Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites
E-commerce is relatively undeveloped compared to Cambodia’s neighbors. Impediments to its development include inadequate internet infrastructure, limited audiences, delivery system challenges, and minimal credit card use. In addition, almost all transactions are settled through cash-on-delivery, raising concerns about security and costs. Other impediments include the high cost of electricity and a lack of trained ICT professionals. Some local banks have begun to issue credit cards in order to facilitate purchases made through the internet. There is a growing number of online shopping websites that cater mostly to the small number of urban consumers with access to the internet. Social media, such as Facebook, is increasingly used as a platform for online shopping and media space. A draft e-commerce law is currently under review by the Council of Ministers, though it has not been made public. Cambodia is the only ASEAN nation that does not have eCommerce law.
Current Market Trends
Cambodians are adopting eCommerce both as consumers and merchants, and there is significant untapped market potential in the sector fueled by exploding internet access, high smart phone penetration and a young, growing middle class. Despite the slow development of eCommerce, there is an upward trend on tech-based startups. For example, Mediaload, dubbed the Cambodian Buzzfeed, claims 8 million users per month, and attracted $5 million in startup funding in 2019.
Cambodia’s fintech sector has developed rapidly in the past several years. More Cambodians are using their smartphones for a variety of services including QR code payments, cashless money transfers between e-wallets and bank accounts, mobile phone top ups, bill payments, ride-hailing, and purchases. Pi Pay, a cashless payment platform, was launched in 2017 and has grown to over 250,000 users. Apps such as Tesjor and Nham24 allow users to order food for delivery and pay via integrated cashless payment systems.
Mobile eCommerce in Cambodia has enjoyed fast growth over the past few years. Mobile internet access is affordable, with costs below the global average, and about 50% of Cambodians own a smartphone. Smartphone adoption is growing at a fast pace. Mobile money transfer options have grown rapidly in popularity, even in the countryside. Transactions for online shopping are made through mobile money transfers in this limited credit card market. Both homegrown and international ride hailing apps have been booming in urban areas, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanouk Ville.
Cambodia has seen a rise of active internet users, rising to 12.5 million in 2018, to roughly 75 percent of the population, while active Facebook users number 7 million. Traditional advertising methods through mainstream media such as TV and radio are transitioning to online marketing to target younger Cambodians. Cambodia is a very young country with 70% of the population under the age of 35.