Insights into the growth of the Asian eCommerce market with payment methods, online shopper profiles, digital advertising, logistics and economy

Insights into the growth of the Asian eCommerce market with payment methods, online shopper profiles, digital advertising, logistics and economy all profiled



Asia is home to 3.5 billion people, GDP per capita is currently 6,799 USD and expected to reach 8,897 USD by 2021. There are a number of attractive eCommerce markets within Europe: From the obvious opportunities like China and India, to less obvious opportunities like Malaysia and the Philippines.

Digital User Insights

There are currently 993 million people shopping online in Asia, with 454 million new users expected to shop online by 2021. There will be a total of 1.4 billion eCommerce users by 2021, this will represent 53% of the total population.

Asia eCommerce Insights Number of Users in Millions

Additionally, online shoppers are expected to spend more over time. The average user currently spends 622 USD online, which will grow to 738 USD by 2021.

Asia eCommerce Insights Average Revenue Per User in USD

Product Categories

Total ecommerce revenue across all product categories is 617 billion USD, expected to surpass 1 trillion USD by 2021. Fashion is currently the leading product category accounting for 201 billion USD market share. Electronics is the second leading product category accounting for 137 billion USD. Toys, Hobby & DIY is the third leading product category accounting for 130 billion USD

By 2021, Fashion will continue to lead the charge, valued at 357 billion USD. Toys, Hobby & DIY will move in to second place reaching 221 billion USD. Electronics will take third place accounting for 220 billion USD. 

Asia eCommerce Insights Revenue Per Year by Market Segment


The World Bank rates Asian logistics as average, with the region scoring 3.04 in the 2016 LPI index. However, this figure takes the entire region into consideration, and there are parts of Asia which are much less developed than others. Individually many of Asia’s countries are ranked among the best in the world for logistics, with Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan all populating the World Bank’s top thirty LPI ranking.

Preferred Online Payments

57% of Asian online shoppers selected credit card among their preferred online payment options. 37% of shoppers said they used a digital payment wallet such as Alipay or PayPal.  Cash on Delivery (COD) was preferred by 34% of online shoppers, but the focus on this will vary from country to country, often developing markets are keen on this payment methods as shoppers are still cautious about shopping online. Brands may want to implement COD to build trust in these countries.

Asia eCommerce Insights Preferred Online Payment Methods

Internet and Device Usage

Internet penetration in Asia is currently at 48%, and should reach 59% by 2021. Smartphone penetration is 35% and is projected to grow to 44% by 2021.  These numbers might seem daunting, but Asia is a massive region and a lot of the opportunity for eCommerce growth lies in densely populated markets where the smartphone penetration often outstrips the rest of the world. Asia is not only home to countries like South Korea with the leading internet penetration in the world, but also less developed markets like the Philippines which is often referred to as “The Selfie Taking Capital of the World.”

48% of online shoppers in Asia prefer to shop online via desktop, which is lower than the global average. 19% of online shoppers use mobile and 25% claim to have no preference. It’s clear that mobile and social apps play a massive role in the growth of eCommerce in the Asia region.

Asia eCommerce Insights Devices Preferred for Online Shopping


Advertising Spend in Asia is expected to grow steeply in the coming years and should bypass 275 billion USD in 2020. Digital advertising continues to show strong growth reaching 57 billion USD in  2017, and is expected to reach 62 billion USD by 2018.

Asia eCommerce Insights advertising spend in asia

Social Media

66% of Asians currently use Social Media, showing impressive growth from just 55% in 2012. Chat apps are popular across the region, with each country boasting its own preferred network: the Japanese use LINE, South Koreans use Kakaotalk and the Chinese prefer WeChat. Facebook is also a popular network across many of the other markets such as India, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.

Asia eCommerce Insights Social Network Penetration Growth

To find out more about Asian eCommerce, check out our eCommerce insights into some of the key Asian markets: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

For more market insights, check out the eShopWorld series of blogs covering a range of emerging eCommerce markets. 

*Insights derived from eShopWorld data, Statista, WorldBank, OECD and other industry sources.