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Facebook Chats Power a New $48 Billion Market in Social Commerce

  • Shopping via social media gains popularity in Southeast Asia
  • Hit by Covid, retailers use chat apps to speak with customers
Bloomberg business news
WATCH: “I feel like I get to communicate with a real human.”Shopping via WhatsApp? Facebook chats are powering a new $48 billion market in social commerce in Southeast Asia, according to @BainAlerts. A shopper in Thailand tells @prim_chuwiruch about the perks(Source: Quicktake)

Samantha Proyrungtong, co-owner of an artisan food shop in downtown Bangkok, keeps three phones and a laptop glued to Facebook and Softbank Group-backed Line Corp.’s social-media app throughout the workday. She needs them not to hear from friends and relatives but to get orders from customers since her shop, Vivin Grocery, relies on chat applications for a big part of its sales of goat cheeses, locally sourced jams and organic vegetables.

Throughout Southeast Asia, consumers’ affection for haggling and interacting with businesses is fueling a boom in social commerce. Unlike the U.S. or China, where most consumers do their internet shopping with established platforms run by companies like Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., in Thailand almost half of all e-commerce takes place through social media or chat rooms on Facebook, WhatsApp or Line’s app.