E-commerce opportunities to grow for SMEs: FedEx

  • Most SMEs acknowledge the importance of e-commerce
  • Revenue from APAC’s e-commerce projected to reach US$2.09 tril

E-commerce opportunities to grow for SMEs: FedExThe latest e-commerce trends from research commissioned by FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp, shows that both small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and consumers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region (AMEA) agree that there’s room for further growth in the already booming e-commerce sector. 

In a statement, the firm said in Malaysia, the report states that nearly 90% of SMEs acknowledge the increased importance of e-commerce to their business over the past three years. 

It added that 89% of SMEs believe this will continue to become even more important in future.

The ‘What’s Next in E-Commerce: 6 Trends Shaping the Future’ survey polled SMEs and consumers in 11 markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region in July 2022 to explore the continuing evolution of e-commerce in the region and identify the trends that could fuel their future growth.

According to FedEx Express, the survey reveals that consumers in AMEA are looking for innovations in personalisation, shoppertainment and payment options that enhance their experience and at the same time, make it easier to discover new brands and make purchasing convenient. 

And with plenty of shopping festivals already in the calendar, the firm said consumers are looking for even more seasonal offers, it said.

Taken together, the research shows there is plenty of fertile ground for e-tailers to experiment with new approaches that can help build their customer base, it added.

Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at FedEx Express, said, “With that, e-commerce is set to take a growing proportion of total consumer spend,” he said, adding that with more people shopping online consumer preferences are becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

“As SMEs and e-merchants evolve their online sales platforms, our research uncovers opportunities for businesses to capitalize on what consumers want,” he said.

Kawal said customer experience is the driving force behind how e-tailers engage with their customers and how the company is innovating its shipping solutions. 

“With an expanded portfolio specially developed for e-commerce businesses, FedEx is well positioned to support the changing expectations of consumers and the continuation of e-commerce growth,” he added.

The report also highlighted that eight in 10 SMEs in AMEA believe e-commerce will become more important in their business in the next three years and nine in ten believe they are well prepared for the challenge.

Additionally, 80% of consumers reported that e-commerce had taken a greater share of their total purchases over the past three years while 71% see further increases ahead, it said.

Of the 11 markets in the Asia Pacific, SMEs in India, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam were among the most optimistic about their future e-commerce growth in the next three years, a sentiment shared by consumers in these same markets, the survey noted.

Looking ahead, for Malaysian SMEs, China is seen as the key market, within AMEA, that Malaysian SMEs will target for export growth, followed by India and Japan, the report stated. 

The survey also highlighted that many e-tailers are struggling to cope with the increasing demand and cannot recruit fast enough and this has a knock-on impact on service levels.

It added that as more consumers participate in the on-demand economy and increasing shipment volumes put pressure on e-tailers, maintaining customer service quality is critical. 

In Malaysia, the data reveals that the biggest pain point in service gaps is that deliveries are taking too long, which is cited by 71% of consumers within the study, as the majority (79%) of online orders typically take three days. 

The second pain point cited the survey is that  consumers in Malaysia is having to return products (42%), followed by the difficulty in finding products online (33%) as the third pain point.

Meanwhile, while the future looks bright, 65% of e-tailers in AMEA reported they were struggling to handle the growing number of orders they were receiving.

This is amid surging demand for talent and recruitment has proven challenging for SMEs, it said.

SC Chong, managing director operations, FedEx Express Malaysia said, “We are well positioned to support businesses to take advantage of future growth of e-commerce in Malaysia, with a dual focus on meeting the needs of e-tailers and their end-consumerism."


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