Shopee, the Singapore e-commerce giant owned by the Sea, has just completed a year and a half since its debut in the Brazilian market. Very popular in Singapore, Shopee is also a strong competitor for leadership in the e-commerce market in Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand. Brazil was the giant’s first bet beyond Southeast Asia. A good bet, it seems.
Although Shopee does not disclose its financial results in Brazil, there are clues that operations in the country are promising: according to the State of Mobile Report from App Annie, Shopee was the 9th most downloaded app in Brazil in 2020 and, besides that, according to recently reported, the company is transferring executives from Southeast Asia to Brazil.
In an interview with LABS, Felipe Feistler, business manager at Shopee Brazil, talked about the platform’s performance with the Brazilian consumer and the expansion plans for the country.
Driven by the e-commerce boom in Brazil, Shopee intends to invest more in the development of a sustainable ecosystem focused on local communities, companies and users. Feistler explains that in all markets where Shopee is present, it adopts a local and personalized approach, from marketing to product selection and logistics.
Shopee’s global results in 2020 show an increase of 178.3% over the previous year, reaching a revenue of $ 842.2 million. The Sea Group, the owner of Shopee, is a conglomerate Singapore-based that operates in three fronts – e-commerce, digital financial services and games. The Sea today is worth about $ 70 billion.
From global to local, from local to global
When Shopee started operating in Brazil, concentrated its offer on imported products, but shortly afterward it started to register national storekeepers and sellers.
Feistler explains that Shopee’s initial objective was to help international sellers to expand their businesses and give Brazilian customers access to global products. On the other hand, Brazilian e-commerce is still in an initial stage of development, with a lot of demand for digitization, mainly from small and medium businesses. Shopee saw an opportunity.
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“We have seen accelerated growth in helping sellers, small and medium-sized businesses and brands to digitize and scale their e-commerce businesses, and we work to serve the growing online demand as more entrepreneurs focus their efforts on e-commerce to expand their business.”
Shopee did not reveal how many national sellers it has registered on its Brazilian platform but reported that in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, the number of sellers increased 60% in 2020.
Expansion plans in Brazil
According to Feistler, there are no plans to expand to other Latin American countries in the short term – Shopee started its operations in Mexico in February this year, but only with cross-border operations. The focus is really on growth in Brazil. Shopee’s areas of growth and future innovation will focus on a central strategy of creating a personalized and social experience for users, developing new ways to engage consumers.
Several surveys show that purchases made by smartphones have increased a lot in Brazil and other Latin American countries. The bet on mobile-first is nothing new for Shopee, which was launched in Southeast Asia in 2015 first as a mobile app and then as a website.
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“As pioneers of this mobile transformation, today 95% of Shopee’s orders are placed on smartphones. The Brazilian market has many similarities with the Asian market and we saw the same engagement to mobile on our first Black Friday in Brazil last November,” Feistler says.
Feistler recognizes that the competition for the Brazilian market by international players is increasingly fierce, but he bet that there is room for everyone.
“We believe that there are opportunities for different players to meet the needs of local buyers. The consumer is always looking for the one that offers the best price and quality advantage. With Brazilian e-commerce growing in importance and scale, Shopee wants to create more value for consumers, with a satisfying and fun shopping experience, and to create more growth opportunities for Brazilian companies.”