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Southeast Asia: A Region Ready to Boom! Part 2: What’s in Store for SEA in 2021?

Aug 17, 2021

Managing Partner at Lodestar

Occasionally, our partners and clients submit posts to our site for publication. We are pleased to publish a range of these opinions, which reflect the POVs of the author(s). This time, we welcome back Anthony Quinn, Managing Director at Lodestar Marketing



In the first part of Anthony’s Southeast Asia series, we looked at the state of the region, specifically when it comes to online shopping behaviors and the role of affiliate marketing. Now, in Part 2, we’ll take a look at what’s ahead, looking at expected trends for the remainder of 2021 across SEA.


Let’s dive in by looking at a few interesting trends that will be at the forefront of the ecommerce space in SEA, alongside the increasing number of online shoppers:


Travel Comeback
Many advertisers have been gearing up since the beginning of 2021, putting plans in place for a sharp rise in demand for travel services from Q3 and beyond. Many people are extremely keen to travel, having spent most of the last 18 months staying in their home countries, in their homes. There is a huge amount of lost time and revenue to make up, so expect travel companies to really turn the screws to encourage people to start travelling. There are positive knock-on effects to this, where complimentary verticals (fashion, travel accessories, insurance, etc.) can also grow as a result of this demand.


The Marketplace Battle
We have already seen the battle lines drawn over the last 3-4 years with the rise of Shopee (SEA Group, with Tencent as investors) taking on the might of Lazada (Alibaba-funded). Even though Lazada had a head start, Shopee managed to take over right at the time Lazada was at its weakest when integration of process and tech into the Alibaba ecosystem was happening. What we do know is that they have mighty backers with deep pockets so expect the ‘battle of the Chinese ecommerce giants’ to continue.

Amazon recently joined the party in Q4 2019, choosing Singapore as their first market in the region. Whilst they are laying low somewhat compared to the others, when they decide to ramp up, things will get interesting.

Finally let’s not forget (another one of China’s largest marketplaces) who have entered Thailand in a joint venture with Central Group. They are making headwind and as a result of having 3 major marketplaces here, have pushed out local marketplaces such as 11Street and – who had to pivot to a new business model to survive.


Rising Popularity of Fashion

When it comes to e-commerce growth, fashion tends to follow behind the travel and electronics categories. That was certainly the case in the US and UK. In particular, fashion was generally the last retail category to develop its ecommerce capabilities (apart from financial products which traditionally have legacy culture and tech holding them back). Travel has been leading the way from the early days here in SEA. Electronics is the top vertical here as well. I expect fashion to see rapid growth over the next 1-2 years as confidence to purchase online increases.


The Growth of Performance Marketing

Companies are increasingly looking at ways to increase ROI, which naturally fits well for the affiliate channel because of the high ROI it provides. The channel is still not widely used here, compared to the US where 80% of companies engage in affiliate marketing.

Publishers continue to innovate and drive the channel forward, which has taken decades to mature in countries such as the US and UK. SEA can simply tap straight into these traditional and new publisher types with historic data and analysis already available to show their worth. The development of SaaS platforms to allow advertisers to use advanced tracking and reporting features also allows easy access to new types of partnerships such as brand and B2B partnerships which can all fall under the ‘performance marketing’ umbrella alongside and complementary to the affiliate marketing channel.



About Anthony:

Anthony is one of the Managing Partners of Lodestar Marketing. He is a seasoned digital marketer with long-standing experience within the affiliate channel, having worked in the industry for over 20 years. He has worked advertiser-side with GAME, the UK’s largest specialist video games retailer, at Rakuten Affiliate leading half of the Advertiser Services team and as a publisher at RebateMango, SEA’s most rewarding loyalty platform.


About Lodestar Marketing:

Lodestar Marketing is the only specialist Affiliate Marketing Management agency in Southeast Asia. The founders collectively have over 35 years+ experience in the channel and spent the best part of the last 10 years in this region so are perfectly suited to grow affiliate marketing programs, whether new to the channel or are looking to analyse and grow existing programs. Discover more at

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