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Rising smartphone usage paves way for ecommerce opportunities in Southeast Asia

The trend: Smartphone usage spiked during the pandemic, and it’s a habit that has endured worldwide. The number of smartphone users in Southeast Asia will reach 326.3 million in 2022 and rise steadily through 2026, per our forecast.

  • The accessibility of smartphone technology has helped facilitate mobile internet consumption. Nearly nine in 10 internet users in Southeast Asia will use smartphones this year.
  • Smartphone penetration among internet users in the region will range from a high of 98.8% in Thailand to a low of 81.7% in the Philippines in 2022.
  • This year, the number of Southeast Asia smartphone users will grow faster than the number of overall mobile phone users.

Poised for growth: Since the pandemic, Southeast Asia consumers have used smartphones for a range of purposes, including gaming, food delivery, and mobile payments. These market sectors stand to gain as internet usage expands.

  • Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan estimates the food delivery gross merchandise value in Southeast Asia will rise to $49.72 billion in 2030 from $15.15 billion in 2021.
  • Mobile and desktop/laptop gaming revenues in the region will reach $6.7 billion in 2025, growing at a 7.8% CAGR between 2021 and 2025.

The big takeaway: As Southeast Asia moves toward a more digital-oriented way of life, brands can gain and retain buyers and users by leveraging local knowledge and avoiding blanket solutions that might not work for individual markets.

Go further: For more on our forecast for internet, smartphone, and tablet users in Southeast Asia, read our report.