Users in Southeast Asia are making more and more purchases online. A report by found that e-commerce payments in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore could sustain double-digit increases in the years to come. Singapore is currently in the forefront in terms of sales; however, the report predicts that increasing Internet availability in Indonesia could lead it to overtake the current No. 1.

A growing number of online consumers

In fact, most nations in the Southeast Asia region are experiencing a rapid expansion of Internet access and usage. This month, Tech In Asia released a report on the area's growing digital landscape. This study included the nations above and added Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Timor-Leste; ultimately, it found that the area's Internet usage was increasing 15 percent each year. Of the world's 3.2 billion Internet users, 252.4 million came from Southeast Asia as of November. This number is up 12 percent since March (though that could be due to clearer reports of existing users). Over half of the nations surveyed had a greater percentage of online users compared to their total population than the world average of 44 percent. However, when viewed as a whole, lackluster Internet usage in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste brought the regional average down to 40 percent. Still, the numbers are encouraging.

Tech In Asia believes that this rise in online activity comes from the availability of mobile devices and faster Internet speeds. This increase in access brings an increase in online payments as more consumers shop on the Web. Mobile shopping is gaining popularity in Thailand, and though the e-commerce market there is still small, it holds a lot of potential.  Many of these shoppers are spending money outside of their countries. The report stated that over a third of Malaysia's online purchases came from beyond the nation.

Focus on southeast

TechCrunch made the bold claim that businesses looking to expand into Asia should ignore China and focus their efforts on the southeast. China has a huge e-commerce market that is currently dominated by Chinese-owned businesses, notably Alibaba. Meanwhile, Southeast Asia has a number of e-commerce players, and none of them have taken the lead. If an international company is able to tap into Southeast Asia's increasing interest in cross-border shopping it could strike gold.

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