E-COMMERCE rivals Lazada and Shopee split the lead for South-east Asia's crown in the first quarter of 2019, according to product comparison website iPrice.
Sea Group's Shopee, a relative newcomer to e-commerce, took the crown for Internet platforms with a monthly average of 184.4 million visits on desktop and mobile web, said iPrice, which used data from App Annie and SimilarWeb. That surpassed the 179.7 million average recorded for Alibaba-backed Lazada.
The lead in mobile apps, however, is less straightforward. Lazada, which had the app with the most monthly active users in South-east Asia in 2018, had the most popular mobile app in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore in Q1 2019. It was also second in Vietnam and fourth in Indonesia.
Shopee's app ranked first in Vietnam during the quarter, but came in second in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. It was third in Singapore. The Shopee app ranked second for the whole of 2018.
The regional battle between Lazada and Shopee has been heating up even though Shopee is a relative latecomer to the scene.
Lazada's web platform recorded a 12 per cent decline in its overall total average monthly visits from the previous quarter, most likely due to the differences in marketing initiatives between the two periods. The fourth quarter of 2018 saw a surge of sales for events such as Singles Day, Black Friday and Christmas, iPrice said.
In March, Lazada announced a series of products and services aimed at boosting the growth of its brands and sellers, and resolving the pain points that merchants face in marketing, branding and sales.
Meanwhile, Shopee is a rapidly growing e-commerce business, with annual gross merchandise value crossing US$10 billion for the first time in 2018. Sea said in March that it is raising up to US$1.55 billion from a new share offering for business expansion. Shopee's web product experienced a 5 per cent rise in total average monthly visits from the previous quarter, driven by increased visits in Indonesia and Thailand.
In terms of web platforms, Indonesian players Tokopedia and Bukalapak, with 137.2 million visits and 115.3 million visits respectively, took the third and fourth spots in the region. In Singapore, Qoo10's website recorded the highest number of monthly visits, followed by Lazada, then Shopee.
On mobile, Tokopedia's app bagged first place in Indonesia, the region's largest market, followed by Shopee, Bukalapak and Lazada.