Bain, Google, Temasek report 2021: The SEA Digital Decade

By Kate Birch
Bain & Company, Google and Temasek’s latest annual research report says Southeast Asia is showing resurgence towards a trillion-dollar internet economy

From resilience to resurgence: Southeast Asia is on the road towards a US$1 trillion gross merchandise value economy by 2030. That’s according to the latest e-Conomy SEA report originally launched by Google and Temasek (the global investment company headquartered in Singapore) in 2016, and joined by Bain & Company as lead research partner in 2019.

The multi-year programme takes a deep dive into the internet economy in Southeast Asia, as more SEA nations embrace a digital transformation accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The region is one of the fastest-growing internet markets, with a young population adopting smartphone use and access to increased connectivity via 4G and 5G networks.


The 129-page report – which focuses on industry and country profiles drawing on data from Google, Temasek and Bain – highlights five key insights:

Consumers cruise to a new way of life

Digital consumption has quickly become a way of life in the region. Early adopters have expanded their usage while some 60 million consumers who joined since the pandemic are staying. The stats show that nine in 10 consumers who tried a new digital service in 2020 – such as ride-hailing or online grocery shopping – are continuing to use those services.

Digital merchants take off

The shift in consumer behaviour has led to the rise of the digital merchant. A third say they would not have survived the pandemic without digital platforms.

Resilience leads to resurgence

The region’s internet economy showed great resilience in 2020, but now a resurgence in 2021 has boosted it towards US$170 billion gross merchandise value (GMV). Ecommerce, food delivery and digital financial services remain the biggest winners, with the internet economy predicted to reach about US$360 billion by 2025.

Funding on track to reach new heights

Strong growth, supportive government regulations and an influx of global capital have seen deals boom – with ecommerce and digital financial services leading the way.

The ’20s roar towards a trillion

Shifts in consumer and merchant behaviour, coupled with strong investment, are suggesting that GMV in SEA could well be on its way to US$ 1 trillion by 2030.



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