Southeast Asian SMEs use eBay to sell internationally

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eBay has unveiled its study on online businesses across the six Southeast Asian markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Southeast Asia Small Online Business Trade Report 2022 (“Report”) highlights how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in these countries are using the eBay e-commerce marketplace to successfully sell to international markets every year, adding a broad-based and resilient growth engine to the region’s rapidly expanding economies.

The Global Influence of SEA’s SMEs

SMEs constitute the backbone of Southeast Asia’s economy, forming a critical pillar of the economic system of every country in the region. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises account for between 89% and 99% of total business establishments, and between 52% and 97% of total employment, in the 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS).

They also contribute between 30% and 53% to each AMS’ gross domestic product (GDP), with export contributions estimated at between 10% and 30%.

Across the six countries featured in the Report, an astounding 68% of eBay-enabled small businesses exported to 10 or more international markets. As a whole, the region’s eBay-enabled small business community made sales in 214 international markets in 2020.

Given the crucial roles that SMEs play in generating broader economic growth and prosperity, the Report underscores how eBay’s ecosystem has helped SME communities across Southeast Asia succeed on the international stage through export opportunities.

Enabling SEA SMEs to Sell to the World

While less than 20% of traditional businesses in each of the six markets highlighted in this Report export, all eBay-enabled small businesses in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam are exporters, and more than 95% in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore use eBay to reach global consumers.

These SMEs exporting on eBay have the reach of large enterprises, serving customers in an average of 25 different international markets on an annual basis.

“eBay’s primary focus in Southeast Asia is to enable SMEs to sell to the world – its marketplace offers 142 million active buyers across 3,000-plus product categories with market access to 190 countries. SMEs in the region have a wealth of inventory that global consumers want, and they need to differentiate and drive scale by exploring e-commerce export options,” said Vidmay Naini, Country Manager for Southeast Asia and India.

The top 5 export markets for SMEs in Southeast Asia on eBay are United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. The top 5 locally sourced categories exported are Jewelry & Watches, Auto Parts, Home & Garden, Health & Beauty, and Collectibles.

Exporting to international markets and globalizing a business means navigating complex tax laws, managing sophisticated logistics arrangements, identifying customized methods of last-mile delivery, and very importantly, generating insights on markets and categories that are dynamically changing.

“eBay is capitalizing on the combined depth of our in-market teams and the global scale of eBay’s marketplace to help SMEs grow their business and meet the increasingly complex demands of global markets and consumers, ” Vidmay added.

“SEA’s potential as an economic powerhouse is well-recognized the world over for its tech innovations and startups from health to fintech to education,” said Cheryl Chung, Programme Director, Executive Education Singapore Futures, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

“In the next decade, SEA SMEs will become a rising tier of global retailers with broad international market access because of the tremendous advances in e-commerce and the increasing integration of end-to-end solutions, bringing job and economic opportunity to the region.”