The E-Commerce Logistics Race Southeast Asia: Which Country Performed Better in Q1 2021?

E-Commerce Logistics Race Q1 2021 - Southease Asia

(Click here to view the HD version of the infographic)

This week, we return with more insights on the e-commerce logistics race in Southeast Asia where we will be focusing on Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore

Southeast Asia has a booming e-commerce market. In 2020, the region’s e-commerce grew by 35.2%, adding 40 million new Internet users in 2020 resulting in over 70% of the region’s population browsing the Internet. The region’s e-commerce growth also shows no signs of slowing with a forecasted growth of 14.3% this year.

With such a vibrant e-commerce landscape, how have Southeast Asian countries matched up to each other when it comes to e-commerce logistics? 

Which country do you think had faster delivery times? Do you know which country’s shoppers made use of collection points the most? Read on to find out! 

Transit Times Q1 2021: Singapore had the fastest delivery time in the region, while Malaysia had the longest

On the lower end, Singapore and Thailand had transit times of 1.3 and 1.7 days respectively, while Indonesia and Malaysia saw transit times stretching to 2.0 and 2.6 days respectively in Q1 2021. 

Singapore’s top transit time performance in Q1 2021 was likely due to the more controlled COVID-19 situation, with the country entering a new phase of re-opening in December 2020. The country’s Q1 performance this year matched their pre-COVID delivery time of a 1.3 day average in 2019.

Malaysia had the longest delivery time in the region, with their Q1 2021 performance a slight uptick from its H2 2020 transit time of 2.4 days. This was likely attributed to the movement control orders imposed to combat the rising COVID cases early this year.

All countries saw at least a 20% growth in parcel volume during peak season with Indonesia topping the region at a 55% spike

(Note: Peak season for each country varies)

Peak season in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore: Ramadan 2021

For Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, we used the major shopping holiday of Ramadan in 2021 for our peak season analysis, which saw many Muslim shoppers preparing for Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan

During this period, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia saw a 35%, 23% and 55% growth in parcel volume respectively.

Reasons for the growth in parcel volume is due to the more robust e-commerce ecosystem targeted towards Muslim consumers in the region, as well as the region having many mobile-first shoppers, making shopping online a lot more accessible during this period in spite of continuing lockdowns. 

Due to the increase in online shopping during Ramadan, transit times across the three countries increased as well. However, Malaysia and Indonesia saw a slightly higher increase in transit time of 20% compared to Singapore’s 16% which is likely due to the reduced work hours and commercial activities during Ramadan in Muslim countries. For example, Malaysia’s courier service firms had shortened their operating hours during Ramadan and Hari Raya, affecting pickup times in the country. 

Peak season in Thailand: Songkran Festival 2021

As for Thailand, the country saw a 34.1% growth in parcel volume during the period of the Songkran festival in April 2021, as well as a 31.9% increase in transit time. As a major shopping holiday in Thailand, this festival saw a surge in downloads for shopping apps last year. 

The festival features huge discounts on products and services online, as well as ‘Splash Sales’ by top marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee. With continued restrictions of the celebration in 2021, coupled with stricter restrictions imposed in April after a sudden surge in COVID cases, these were likely factors that pushed a 34.1% growth in parcel volume and the resultant 31.9% increase in transit time during peak period. 

Singaporean shoppers had the highest use of collection points in Q1 2021 

Singapore saw an 8.3% use of collection points, as compared to 5.0% in Malaysia and 1.9% in Indonesia.

Rakuten Insight Consumer Survey - Parcel Monitor

(Data courtesy: Rakuten Insight

According to survey data on Southeast Asian consumers by Rakuten Insight collected over June-July 2021, collection points are the second most popular alternative delivery method. Indeed, in our study on collection points in collaboration with Ninja Van, one of the region’s leading logistics companies, the company has been rapidly expanding the number of collection points in Southeast Asia and boasts over 5,384 collection points as of 2020. With this in mind, collection points have become increasingly accessible to Southeast Asian consumers.  

In the same survey by Rakuten Insight, it was also reported that over 80% of Southeast Asian consumers surveyed have opted for alternative delivery methods, such as in-store pick-ups, parcel lockers, collection points and other forms of alternative deliveries. 

The most common reasons for Southeast Asian consumers opting for alternative delivery methods are:

  • Convenience (63%)
  • The contactless and safe nature of this option (54%)
  • Reduced or completely removed shipping fees (39%)

Most strikingly, in Singapore, half of the consumers surveyed have used collection points in place of home delivery, in contrast to the 38% and 19% of Malaysian shoppers and Indonesian shoppers respectively. It is no surprise that Singapore boasts the highest rates of collection points usage in the region given the government’s efforts in launching a nationwide parcel delivery locker network that is accessible to all delivery providers. 

Kickstarting this initiative, over 200 parcel lockers have been set up in April 2021 towards the goal of deploying 1,000 lockers by end 2021. As a result, Singapore appears to have a more developed last-mile delivery ecosystem that is currently being nurtured. 

What’s next?

The performances in this edition of the e-commerce logistics race have been interesting and we are carefully watching how these countries will fare in the remaining months of 2021. As of recent, Southeast Asian nations have seen a resurgence of the virus and are returning to lockdowns and tighter restrictions in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

In such an uncertain climate, how do you think e-commerce logistics would pan out for these countries over the remainder of 2021? 

About Rakuten Insight Global

Over the last two decades, Rakuten Insight Global has remained at the forefront of consumer market research data collection in the region. Rakuten Insight’s online panels have been developed throughout 12 major Asian markets and regions, all of which are managed by dedicated local support teams and meet the highest standard of the industry.

About Parcel Monitor

Parcel Monitor is the global knowledge-sharing community dedicated to E-Commerce Logistics for retailers, logistics carriers, and end-consumers. Join now for the latest news, data-driven insights, and hottest events for all things e-commerce and logistics!

For more exclusive reports, insights, and interviews on the latest updates in e-commerce and logistics, follow us on LinkedIn or join our community as a member.

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