Southeast Asia’s Internet sectors continue to see strong growth, hitting $100 billion in 2020, and are on track to cross $300 billion by 2025 stated a report by Google, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and business consultants Bain & Co.
The e-Conomy SEA 2020 report sheds light on the internet economy in the region, covering Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and shows that internet usage in Southeast Asia continues to multiply, with 40M new users this year alone (400M YTD vs. 360M in 2019).
Super surge in new users
New users are coming online at a blistering pace, adding 40M new Internet users this year alone compared to 100M between 2015 and 2019 and 70% of the region’s population is now online.
During lockdowns, new users made up 38% of the region’s Subscription Video on Demand services (SVOD).Music subscriptions, on the other hand, grew at a slightly slower pace of 34% in the same period.
Thailand to have second largest internet economy in the region
In Thailand, with its various stages of lockdowns, users turned to the Internet for solutions to their sudden challenges. A significant number tried new digital services: 30% of all digital service consumers were new, with 95% of these new consumers intending to continue their behavior post-pandemic.
Thailand is projected to have the second largest internet economy in the region this year after Indonesia, despite economic challenges: the internet economy is projected to climb 7% to $18 billion this year, the second largest internet economy in Asean.
Resilience in times of crisis
e-Commerce has driven significant growth in Thailand, at 81%. This steep ascendance has largely offset declines in Travel and Transport. Overall, 2020 GMV is expected to reach a total value of US $18B in 2020, having grown at 7% YoY.
Looking at 2025, the overall e-Conomy will likely reach US $53B in value, re-accelerating to ~25% CAGR.
Online with a purpose
Southeast Asians spent on average an hour more a day on the Internet during Covid-19–imposed lockdowns, and it’s easy to see why. The Internet sector provided access to essential goods, healthcare, education and entertainment, and helped businesses “keep the lights on.”
With 8 out of 10 Southeast Asians viewing technology as very helpful during the pandemic, it has become an indispensable part of people’s daily lives.
HealthTech and EdTech have played a critical role during the pandemic, with impressive adoption rates to match. Even so, these sectors remain nascent and challenges need to be addressed before they can be commercialized at a larger scale. Nonetheless, the boost in adoption, compounded with fast-growing funding, is likely to propel innovation in this space over the coming years.
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
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