C2C (consumer-to-consumer) eCommerce mobile applications are currently experiencing strong growth in Asia. They are extremely easy to use for the seller as for the buyer and allow anyone to become an entrepreneur, without paying a commission. These mobile and social successors of eBay represent a huge opportunity in a region with a large number of artisans and communities selling second-hand goods.
C2C eCommerce apps typically include a feature “chat & buy”, which allows to start a conversation on an instant messaging app with the seller / buyer to discuss the product, price, delivery, collection, and possible customization. On some platforms, it is even possible to initiate a discussion with friends about a product and share their screen with them for a more social shopping experience.
WeChat’s “Chat & Buy” interface
Thailand is one of the most advanced markets in C2C eCommerce due to its high mobile penetration (89%). Of the 39 million mobile Internet users, 37 million use Facebook, 33 million use the Japanese-Korean social network Line, and 2 million people on Instagram (Bangkok Post). More than 80% of digital consumers use social networks to search products or connect with sellers. A report conducted by the Thailand Marketing Research Society shows that 71% of smartphone users in the country are buying online on average twice a month and 90% plan to purchase online in the future.
The startups war in C2C eCommerce in Asia
- ShopSpot, a Thai startup, had 20,000 merchants, 400,000 active users and 1.5 million monthly visitors last year. It hopes to raise between 3 and 5 million in 2016 to expand in Asia.
- In an attempt to turn into C2C e-commerce platform, Facebook has announced that it will allow its Thai users to pay for products listed on the Facebook pages with a few clicks without leaving the platform. Thailand would be the test ground.
- The Chinese leader of C2C, Taobao, a platform of Alibaba Group, had 334 million active buyers in 2014.
- Shopee, a C2C e-commerce platform from the Singapore-based mobile gaming unicorn Garena, is present in several countries in Southeast Asia while its competitor Carousell, which has already raised $ 6 million this year and is preparing to raise additional 50 million to expand its service in Asia. “We are very different from Carousell. Carousell focuses on second-hand goods, while we offer a full range of products and SMEs can also sell on our platform” explained Chris Feng, Head of Mobile for Garena. “We are working on other social functions also like building a community within the app, where users with common interests can discuss”.
- In India, the number of informal vendors is estimated to be 50 million, a significant market. The startup Snapdeal, a leading e-commerce in India, bought Shopo, a C2C platform specialized in handicrafts in 2013 and relaunched it in 2015 with an investment of $ 100 million.