SINGAPORE: Almost half of online women across South East Asia have sold products online in the past year, according to research which suggests this entrepreneurial trend is having a significant impact on local economies and communities.

Data from Carat's Consumer Connection System (CCS), part of Dentsu Aegis Network, indicate that 47% of women in the region have generated or supplemented their income through online selling.

Writing in Marketing Magazine, Marie Gruy, regional director of Carat Asia Pacific, said that in Indonesia some individuals reported generating up to US$4,600 a month, or almost seven times the national average salary.

More than 300 online women were surveyed in three markets and more than half (55%) of those in Indonesia were found to be operating this way, compared to 50% in Thailand and 35% in the Philippines, eMarketer reported.

Across all three markets, clothing and accessories were the most commonly traded products, followed by appliances and electronics in the Philippines and Indonesia and cosmetics and personal care in Thailand.

Gruy also observed a trend towards selling locally made products – such as customised hijabs in Indonesia.

Women in Thailand preferred to sell via social media sites rather than via classifieds sites, while the reverse was true of those in the Philippines and Indonesia.

And the device of choice for these operations was more likely to be a desktop than a mobile in Indonesia and Thailand (both 30%), but mobile was more widely used in the Philippines.

The growing number of female entrepreneurs is not limited to the privileged few, said Gruy. The online selling trend is being driven by the fact that women face "little to no start-up costs plus a number of widely accessible apps which make setting up online stores as easy as possible".

Data sourced from Marketing, eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff