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Women and e-commerce in South East Asia

Women and e-commerce in South East Asia

The report Women and E-commerce in South East Asia is the first large-scale use of platform data in the region to inform the extent of women’s participation on e-commerce and how online platforms can benefit women business owners.

Across the globe, e-commerce is thriving. In South East Asia, the e-commerce market has tripled in size since 2015, and it is expected to triple again by 2025. The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) latest report shows that this growth could be even higher if we invest in women entrepreneurs on e-commerce platforms.

Developed in partnership with the European Commission, with funding from the Umbrella Fund for Gender Equality and data from one of the region’s largest platforms, Lazada, the report shows that closing earnings gaps between men and women on e-commerce platforms could add over US $280 billion to the value of the regional e-commerce market.

Achieving such gains will require proactive efforts by e-commerce platforms, investors and policymakers, to not only increase the number of women selling online, but also support their growth, including entry into higher-value segments on e-commerce platforms.

Key Findings

  • Women-owned (WO) and men-owned (MO) businesses report different motivations for turning to e-commerce.
  • Women entrepreneurs are actively participating in e-commerce but require support to grow.
  • COVID-19 has reversed or reduced the initial successes of WO firms.
  • Women are leveraging e-commerce to enter sectors where they have been historically underrepresented.
  • Women face financing gaps that e-commerce platforms are well positioned to address through emerging fintech offerings.
  • Women entrepreneurs are more likely to value training and business support.
  • Closing gender gaps in sales performance on e-commerce platforms by 2025 could yield an additional US $280 billion in platform revenues by 2030.
  • Attracting more women customers will also be key to e-commerce growth.
  • Platforms are well-positioned to support women entrepreneurs.


This report was originally published on the IFC website.

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