ASEAN still lags when it comes to the e-commerce market with the six major ASEAN economies collectively accounting for less than one percent of global online retail, a report by A.T. Kearney and CIMB ASEAN Research Institute says.

Fewer than one in six people from major ASEAN economies shop online, which is an indication that e-commerce in the region is still in its infancy stages, according to a joint report made by a consulting firm and a research organization.

The report "Lifting the Barriers to E-Commerce in Asean" by A.T. Kearney and CIMB ASEAN Research Institute said ASEAN still lags when it comes to the e-commerce market. The six major ASEAN economies collectively account for less than one percent of global online retail.

The report provides an overview of retail e-commerce across the six major ASEAN economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam along with proposals to lift the barriers to unlock the region's full potential.

According to the report, the retail e-commerce market offers the region an opportunity for cross-border trading, particularly with the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community.

"E-commerce remains relatively underdeveloped in Southeast Asia, accounting for less than 1 percent of total retail sales, compared to rates of six to eight percent in Europe, China, and the United States," said the report.

On the other hand, the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, China and Japan combined accounts for 76 percent of global retail e-commerce.

With the exception of Singapore, of which online retail comprises four to five percent of retail sales, online retail in five other ASEAN economies accounted for only one percent of retail sales.

But as the region's growth is expected to boost purchasing power, improved internet penetration and varied online retail options, the online retail market in ASEAN could grow as much as 25 percent annually.

Annual gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is expected to grow at 6.2 percent and this level of growth should create a young middle class that is more prone to shopping online. This will also be supported by increased access to the Internet.

"As mobile broadband spreads, consumers may shop online more and thus we can expect that channel to play a significant role in future e-commerce growth," the report said.

The report said banks and telcos are developing innovative payment methods to make it easier for consumers to pay with their smartphones.

Source: China Post