Conducted in the first quarter of 2023, our latest research seeks to explore the evolution of data analytics and digital commerce strategies amongst consumer companies in three of Southeast Asia’s largest digital economies: Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

What we found was unanimous agreement on the proven value creation of data analytics: all survey respondents reported significant cost savings and revenue growth from their organisation’s investments in data analytics, with the majority also expecting future spending to increase.

When it comes to utilising digital commerce channels, digital marketing capabilities were perceived to be the top advantage; however, several pain points relating to channel conflict, fears of cannibalisation, and gaps in IT support capabilities continue to hinder efforts.

The consumer industry’s journey towards digital maturity

Three key trends encapsulate the forces shaping the consumer industry’s journey towards digital maturity:

Building a digital enterprise



Embracing a digital culture



Adopting a seamless omnichannel approach


Focusing on four critical priorities

To advance in their journey towards digital maturity, consumer companies will need to focus on four critical priorities in the near to medium term:

Given that Southeast Asia is currently still at a relatively nascent phase in the adoption of data analytics technologies, consumer companies across the region display a marked preference for fast-follower strategies over leader strategies. Such follower strategies offer a number of advantages – in particular, the ability to identify proven use cases and common pitfalls for the implementation of a given digital application. The key to success, however, lies in being fast: to quickly close the gaps with leaders, they will need to adopt accelerated strategies to advancing and operationalising their technologies. Achieving this, in turn, will require them to overcome several identified challenges in data integration and channel conflicts.

The ability to implement and optimise both prescriptive analytics and predictive analytics functions is central to the success of any organisation-wide data analytics initiative. Depending on their job function, different teams within an organisation are likely to have differing levels of reliance and use cases for the two types of tools. For example, Sales & Marketing may leverage prescriptive analytics to gain a better understanding of consumer behaviour trends in their development of commercial counter-strategies, while Manufacturing and Supply Chain may rely on predictive analytics to develop their future-focused demand and supply forecasts.

To support the expansion of their digital commerce models, consumer companies should focus on optimising their delivery networks and investing in logistics capabilities. Players in the fresh products segment, for example, may need temperature-controlled shipment capabilities, or a rethink of inventory management strategies to execute next-day deliveries. At the same time, with reverse logistics becoming a major challenge for many players, companies should also consider how they can leverage data analytics to not only determine where items should be returned and plan efficient shipping between distribution centres, but also reduce the number of split shipments and optimise store-to-store transfers.

Attracting and hiring specialised talent in the areas of data analytics and digital commerce is challenging in and of itself, but this challenge has been exacerbated in recent years with skyrocketing demand for talent and the relative scarcity of such expertise in the market. For many consumer companies, this means that investments in in-house talent development has now become a necessity – and not merely a ‘good to have’ – to support their ongoing adoption of digital technologies.