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FEATURED Business of Fashion: Luxury’s Southeast Asia E-Commerce Opportunity

Growing demand for luxury goods is coinciding with an e-commerce boom in key markets like Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, but brands are behind the curve.

China’s seemingly unstoppable rise as a luxury spending powerhouse has, in recent years, crowned its shoppers the be-all and end-all for high-end brands.

“Southeast Asia’s e-commerce landscape has plenty of potential [but] brands aren’t fully invested in their online platforms,” says Amrita Banta, Singapore based managing director and co-founder of Agility Research.

Meanwhile, Banta sees untapped potential in Indonesia, where a megadeal between e-commerce giant Tokopedia and super-app Gojek is a sign of things to come. “Indonesia has a huge population and wealth but they have typically shopped abroad from Singapore to London and Paris… there is a big opportunity to serve them domestically,” she says.

Nonetheless, online demand for luxury is alive and kicking. “Searches for luxury brands have increased drastically during the pandemic,” says Banta, adding that fashion categories like apparel, bags and shoes were the most sought-after, followed by skin care and fragrances. She recommends brands adopt a dual strategy of operating a brand.com site in addition to working with third party e-commerce platforms.

Cover photo: Outside Burberry’s store on Hanoi’s Trang Tien plaza. Shutterstock.

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