In SE Asia, e-commerce is largely going to be mobile, Criteo says

Southeast Asia is ahead of the mobile curve, driven by the region’s emerging markets. — DNA pix
Southeast Asia is ahead of the mobile curve, driven by the region’s emerging markets. — DNA pix

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — Many people in the emerging markets of South-east Asia are getting their first taste of the Internet through their mobile devices, so no surprise: Mobile is going to dominate the region’s e-commerce landscape too.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, the global average of transactions on mobile was 35 per cent; in South-east Asia it was 38.5 per cent, according to Criteo’s South-east Asia managing director Yuko Saito.

The Paris-based digital advertising company publishes a quarterly State of Mobile Commerce Report with data from over 10,000 advertisers.

South-east Asia is ahead of the mobile curve, driven by the region’s emerging markets.

“Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are mobile-first; the penetration of the Internet population is still pretty low,” Saito told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.

“There is a huge opportunity to grow further, and every month there are lots of people coming online — but they are not coming online with a desktop… these markets are switching to smartphones,” she added.

Apps leading the charge

The app is the main platform for mobile-commerce, according to Criteo’s findings: 48 per cent of mobile transactions take place through an app; 39 per cent through mobile browsers on smartphones and only 13 per cent on tablets.

The app is winning the race because it has the best user experience, argued Saito. Globally, the conversion from viewing to actual purchase is much higher on an app.

“What’s really interesting is that the average value per order has now surpassed the desktop, which is a big leap because nine months ago this would not been the case,” she said.

Mobile browsers see an average order value of US$92 (RM370.30), while it is US$100 for desktops and US$102 for apps.

“When apps were still relatively new, people felt more comfortable buying high order value stuff on the desktop, while mobile was for lower-order value stuff,” said Saito.

“As users started to get used to conducting transactions on apps, and as they found out how user-friendly it can be, we saw the average order value surpass the desktop.

“We see this as pretty key, and this trend will continue,” she added.

Cross-device transactions are also going up, even in emerging markets. About 50 per cent of users, when they purchase, will go through different devices or browsers.

Globally, tablets (47 per cent) lead the way as the final device for booking, with smartphones a close second at 43 per cent and desktops the last at 39 per cent.

However in South-east Asia, where tablets are not as common, the smartphone percentage is higher, according to Saito, although she gave no specific figure.

Trends to build success

Criteo’s Southeast Asia managing director Yuko Saito.
Criteo’s Southeast Asia managing director Yuko Saito.
So what do companies need to do? There are some essential areas to take note of, with the first being cross-device use.

“Cross-device is essential – you need to have a user-centric approach to marketing and distribution,” said Saito.

Then there are the user interface and app setup issues. 

“Particularly for apps, you have to remember the user experience has to be good — because it’s a smaller screen, any bad user experience will be amplified.

“Monetisation tactics, deep linking, feed optimisation, SDK (software development kit) analytics — these are very crucial,” she added.

In-app retargeting is also one trend to take note of, in an age of app overload.

“Today, most advertisers focus on number of installs, but it’s going to be more important to focus on bringing users back — we already know that after three days of downloading an app, it becomes inactive or is deleted,” said Saito.

“In-app retargeting is important to bring users back,” she added.

Finally, there is the need for an indepth personalisation strategy, where the connection is with people and not devices. — Digital News Asia

* This artcile was first published here

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