experience through live commerce.

#3 Tabao vs. Douyin

Taobao vs Douyin

Though they are both leading live commerce platforms in China, there are a lot of differences – Taobao focuses on KOLs while Douyin’s algorithm is more decentralized. The goods that are promoted on these platforms also differ – Taobao focuses on branded goods while Douyin is used as a medium by brands to gain more followers.

#4 In comparison with China, Southeast Asia has a new component – enablers

live commerce ecosystem Southeast Asia

The live commerce ecosystem in Southeast Asia has evolved quite differently from China. Facebook is still a dominant social media platform in the region with many hosts and influencers selling on the platform. However, Facebook is not focused on creating a closed-loop ecosystem for its live commerce function.

Since Facebook is focused on advertising instead of commerce, enablers fulfil the gap and help merchants develop live commerce in the region.

#5 Different countries are in different stages of live commerce development 

live commerce development in southeast asia

The idea of live commerce has taken off in Singapore and Malaysia because existing infrastructure allows sellers to use live commerce on top of their traditional ecommerce.

In Indonesia, multiple ecommerce platforms are building live commerce, but with fierce competition among large ecommerce platforms, live commerce may not be their priority.

Future outlook

It is unlikely that Southeast Asia will follow China’s exact trajectory of explosive growth in live commerce. However, we expect the region’s live commerce ecosystem to leverage China’s capital, experience and talent, just as the ecommerce ecosystem did. 

To know more about live commerce in Southeast Asia and understand the ecosystem and key players, download a copy of our ‘Live Commerce in Southeast Asia’ report here.

We will also be hosting an event ‘Unveiling Live Commerce in Southeast Asia’, where Momentum Works colleagues will walk you through the report, as well as some of the observations we have about the market. It’s happening this Friday, 22 April, between 3-4pm SGT. RSVP now – 

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].