Southeast Asia (SEA) is one the fastest growing and most exciting regions for ecommerce in the world. From 2019 to 2021 ecommerce sales ballooned from $38B to $120B–and we believe that the region is only just getting started.
While rapid growth was inevitable for such a quickly developing tech sector, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly accelerated adoption of digital services and commerce. During the pandemic, 80 million new consumers in SEA came online for the first time (a whopping 22% increase). Meanwhile, existing digital shoppers are spending more and are shopping more frequently online. Despite this rapid growth, we believe that significantly more growth lies ahead.
The increase in online adoption among merchants and consumers, particularly in non-urban areas, is creating an explosion in the types of goods and services becoming available. We believe that this growth, complemented by the rising popularity of e-wallets and BNPL options, will drive ecommerce sales to double again–reaching $234B by 2025.
Today, the vast majority of ecommerce sales is conducted through marketplaces (such as Shopee, Tokopedia, Lazada). While marketplaces may at first appear like the obvious starting point for merchants to explore selling online, the barriers to building a substantial business on these marketplaces are high.
Marketplaces have become intensely competitive for sellers. Product listings are practically stacked on top of each other, and sellers often compete solely on price. At the same time, sellers on marketplaces don't own the customer relationships, making it difficult for them to build brand presence or control their own destinies.
For these reasons, we anticipate a strong momentum towards direct-to-consumer commerce businesses. It is becoming common for sellers to build their brands on social media and via word of mouth and to sell through WhatsApp. A 2020 survey of ~3k online shoppers in Indonesia found that 44% have already shopped through social media. We believe “social selling” will become a massive trend in the region and will require new infrastructure to meet the needs of micro and small-to-medium enterprise (MSME) sellers.
We believe that a new platform will emerge to foster Southeast Asia’s burgeoning ecommerce sector. Unlike marketplaces, it will facilitate direct sales from merchants to consumers so they can build their brands online and nurture direct customer relationships. We believe that this winning platform will be Lummo—and in fact it already is. In record time, LummoSHOP, Lummo's flagship product has emerged as the leading D2C ecommerce solution in Southeast Asia.
LummoSHOP enables ecommerce sellers across various sizes and sophistication levels to build their brands online, engage with customers, and manage their ecommerce operations. Lummo originally launched as a bookkeeping app called BukuKas in late 2019, taking the first step in digitizing MSMEs. Recognizing the desire for these MSMEs to come online, the company launched their second product, LummoSHOP, to enable direct-to-consumer commerce.
The LummoSHOP solution offers a growing set of tools for ecommerce, including Whatsapp chat integrations, catalog and website management, and multi-platform management. Lummo is committed to further investing in its platform so that it can emerge over time as a holistic full-stack SaaS solution for MSME ecommerce.
LummoSHOP launched just over a year ago and is already resonating with the market. LummoSHOP’s Gross Merchandise Value grew by 11X from Dec 2020 to Dec 2021. Until recently, MSMEs in Southeast Asia lacked solutions to help them sell online outside of marketplaces. We are enthusiastic about the prospect for LummoSHOP to enable these merchants to enter the ecommerce market, and we are proud to announce our participation in Lummo’s $80M Series C.
At CapitalG, one of our core investment themes involves backing the next generation of ecommerce companies, as well as those companies building the infrastructure to support them (see our investments in Stripe, Whatnot and Curated). We are incredibly bullish about the rise of ecommerce globally, and we believe that Lummo is positioned to become the leading D2C ecommerce enabler in Southeast Asia.
Lummo co-founders Krishnan Menon and Lorenzo Peracchione started out in 2019 on a mission to revitalize the MSME retail sector via technology. We’ve gotten to know them over the past year and have watched in awe as they’ve expertly built LummoSHOP into a powerful ecommerce platform. Krishnan and Lorenzo are the kind of mission-oriented, visionary founders we love to support, and we could not be more excited to finally officially partner with them and their extraordinary team.
We look forward to supporting Krishnan, Lorenzo and the entire Lummo team as they continue on their incredible journey to unleash the full potential of Indonesia’s ecommerce market.
Special thanks to Tim Odukale for his work on this investment.