Deloitte Launches <"The Next Wave" Emerging Digital Life in South and Southeast Asia > Report

Deloitte launched <"The Next Wave" Emerging Digital Life in South and Southeast Asia > Report today at the  INCLUSION Fintech Conference, organized by Ant Group and Alipay to foster a global dialogue on building a more inclusive, green, and sustainable world through digital technology.


Through an extensive survey conducted across age groups in eight countries in South and Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the report showed that consumers aged between 21 and 40 years old are the leading force enabling the rapid adoption of a digital life in the region in the post Covid-19 world.


Speaking at one of the media forums on Day 2 of INCLUSION, Taylor Lam, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Leader at Deloitte China, said: “Young and vibrant economies in South and Southeast Asia are rapidly becoming the ‘next wave’ of future leaders in digital economy. The combination of a relatively large, young, unbanked and underbanked population, high mobile penetration and supportive local governments has helped the region leapfrog in its digital infrastructure and innovations, which has accelerated the adoption of digital payment and the expansion of daily digital life scenarios in the region.” 


“Through our research, we have seen great potential for these digital economies to continue maturing and become more inclusive, more convenient and secure, and more sustainable, which will benefit their recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”


Key regional insights:


1. Digital payment as a key enabler is creating and connecting the digital life for consumers, making a fundamental shift in how people live, work and play. 



  • Since the outbreak of Covid-19, about 78% of the research participants indicated that they have experienced some increases in the usage of digital services, in which 41% indicated a surge.
    • Bangladesh, the Philippines and Indonesia are the top three countries seeing the highest increase in usage.
  • Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia are the top three most active countries in using digital payment.
  • Top three most common daily life scenarios where consumers choose to use digital payment are:
    • e-commerce/m-commerce (70%)
    • peer-to-peer transfer (69%)
    • in-store purchase (62%)
  • Majority of digital payment transactions are small in value, 67% of research participants indicated that the average value per transaction is less than USD30 per person.  This indicates that digital payment has penetrated consumers' daily life and has become the mainstream to meet their everyday needs.
  • Top three reasons why consumers opt to use e-wallet include:
    • Convenience (77%)
    • Contactless (69%)
    • Value-added benefits and promotions (9%)


2. Consumers in South and Southeast Asia enjoy the breadth and depth of daily life scenarios supported by digital services.



  • Top five most popular mobile apps among consumers in the region are:


    • Entertainment
      • Social media (79%)
      • Music/video streaming (50%)
    • E-commerce/m-commerce (74%)
      • Convenience, Product variety and Low price are the top three reasons for consumers to choose to shop online
    • Daily life services (59%)
      • Ride-hailing, News and Books and Workplace Collaboration are the top three most often used mobile apps in the category
    • Financial services (45%)
      • Mobile banking and digital payment are the most used mobile apps in the category


3. Driven by the rising digital payment adoption and richness in daily digital life scenarios, South and Southeast Asia region is presenting an exciting digital future.


Regional Digital Life Index is developed based on the research and on a series of parameters including mobile penetration, internet maturity and penetration, digital payment maturity, e-commerce maturity, social media activeness and local government support.


  • Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are the “Digital Life Leaders”, leading the race across all parameters
  • Thailand and the Philippines stood out as the "Digital Life follower"
    • Thailand shows a high level of mobile penetration, social media activeness, digital payment and e-commerce maturity
    • The Philippines is leading in digital payment adoption, especially peer-to-peer transfers and gaming industry
  • India is classified as the "Digital Life Potential", leading in the space of cybersecurity
  • Bangladesh and Pakistan are considered "Digital Life Catcher "


This report is produced by Deloitte in partnership with the INCLUSION Fintech Conference. Assembled at the event are the leading enterprises, experts and scholars of the financial and technology communities, to discuss global cooperation and innovations in the fields of finance, economy, commerce and environment.


Key Thailand insights:


Based on the seven indicators of digital life: mobile phone penetration, mobile Internet speed, digital payment maturity, online shopping maturity, social media activity and policy support, Thailand ranks as the “Digital Life Follower”.


Thailand is poised to catch up the “Digital Life Leaders” soon. Its relatively high per capita income has led to high mobile phone penetration, bringing digital life to the vast majority of citizens. Whether it's social media, e-commerce, offline payment or game recharging, Thai people have a high degree of acceptance and enthusiasm for the digital economy. Their high trust and dependence on social media have given birth to a unique "social media + e-commerce" shopping model.

  • Thailand has approximately 30 million digital payment users in 2020 (P.18 Statista), with transaction value at USD 8,363 million (P.19).
  • Top three most common daily life scenarios where Thai consumers choose to use digital payment are: (p.29)
    • peer-to-peer transfer (80%)
    • in-store purchase (77%)


  1. Digital payment:
    • Convenience stores are the nerve endings of the digital economy. In Thailand, 7-11 is an absolute giant in the retail industry, with nearly 10,000 offline retail stores, accounting for about 95% of the sector. These small retail stores, which can be seen everywhere on the streets, are the starting point of Thailand's digital economy.
      • TrueMoney, one of Thailand's largest payment service providers, cooperates with convenience stores. Users can recharge their TrueMoney wallets directly by purchasing recharge cards and prepaid cards at convenience stores.
    • QR code payment has become one of the most popular payment methods in Thailand, habitually used by 75% of customers, according to UnionPay and Nielsen.
      • Zero contact payment became essential during the epidemic and proved indispensable for a wide range of purposes. In Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and the Philippines, local users showed their care for others by making zero contact donations of more than USD600,000.


2. e-commerce: Users in emerging Asian markets are inclined to use mobile e-commerce than their counterparts in developed economies.

  • In 2020, Thailand is one of the top countries for e-commerce through a mobile device (75.3%), India (80%) and Indonesia (64%)


3.  Social media: For the growth rate of social media users in Southeast Asia in 2020, Thailand is a top-three country for keenest social media users. The average daily use of social media in Southeast Asia rose steadily from 2012 to 2019 and then leveled out. In Thailand, people’s daily use of social networking at 2 hours and 55 minutes compared with 3 hours and 53 minutes in the Philippines and 3 hours and 26 minutes in Indonesia.


In Thailand, 51% of online shoppers shop through social media, and 92% of e-commerce consumers use social media to view and compare products before purchasing.