Sea, Grab Face Slowest Southeast Asia Internet Growth Since 2017

Southeast Asia’s internet economy will log its slowest growth on record this year, a group of researchers said, as they slashed near-term e-commerce spending estimates for the region by 13%.

Total online spending will rise about 11% this year to $218 billion in the region, research from Google, Temasek Holdings Pte and Bain & Co. showed, slowing from 20% a year earlier and reaching its lowest rate since at least 2017. The biggest category, e-commerce, is set to reach only $186 billion in 2025, rather than the $211 billion the researchers estimated previously.

Consumers in the region of more than 650 million people are curbing spending to cope with elevated inflation and interest rates. Meanwhile, competition is intensifying. Global giants like Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as well as regional players Grab Holdings Ltd., Sea Ltd. and GoTo Group are vying for a slice of markets from online retailing to food delivery and ride hailing.