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Update 14th Jan 2020: Indonesia will be revising its de minimis value down to US$3 from an earlier US$ 75 on the 30th January 2020 as confirmed by Indonesia’s Directorate General of Customs and Excise, Ministry of Finance1. You can find more details about how this could affect your shipments, at our latest announcement.
Article content updated 15th January 2020
While Indonesia is known as an eCommerce 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 eCommerce product categories, here are some facts about Indonesia’s eCommerce market.
Indonesia’s eCommerce market recorded the highest number of eCommerce transactions2 in the world in 2019. They mentioned that 90 per cent of Indonesia’s internet users aged 16 to 64 reporting that they make online purchases. There are a number of reasons for this growth, summed up3 by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) as:
A growing middle class
High internet and mobile penetration rates
Fintech and alternative finance options
Significant funding into eCommerce companies
If you want to know more about the factors driving the growth of Indonesian eCommerce, 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 eCommerce categories in the country and the opportunities available to you as an online seller.
In 2018, most of the eCommerce 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 was the largest driver of Indonesia’s eCommerce purchases – accounting for $4.7 billion4 of eCommerce revenue in Indonesia in 2019. This is an amount expected to grow to $10.4 billion by 2022 according to Statista.
Research by Deloitte5 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, eCommerce 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 approach6 to hijab fashion that young and modern consumers can appreciate. Hijab fashion bloggers7 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 fashion8 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 Indonesia9.
However, the scarcity of raw materials10 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$ 3.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to US$7.9 billion by 2022 according to Statista11.
Higher-income shoppers with monthly household incomes of more than IDR10 million ($690) a month are the major purchasers of consumer electronics online, according to a report by Deloitte5. These include audio and video electronics products, as well as small and major household appliances.
These higher-income shoppers tend to buy foreign—particularly Western—brands, while lower-income shoppers strongly prefer local brands like Evercross12 and Advan13 smartphones and Polytron14 home electronics. On the other hand, Japanese and Korean electronic brands are generally well regarded across the spectrum, but more so by mid- to high-income shoppers. Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Oppo are also becoming more popular15 in the smartphone category.
Statista estimates that in 2020 Indonesia will have 81.8 million smartphone users and forecasts it to grow to 89.8 million users by 202216. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that mobile phones and smartphones are the most widely bought consumer electronics items online. Shoppers’ preference for foreign brands in this segment will serve as a boon to sellers from outside the country. These include Samsung, Xiaomi, and Oppo.
Revenue in the wearables segment in Indonesia is forecasted to hit US$ 130 million this 202017, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.4 per cent until 2024 – likely to hit a market volume of US$ 154 million by 2024. 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 markets18 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 predicted19 to exceed 140 million by 2020—ASEAN eCommerce players have the opportunity to be among the first movers in this segment.
Millions20 are born every year in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s most populous country. A survey by EcommerceIQ21 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 eCommerce. Many eCommerce sellers also sell in bundles22, 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 brands21 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 products23. 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 cent24 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 cent21 of purchases. Baby gear includes products like diapers, prams and more.
As product quality is one of the major concerns25 of Indonesian online shoppers, the onus is on eCommerce 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:
Statista26 reports that health and beauty sales in Indonesia hit US$6.9 billion in 2019 and is expected to hit US$8.1 billion in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate of 5.6%. According to Austrade27, internationally branded cosmetics 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 vloggers28 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. 33/201429 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 products30—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 eCommerce sellers have the opportunity to differentiate their skin care products by responding to the demand for cosmetics with organic and herbal formulations31.
Indonesia’s growth in spas32 has contributed to the large demand for cosmetics and toiletries, including aromatherapy supplies. eCommerce 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)33. 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 eCommerce trends and laws. Factors like culture, religion, and trade policies affect the country’s eCommerce industry, which makes expert local knowledge vital.
It’s also good to have help when entering new markets. Make sure you have a trustworthy international logistics service provider and a good local seller-partner with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the country’s eCommerce logistics trends, challenges, and opportunities to make the most of entering Indonesia’s eCommerce market.
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Thanks! My team has been happy using your company’s services instead of our usual shipper. Despite the 1 or 2 customs hiccups, generally our team has been very happy.”
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Interested in eCommerce in Indonesia? Find out more about Indonesian eCommerce scene here:
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