Online shopping is relatively new to Indonesia, but it has exploded in recent years. It is said that by 2020 the market will have a value US$ 130 billion. That places it third in Asia, just behind China and India. For expats here, the online shopping scene may seem different than what they were used to back home. Fortunately, we have an overview of online shopping options in Indonesia.
Advantages to Online Shopping in Indonesia
For the convenience, online shopping is hard to beat. Some advantages are well known, such as more selection and cheaper price. As a bonus you don’t have to haggle and will not be charged “tourist” prices.
- Competitive pricing
- Get hard to find items
- No haggling
- No “tourist” pricing
- Shipping locally is relatively cheap
- Saturday delivery
- Same day delivery available in Greater Jakarta for some sites using Go-Send
Some pitfalls to Online Shopping in Indonesia
While online shopping in Indonesia offers many advantages, there are a few pitfalls:
Kosong (no stock). The dreaded word, also applies to online shopping in Indonesia. The big online shops usually have accurate stock levels indicated. However, when dealing with online marketplaces, check with the seller for availability.
Palsu (counterfeit). Due to lack of enforcement, the Indonesian marketplace is rife with fakes. Some sellers will have no shame in describing a fakes by its trademarked name.
Credit cards may not be accepted. Credit cards are not widely used in Indonesia. Therefore, merchants have to adapt to receive their payments. The most common way is via bank transfer. Remember, you do not have the same protection as you would with a credit card. Reversing a bank transfer is usually not possible.
Drop shippers. Merchant who are drop shippers (only collecting the orders, then passing it on to another merchant) may have long delays in shipping. Even worse, you could be told that they don’t have the product after a long wait.
Scammers. If it is to good to be true, it probably is. Check for reviews, reputation, and photos. Choose online sites that protect the buyer. Remember that if paying by bank transfer, you may have no recourse for a refund.
Taxes. If you are buying goods from outside of Indonesia, you will be subject to taxes. The exemption is currently at US$100 (inclusive of shipping charges). Anything beyond that is taxed at the full value of goods + shipping. Indonesia’s importation tax is among the highest in the world.
Difficult to import items. It is difficult to ship in foods, drugs, and cosmetics. They require special authorization from BPOM (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan – Food and Drug Inspection Agency). These includes prescription drug, supplements, and things like perfume and cosmetics.
International Online Merchants
The big international sellers do ship to Indonesia. Unfortunately, often only a limited inventory and with high cost of shipping and taxes. You also have to deal with customs for items that exceed the exemption. Customs may also flat out deny some items.
Amazon.com: You can filter for items that are available for shipping to Indonesia. At check-out, the invoice will include the shipping fee and an import duty deposit for customs. Excess of import duty collected will be refunded by Amazon within 2 months. Even with the cheapest shipping option, goods still arrive within 10-14 days in Jakarta.
Aliexpress.com: An international marketplace and retail arm of Alibaba Group. Prices are generally low. However, there are many counterfeit and white label item. Good for electronic, phone and car accessories. Shipping is usually free or very cheap albeit slow (+/- 30 days). Express shipping is available for an extra fee. Items above the import duty limit will be taxed by the Indonesian customs. Of course the fee is paid by the buyer.
Ebay.com: Just like Amazon, you should check if the seller is shipping to Indonesia. Some sellers use Global Shipping, and include the taxes in the order. Otherwise, import duty is to be paid by the buyer at the customs office if applicable.
Local Brick and Mortar’s Online Presence
mataharimall.com: This outlet is owned by Lippo Group. They also owns brick and mortar Matahari Department Store and Hypermart. It has many payment options, including COD. You can also pick-up and return goods bought online at your local Matahari Department Store.
Local Online Marketplaces
Online Marketplaces are a place for buyers and sellers to meet, similar to eBay. Here you can both buy and sell items. Online marketplaces provide protection for the buyer and act as an escrow. Further, they have integrated shipping and a large selection of goods.
Tokopedia.com: probably the largest and most professional local online marketplace. The offer many forms of payments, buyer protection and even installment payment. Same day delivery available in Greater Jakarta via Go-Send.
Bukalapak.com: another local online marketplace option.
Olx.co.id: This is the local branch of international online market place giant OLX. A larger number private sellers makes it the perfect place for buying second hand stuff. You can filter for your local area and just meet the sellers directly.
Local Online Merchants
Lazada.co.id: one of the largest online shops in Indonesia. It recently suffered from its rapid growth which led to order processing delays and a hit to service quality. However, it is improving. Lazada offers many shipping and payment options and fast order processing.
blibli.com: provides a wide range of goods and services. Besides the usual fare of clothing and electronics, you can find things such as show tickets, prepaid refill vouchers and vacation packages. The also have a number of partner merchants, blurring the lines between online marketplace and merchant.
Some sites cater to a very specific market. Often these are small to medium merchants. Therefore, they can provide good value while still having some customer service and support not available from private sellers. However, some of them may have difficulties in responding to English queries.
Computers – enterkomputer.com, nanokomputer.com, bhinneka.com, jakartanotebook.com
Electronics – jd.id, dinomarket.com
Fashion – zalora.co.id
Indonesian modern handcraft goods – marketplays.id
Hotels & plane tickets – traveloka.com, pegipegi.com
Events & Concerts – tiket.com, kiostix.com
Babies stuff – www.orami.co.id
B2B supplies – bizzy.co.id
Visit the Expat Indo Forum and add your voice!
Author’s Note: Neither the author nor Expat Indo were compensated by any of the companies listed here. First and foremost, we wanted to give an impartial overview of online shopping in Indonesia for the benefit of our community. For this reason we also did not directly link or affiliate link to any of the sites mentioned here.