Time to whip out those credit cards.

Since 2012, internet usage in Myanmar has grown from a mere 1.8% to 21.8% in 2015. As internet penetration continues to rise in Myanmar due to the shrinking costs of data plans and the strengthening of Myanmar’s infrastructure. This means the viability of online shopping in Myanmar is becoming greater than ever before. At the moment, however, the handful of online retailers in Myanmar are still fighting to gain a foothold in the country’s market. Taking into account Myanmar’s rising number of potential online shoppers, what will help companies step up to Myanmar’s e-Commerce demands the most effectively? Speaking with the locals, we’ve learned that young people are leading the charge in making online purchases.

What young people are buying online

In Yangon, there are products young customers prefer to buy online and products that are avoided. Goods such as clothing, handbags, furniture, food, and electronics topped the list of items customers purchased online. Used and refurbished items also appeared to be a popular option to those looking to save money on more expensive items. Things people are more hesitant to purchase: expensive items such as electronics from lesser known retailers, and shoes which customers often want to try on before purchasing.

Myanmar’s online shopping payment options

There are several major banks in Myanmar that allow customers to make payments online: Co-operative Bank Ltd. (CB Bank), Ayeyarwady Bank (AYA Bank), and KBZ Bank. All three banks are located in Yangon and provide e-payment options to their customers. While Myanmar had previously been considered a Cash-Only economy, these banks offering online payment options are changing the way that people here shop. As the percentage of those using online banking grows, so will the viability of selling goods online.

Delivering goods in Myanmar

Though a ban on motor scooters in Yangon has hampered the ability of delivery services to be cheap and timely, other options exist for delivering products to their customers. Companies are using bike and taxi delivery services to bring food and other products to their customers. Although it can make for a longer wait time, young customers who are generally very busy at work are happy to use these services rather than step outside of their offices or homes. Most delivery services now only charge 1000 to 2000 Kyat (.75-1.50 USD) for their service, which is pretty affordable for the average middle-class Myanmar citizen.


Where people are shopping

Almost everyone we talk to mentioned Facebook shops before any other websites came to mind. In Yangon, Facebook continues to be the number one place for young people to do their online shopping. As we’ve mentioned before in Connecting with Myanmar Consumers, in Myanmar, Facebook IS the internet. Facebook also makes it easy for businesses to set up a “shop now” option on their page for direct sales. Besides Facebook, a number of other websites have begun to spring up. Zawgyi Mart hosts a wide range of products such as clothing, electronics, and accessories. Yangon Door to Door provides a popular food delivery service. There is even an online taxi service called HelloCabs that lets customers book their trips online.

Though shoppers over 35 are still unsure of this relatively new form of purchasing goods, there is rising potential for e-commerce in Myanmar. The young people of Yangon will tell you that ordering online has become more popular than ever. You can expect to see plenty of new Zawgyi Marts and HelloCabs popping up over the next few years. For now, the competition is slim and the rewards can be immense.

06 June 2017