Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market could grow by more than $ 280 billion by 2030, if major online shopping marketplaces do more to empower and empower women entrepreneurs, says a new report from International Finance Corporation.
The “anonymity” of e-commerce has lowered many of the barriers to entry for women and given them the opportunity to thrive in new sectors, Amy Luinstra, IFC’s gender program manager for East Asia and the Pacific, told CNBC on Thursday.
Nonetheless, many of the inequalities women face in traditional retailing “flow into the online world”, such as securing access to finance.
Luinstra urged major ecommerce companies to do more to support female salespeople and capitalize on the market opportunity.
For platforms with funding opportunities, this is a great way to involve more women and help them be successful.
Gender Program Manager (East Asia and Pacific), IFC
This includes expanding funding for women, providing training and encouraging them to get involved in higher value sectors like electronics, she said.
“For platforms with funding options, this is a great way to engage more women and help them develop by making sure they know and can take advantage of funding opportunities,” Luinstra told Squawk. Of CNBC Box Asia. “
A woman wears a protective face mask while waiting for customers at her store in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday March 31, 2020.
NurPhoto | Getty Images
Your comments come against the background of the Covid 19 pandemic, which is said to have disproportionately disadvantaged women.
The IFC report, which drew on data from Southeast Asian e-commerce site Lazada, found that women were well on their way to achieving gender parity in e-commerce in 2019. But even with the increase in online trade in the past year, the additional care obligations and the time pressure of women left progress behind.
“Before the pandemic, the women held their own – in some cases they outperformed the men and even the men who participated,” Luinstra said.
In the Philippines, for example, women previously made up 64% of sellers on Lazada’s website, but their sales fell 27% during the pandemic, the report said.
“That has changed under the pandemic and so we are starting to get the void and the ability to fill that void which adds up to the huge $ 280 billion figure,” she said, referring to those in the report mentioned market opportunity.
Correction: This article has been updated to correctly reflect the report’s growth estimates for 2030.