At an event hosted at the new Lucky Pavilion Mall hosted by CBRE Cambodia, the changing real-estate scene related to commerce trends and how the industry as a whole could adapt to these changes was discussed by a panel of experts.
The expert panel included:
- Mr. Lawrence Lennon (CEO of CBRE Cambodia)
- Ms. Sivhuang Lay (Senior Head of Operations at Food Panda)
- Mr. Bekzod Ruzmetov (Head of Research and Development at ABA Bank)
- Ms. Nearirath (Deputy Head of Finance Practice Group, DFDL)
What is Q-Commerce in the Cambodian context?
As well as the issues of changing consumer habits relating to the retail market, the relatively new concept of Q-Commerce was introduced.
The big question for many in the audience was as to the meaning of Q-Commerce, with the explanation being that it stood for quick commerce. The differentiation from e-commerce being that it pertained to buying goods that were instantly, or near instantly delivered.
An example of this was of course food delivery apps, although as Sivhuang Lay of Food Panda stated their company, as well as others were quickly moving into other fields such as retail using the Q-Commerce concept.
Q-Commerce and the Changing real estate trends in Cambodia
Despite the change in consumer attitudes caused by lockdown Lawrence Lennon stated that the retail market as whole was still growing in Cambodia, although the biggest growth had come through so called “Super Malls”, such as the ones created by Chip Mong and AEON.
These places were now concentrating much more on the entrainment and experience element, rather than simply retail as a way to compete against online retailers.
According to data provided by the CBRE there would be around 207,000 square meters of new supply by the end of 2022, with around 70 percent of that being located in malls.
This was an area likely to continue growth according to Lawrence who stated “Despite some habits changing because of Covid, places like malls are now seen as social hubs, rather than just for shopping”.
Although he did acknowledge that prices for more traditional retail spaces had dropped, much in line with other economies, where so called “high streets” are slowly disappearing.
Another avenue brought up was the possible synergy between developers and the Q and E-Commerce sectors, with suggestions such as including space for procurement centers, or cheap retail spaces for online sellers being brought up as options for developers to embrace these new industries.
Increasing the scope of online sales in Cambodia
During the panel discussion how to increase domestic online sales and indeed why consumer still chose foreign retailers such as Amazon, or TaoBao were also discussed, with Nearirath, Deputy Head of Finance Practice Group, DFDL openly asking the attendees why this was the case.
One potential reason suggested for this was a lack of a uniform QR payment system, which anyone with an account other than ABA can attest to.
Answering a question directly from Cambodia Investment Review about if the ABA monopoly had thwarted growth within the arena, Bekzod Ruzmetov Head of Research and Development at ABA Bank replied that: “It is now law that QR codes can be accessed by users of different banks, and this will later extend to retailers in Thailand and other Asian markets”, although the later would only be for ABA customers.
Another area brought up as one of concern for growth within the sector was a lack of understanding with regards to the new e-commerce law, as well as how Q-commerce could better integrate with social media.
With regards to these two questions the panel acknowledged that the new laws might cause some confusion, but also pointed out their importance with regards to protection for consumers and companies alike.
In this respects they also made a differentiation between their view of Q-Commerce and the grey area of buying and selling on Facebook, something hugely popular within the the Kingdom, but also an area existing in a grey zone with regards to the most recent legislation.