Southeast Asia is experiencing a financial transformation driven by digital payments, according to a new IDC report commissioned by global payments platform 2C2P. Powered by changing consumer and retail trends and more inclusive payment options, e-commerce spending will rise by 162% to reach $179.8 billion by 2025 across the region, with digital payments accounting for 91% of transactions.
The IDC InfoBrief, “How Southeast Asia Buys and Pays: Driving New Business Value for Merchants”, unravels the complexities of the fragmented Southeast Asia payments ecosystem to help businesses make more informed decisions and grasp opportunities. It tracks emerging trends such as mobile wallets, domestic payments (real-time and online banking options), and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) alongside traditional options like cards and cash. The report estimates the changing market share of payment options between
2019 and 2025 across six markets to help businesses strategise scaling across borders.
“There is an opportunity to ride on the growth of digital payments and provide secure and reliable financial services to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers in the region. Digital payments are no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have, and a key part of every company’s business strategy,” said Aung Kyaw Moe, founder and CEO of 2C2P. “The ability of businesses to optimise their payment capabilities and operations according to geographical reach will also determine how they stay competitive, agile, and successful
across the region.”
Changing consumer and retail trends have propelled the rapid growth of Southeast Asia’s digital economy, with over 400 million e-commerce users expected in 2025. This has resulted in increased competition and collaboration by the public and private sectors to offer the payments infrastructure businesses require to reach these users. Major gainers appear to be mobile wallets, domestic payments and BNPL.
“Southeast Asia’s payment landscape is incredibly fragmented, and payment systems and their adoption, as well as regulations, can vary from market to market. To help businesses understand and navigate the region’s complexities, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the region’s payments landscape featuring regional and local payment insights,” said Michael Araneta, Associate Vice President, Head of Research and Consulting, IDC Financial Insights Asia-Pacific. “We hope that the report’s findings will refine businesses’ strategy to ride the digital wave and ultimately unlock Southeast Asia’s $276 billion digital economies.
Key highlights of the report
- Southeast Asia’s e-commerce growth is staggering: The e-commerce market will become far more accessible with 188.6 million new e-commerce users in 2025.
- The largest markets for e-commerce payments are forecast to be Indonesia ($83 bln), Vietnam ($29 bln) and Thailand ($24 bln).
- Shifting the balance of payments: With the entry of new e-commerce consumers, a broader range of payment services are required. Digital payments are expected to account for 91% of total e-commerce spending by 2025, up from 80% in 2020.
- The Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand are projected to have noteworthy shifts with declining cash usage and increasing digital payments usage by 2025.
- Payment options that better serve locals: Local payment options like mobile wallets are preferred for ease and convenience across Southeast Asia. From 2020 to 2025, mobile wallets and BNPL in the region are expected to grow 30% and 58%, respectively. Indonesia, alone, is predicted to welcome over 100 million new
mobile wallet users by 2025.
- Differing interfaces and options require versatility and agility: As e-commerce growth takes off, the range of interfaces multiplies – from online, merchant stores, marketplaces, and social commerce platforms. Businesses must be able to optimise front-end and back-end operations to capture user ease and mindshare.