While Indonesia is known as an e-commerce powerhouse in Southeast Asia, it could get a little dizzying when deciding which product category to sell in the country. What exactly are the types of products that Indonesians are buying? Do they have any sorts of preferences?
Before we go into the overview of Indonesia’s top 4 e-commerce product categories, here are some facts about Indonesia’s e-commerce market.
Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) as:
A growing middle class
High internet and mobile penetration rates
Fintech and alternative finance options
Significant funding into e-commerce companies
If you want to know more about the factors driving the growth of Indonesian e-commerce, as well as shopping habits in the country, check out this introduction to Indonesian online shoppers.
While some of these growth factors, especially the growth of affluence and mobile internet usage, echo conditions in many Southeast Asian nations, each country has its own set of unique challenges, opportunities, and trends.
As an e-tailer looking to enter the Indonesian market, it’s good to know the most popular e-commerce categories in the country and the opportunities available to you as an online seller.
In 2018, most of the e-commerce transactions in Indonesia came from the following product categories:
Mom & baby
Health & beauty
No two countries are made equal and tastes and preferences are unique to each country. Here we can get some answers on which products in these categories and doing well, and what kind of preferences Indonesians have towards these products.
Fashion accounts for $3.0 billion of e-commerce revenue in Indonesia—an amount expected to grow to $6.1 billion by 2022.
Research by Deloitte shows that in 2014, comfort and appearance were the top considerations of fashion buyers in Indonesia. In 2017, their priorities changed, leaning towards comfort and size fit. In fact, aesthetics, trendiness, fabric, and size fit have all increased in importance to Indonesian consumers. Given these trends, e-commerce sellers in ASEAN can step in to offer products that satisfy consumers’ demand instead of just competing on price.
Notably, Austrade also lists two emerging fashion trends that are gaining traction in Indonesia:
The hijab has appeared in high-fashion runways around the world, reflecting a contemporary approach to hijab fashion that young and modern consumers can appreciate. Hijab fashion bloggers with large Instagram followings have been a major driving force behind this trend.
While you may not be a seller of contemporary hijab fashion, this trend is similar to the style of modest fashion that became popular globally in 2018. The principle of modest fashion is, foremost, to cover one’s skin. Modest clothing also tends to prioritise comfort and fit, satisfying Indonesian shoppers’ demand for these aspects.
If you’re planning on entering this market, take note that modesty and comfort without compromising aesthetics and style could be the way to go.
With increasing attention towards ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes, sustainable fashion—also called ‘slow fashion’—is a niche sector that targets middle-class and affluent consumers (MACs) in Indonesia.
However, the scarcity of raw materials used in sustainable manufacturing processes, such as natural fibres like cotton, silk, and ramie, is a challenge for Indonesian fashion producers. They are forced to import some of their raw materials as there are insufficient supplies of these within Indonesia.
If you are in the sustainable fashion business, be it selling garments or raw materials like natural dyes, this is a great opportunity to introduce your goods into the market.
Indonesia’s consumer electronics and appliances market’s revenue reached US$ 2.1 million in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 10 per cent by 2020.
Higher-income shoppers with monthly household incomes of more than IDR10 million ($690) a month are the major purchasers of consumer electronics online, according to a report by Deloitte. These include audio and video electronics products, as well as small and major household appliances.
These higher-income shoppers tend to buy foreign—particularly Western—brands, while lower-income shoppers strongly prefer local brands like Evercross and Advan smartphones and Polytron home electronics. On the other hand, Japanese and Korean electronic brands are generally well regarded across the spectrum, but more so by mid- to high-income shoppers. Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Oppo are also becoming more popular in the smartphone category.
Mobile phones / smartphones
With smartphone penetration expected to reach 67 per cent in 2020, it’s no surprise that mobile phones and smartphones are the most widely bought consumer electronics items online. Shoppers’ preference for foreign brands in this segment will serve as a boon to sellers from outside the country. These include Samsung, Xiaomi, and Oppo.
Revenue in the wearables segment in Indonesia has reached $108 million in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8 per cent until 2023. Despite user penetration being at a low 1.7 per cent, Ipsos, a research firm, identifies Indonesia as the fourth out of the top five markets in the world with the greatest sales potential for this segment.
This prediction is part of the results of the firm’s Affluent Survey, which notes that affluent consumers are typically the first to adopt wearable tech all over the world. Considering Indonesia’s growing MAC population—Boston Consulting Group predicted to exceed 140 million by 2020—ASEAN e-commerce players have the opportunity to be among the first movers in this segment.
Around 1.6 million babies are born every year in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s most populous country. A survey by EcommerceIQ found that 66 per cent of Indonesian shoppers purchases mom and baby products online, and 57 per cent buy such products once a month.
One of the major reasons cited by respondents in the study included the convenience of shopping at home. This allows pregnant mothers to shop without having to leave one’s baby or travel to brick-and-mortar stores and malls. Another major reason Indonesian mothers shop for these products online is the variety of brands available via e-commerce. Many e-commerce sellers also sell in bundles, which allows them to offer larger discounts compared to selling the items individually which can help Indonesian mothers save money.
The good news is that Indonesian mothers are generally open to trying new brands when shopping for mom and baby care products both online and offline. They tend to visit online marketplaces directly, especially sites dedicated to mom and baby products. They also use Google, Facebook, and Instagram to discover new products. You can consider going onto these platforms if you are looking to sell mom & baby products online in Indonesia.
Baby clothing accounts for 49 per cent of purchases in the mom and baby category in Indonesia. Given Indonesian moms’ shopping habits noted above. This allows you to appeal to mothers by offering an array of designs and sizes along with a relatively large discount.
Baby gear is the second most popular segment in this category, making up 23.2 per cent of purchases. Baby gear includes products like diapers, prams and more.
As product quality is one of the major concerns of Indonesian online shoppers, the onus is on e-commerce sellers around Southeast Asia to prove the quality of their items, including baby gear. Demonstration videos and word-of-mouth recommendations on Facebook and Instagram—the social media channels that Indonesian moms most use to discover baby products, according to EcommerceIQ—will enable retailers to establish a brand of quality. Having positive product reviews on your site also helps.
Thinking about expanding your online store to Indonesia? Get the latest tips and tricks in our latest Indonesian e-book, now updated with Ramadan-related info:
Demand for cosmetics and toiletries in Indonesia grew by 11.9 per cent in 2017—higher than the average growth rate of 10 per cent in the past six years. Austrade reports that cosmetics with international brands hold a 70 per cent market share in the country.
That may soon change, though. The same report states that more and more Indonesian buyers, especially young, modern, and affluent women, are choosing halal-certified cosmetics. The use of local celebrities and beauty vloggers for promotion has also driven these products’ appeal.
The same Austrade report notes that a majority of halal cosmetics sold in Indonesia are made locally. It’s also getting tougher for foreign sellers to enter this space. Effective 2019, Indonesia is requiring all halal cosmetics (as well as all products that meet halal requirements, such as meat) entering the country to adhere to its Law No. 33/2014 on halal product assurance.
If you are planning on entering Indonesia’s cosmetics market, you should check whether the government of the product’s country of origin has an agreement with that of Indonesia to consider the former’s halal certification valid.
Indonesian shoppers are also exhibiting an increased preference for natural and organic-certified products—a trend again driven by MACs and reflective of global trends. This same conscious choice is driving the growth in demand for ethically produced items.
Skin care products make up three-fourths of all cosmetics imported in Indonesia, according to Austrade. ASEAN e-commerce sellers have the opportunity to differentiate their skin care products by responding to the demand for cosmetics with organic and herbal formulations.
Indonesia’s growth in spas has contributed to the large demand for cosmetics and toiletries, including aromatherapy supplies. E-commerce sellers can offer their products to spas through online B2B marketplaces.
But don’t ignore the ‘solopreneurs’, either—masseuses can be booked through platforms like Go-Jek (and its clones). People who request massage service at home may also have their own aromatherapy supplies.
No two countries are alike and Indonesia’s online shopping habits and preferences may vastly differ from that of your country. It’s important to constantly research and monitor your target country’s e-commerce trends and laws. Factors like culture, religion, and trade policies affect the country’s e-commerce industry, which makes expert local knowledge vital.
It’s also good to have help when entering new markets. Make sure you have a trustworthy logistics service provider and a good local seller-partner with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the country’s e-commerce and logistics trends, challenges, and opportunities to make the most of entering Indonesia’s e-commerce market.
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Interested in e-commerce in Indonesia? Find out more about Indonesian e-commerce here:
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