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The impact of Coronavirus to retail and ecommerce in Southeast Asia

For a brief of Corona situation in each country in Southeast Asia


BANGKOK (REUTERS) – Thailand announced it will close malls in the capital Bangkok as the country reported its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Saturday (March 21).

Malls, except for supermarkets, will be closed for 22 days beginning March 22 to April 12 in a bid to curb the outbreak of the coronavirus, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang said in a statement.

“For malls, only the areas that sell food and goods that are used in daily life, will be open,” Mr Aswin said in a Facebook live broadcast.

Long queues and crowds of shoppers were seen at a grocery store in downtown Bangkok with their carts full of dried goods, food and medicine.

The governor asked the public not to panic and hoard goods.

“Please don’t be alarmed, I guarantee that you will be able to buy food and goods sufficiently,” he said.

Restaurants will be open for takeout orders and pharmacies will also remain open.

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The Indonesian retail sector has begun to shut down in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with shopping centers and retail chains voluntarily closing the doors to non-essential categories. 

More than 30 shopping malls have been shut down in the country despite no order from authorities. Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (LMIRT) has temporarily closed 11 out of 23 shopping malls in the Greater Jakarta region, Bandung and Bali. 

According to LMIRT, the company will close its malls until April 9 and waive rent for all affected tenants. Essential services including supermarkets and pharmacies remain open during the shut down. 

Other shopping malls across Jakarta closed include Senayan City, Plaza Indonesia, Aeon Malls, Mall of Indonesia and Lotte Shopping Avenue. 

Meanwhile, McDonald’s Indonesia will cease dine-in services across the country for two weeks starting from April 1. The company said on its social media channels that it still offers take away, drive-through and home delivery services. 

As Indonesian retail continues to wind down, many local restaurants have also closed their doors but continue to operate through third-party apps like Gojek and Grab.

Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo is among the latest retailers to temporarily close their stores in Indonesia. 

As of today, Indonesia has confirmed 1414 positive cases of Covid-19 including 122 deaths and 75 

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  • E-commerce firm Lazada’s grocery arm RedMart told CNBC it sees “unprecedented demand” in Singapore after a brief period of panic-buying amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Local supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said since the government upgraded its disease response level last month, demand for online orders surged and its daily delivery facilities reached almost full capacity.
  • Express delivery business Ninja Van said it saw parcel volume almost triple in February for the pharmacy and health category compared to a month earlier.
  • There have been a total of 108 confirmed cases of infection in Singapore since noon on Mar. 2, and 78 of them have been discharged.

After a brief period of panic-buying in Singapore earlier this month amid the coronavirus outbreak, more people are said to be going online to purchase groceries and other items.

RedMart, Alibaba-owned e-commerce firm Lazada’s grocery arm, said it is “currently seeing unprecedented demand” in the city-state.

Shoppers “have been buying 4 to 10 times more food staples, 3.5 to 5 times more paper products, and 2 to 6 times more personal care and household cleaning supplies,” James Chang, CEO of Lazada Singapore, told CNBC by email.

Chang said that RedMart’s orders jumped when Singapore raised its disease response level to orange on Feb. 7, following a rise in locally transmitted cases. Orders on the online supermarket exceeded the company’s weekly average by 300% as people rushed to buy in bulk, he said.

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Many people are turning to online shopping during the surge of coronavirus infections in Vietnam.

Keeping coronavirus-infected respiratory droplets off of our (hopefully) much more frequently washed and sanitized hands is top of mind during these topsy-turvy times. 

In response, 50% of Vietnamese citizens have lowered the frequency at which they shop at public places, a Nielsen survey has shown. Tuoi Tre reports that in the first few months of the year, online shopping has increased by at least 20%. According to the vice-president of the Vietnam E-Commerce Association, Nguyen Ngoc Dung, online shopping has become the most viable way for people to purchase what they need. 

Tiki, one of Vietnam’s leading e-commerce sites, has reported strong growth in the first few months of the year, the news source adds. A representative from Tiki told Tuoi Tre that during peak periods their orders can reach 3,000–4,000 per minute and they need to continuously re-stock merchandise. Their most sought-after products are face masks, wet tissues and air-purifiers. 

SpeedL, an e-commerce site which is managed by Lotte Mart, has seen a 100–200% surge in their orders. Similarly, Saigon Co.op has seen a tenfold increase in orders placed online or over the phone, a representative of the retailer told the news source. Shopee and other e-commerce sites have increased their stocks of sought-after dried and canned foods to meet demand. 

Hoai Thanh, a Binh Thanh resident in Saigon, told the news source, “I know online shopping is not completely safe. That’s why I always wash my hands thoroughly after receiving a delivery.”

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How Vietnam’s e-commerce firm Tiki is tiding over COVID-19 crisis

In peak times, Tiki Vietnam received 4,000-5,000 orders per minute, with top-selling products being masks, wet tissues, and air purifiers

The novel coronavirus spreading fast globally, affecting about 180 countries and territories and claiming over 10,000 lives. While almost all industries got severely affected by the virus, e-commerce is seeing massive growth as people prefer to shop online while staying indoors., a leading e-commerce firm in Vietnam, is also witnessing a growth in the number of orders. Let’s look at how Tiki is growing amidst the corona crisis and the different measures it has taken to tide over the epidemic.

15 per cent revenue growth from the beginning of February

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The Philippines’ largest retail landlord SM Supermalls says retailers’ sales have dropped both at home and in China due to the coronavirus crisis. 

According to ABS-CBN, local sales of the group fell by 10-20 per cent in the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak as people avoid shopping and eating out in the Philippines for fear of exposure. 

In Mainland China, where SM operates malls, sales have slipped by up to 50 per cent in tenant’s stores.

At the same time, other Philippine retailers have witnessed a 30-50 per cent decline across the “total retail environment”, according to Roberto Claudio, vice chairman of the Philippine Retailers Association.

“That drop will go down into billions (of pesos) in terms of lost sales and revenues,” said Claudio. “If this goes on toward the end of the year, it is going to be devastating for most retailers and malls.”

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Online retail, already booming, will grow even more as consumers spend less time in public. Expect massive gains in e-commerce delivery services for grocers and restaurants. And of course, the general retail market will continue to shift dollars on-line.

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