Q&A: Ryf Quail on the iMedia Online Retail Summit South East Asia 2023

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By Published On: December 7, 20220 Comments

Discussing the iMedia Online Retail Summit SEA 2023 with Ryf Quail, Managing Director of Comexposium for Australia, NZ and South East Asia.

SEA saw the fastest digital sales growth in the world this year. By next year, the region will cross the $100 billion mark, a long way from the $37.22 billion seen in 2019. What’s driven this growth?

Apart from the obvious COVID surge there are a number of factors that have driven growth.

1) Prior to COVID, the six SEA nations had the fastest growing basket size of any countries in the world (circa 2019). These markets were already accelerating faster than any other region and COVID just ‘primed the pump’.
2) Sheer population – 10% of the world’s internet users are from SEA nations.
3) Six of the top 12 most active eCommerce nations globally are SEA nations.

Is this momentum going to continue? Assumedly it’s been partly driven by COVID lockdowns.

Momentum will slow however growth should continue with more technologies becoming available. In the SEA regions payment solutions are flourishing which are being supported by local legislation changes. For example, we have already seen in Malaysia a move to mandatory digital wallet technology, providing incentives for citizens to participate, to improve the collection of sales taxes.
Couple that with the fact that Asian nations have a demonstrated preference to shop online rather than in physical retail throws a whole new factor in, if you compare with a Australia or New Zealand where there is a love of physical retail.

Here in Australia, people are returning to bricks and mortar shopping, what is that environment like in SEA, is the sentiment toward offline shopping showing similar development?

SEA, as mentioned above have much more positive attitudes to shopping online unlike Australia.

You identify SEA is on course to be a dominant force in the ecommerce world, do you see this as presenting a challenge to ANZ?

Absolutely! The sheer scale of SEA means that we have larger retailers on our doorstep who may see Australia as an opportunity for international expansion. We may also see a de prioritisation of Australia by retail solution providers as the size of the SEA prize matures and becomes readily accessible, especially to global players.
On the flip side, the 
opportunity for Australian retailers to enter larger markets close to home could create much opportunity for those willing to do the due diligence to understand and meet the needs of SEA market consumers.

If this momentum has been on the rise for years, Why is now the time to expand to SEA?

We are already very active in the region and in fact, launched iMedia Online Retail Summit SEA in 2020 only to be stymied by COVID. Many of our sponsors are still in place and we can’t wait to get back there. The prize is so much bigger now and our regional HQ is in Singapore so it was an easy decision.

Is this event catered more toward retailers with an SEA ecommerce presence or would you encourage ANZ attendees looking to expand?

The retailers eCommerce leaders for our SEA event with come from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines. However many of our sponsors and partners from Australia and New Zealand will attend.

How do you choose the event speakers? What can they offer guests?

At this stage, we are building an advisory board from across the region to service the big issues SEA retailers face. From there we will build a speaker line up to meet the needs of the regions as defined by the advisory board’s input.

What else can attendees look forward to?

This will be our very first iMedia Online Retail Summit SEA built bespoke to cater specifically to SEA online retailers as well as emerging marketplaces. It will provide a unique platform for discussions on the pressing industry issues from customer service, logistics or supply chain to trends in marketing, social media and consumer behaviour. For many, this will be their first iMedia Summit and it can only be an in-person event. iMedia Summits are held at a fantastic destination, in a beautiful venue with a great bunch of peers to not only inspire, educate and solve problems but also to form bonds between people that last lifetimes.
We, Comexposium, run iMedia Summits from Goa in India to Okinawa in Japan to Taupo in New Zealand to the Gold Coast in Australia. We cover disciplines such as retail ecommerce to martech and adtech. Most of our events are enterprise focussed. However, this iMedia, for the first time, focusses on SEA online retailers. Through our experience globally, we look not only to deliver much to this region but also take a lot away that we can share across our global shows across the region as well as Europe and North America.

iMedia have just released their full line-up of events for 2023 – including their Online Retail Summits for those retail and eCommerce professionals across APAC and SEA. Learn more about their events here:

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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