'New retail' convergence of offline and e-commerce sales transforming Asia's business landscape

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

China’s leading platforms are creating new business models for online-offline integration that have the potential for future rollout across Asia Pacific. ©iStock
China’s leading platforms are creating new business models for online-offline integration that have the potential for future rollout across Asia Pacific. ©iStock

Related tags: New Retail, Alibaba, Mintel, Asia

The merger of offline and online retail being pioneered by the likes the Alibaba — dubbed ‘new retail’ — will provide the foundation on which emerging economies will be built, a new report claims.

“Asia Pacific is changing the framework and focus of globalisation and that role will only increase. The region is innovating in a new direction towards a future that suits its own aspirations and needs — and retail technology is leading that innovation,”​ said Matthew Crabbe, regional trends director of Asia Pacific, Mintel.

Mintel’s latest report, New Retail: The ‘Futurenomics’ of Asia Pacific​, states that e-commerce in the region is booming.

Asian e-commerce fuelling growth

It estimates that e-commerce spending across Asia Pacific (based on Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam markets) will increase from 3.6% of total retail spending in 2010 to 31.4% by 2020.

Furthermore, from 2015 to 2025, e-commerce will rise in value by over 290%, and reach over 37% of total retail value across Asia Pacific. This growth has created a new critical mass with the convergence of online and offline retail and services into ‘new retail’.

“The online economy is a crucial part of Asia Pacific’s current and future economic growth. It is also a major part of the continuing integration of the economies and consumer spending patterns across the region,”​ said Crabbe.

China leading the world

The report singled out China as Asia Pacific’s “heavyweight”​. In e-commerce penetration, mobile commerce uptake and ‘new retail’ innovation, China leads not only the region but the world.

China’s leading platforms are creating new business models for online-offline integration that have the potential for future rollout across Asia Pacific. China’s e-commerce market has also created convergence of retail with other consumer services, including payments, transportation, foodservice and home services.

‘New retail’ is seeing offline and online retail coverage, the report adds, with Alibaba’s oft-cited supermarket chain Hema a prime example.

It will ultimately drive acceptance of cashless payments and unmanned stores, and facilitate the sharing economy, and the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain inventories.

“New Retail will be the foundation upon which new economies will be built, and Asia Pacific is leading the first wave,”​ said Crabbe.

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