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Malaysians score high in Southeast Asia online shopping, Google finds

AvantiKumar | July 21, 2014
The new study by TNS Research for Google also shows fresh online opportunities for Malaysia’s retail industry.

Shylendra Nathan - Google Malaysia modified 

Photo - Shylendra Nathan, Industry Head, Google Malaysia.


According to TNS Research's new study of online shopping in Southeast Asia for Google, more Malaysians will take to shopping online with two out of five Malaysians (43 percent) - who have never purchased online before - will start in the next 12 months.

Google Malaysia industry head Shylendra Nathan said a major factor behind the move to shop online was to save time and should present "a major opportunity for Malaysia's retail industry to reach and influence shoppers online. "The two out of five (43 percent) of Malaysians who have never shopped online and who expect to start in the next 12 months closely matches the rest of the region: the Philippines reported lowest at 40 percent and the highest figure is from Indonesia with 46 percent indicating they intend to switch to online shopping within a year."

He said half of these new online shoppers' first purchase will be clothing. Malaysia's percentage is higher than all the other countries in the survey, with the lowest reported number coming from Singapore at 31 percent.

Overall, South East Asia looks like a great place to run an online clothes store, with this survey revealing that apparel is by far the most popular online shopping - for example, clothes are bought nearly three times as often as mobile phones or books, said Nathan.

He said consumers in Malaysia and the rest of the region do not place price as the most important factor in their online shopping experience.

When Malaysians were asked what was the single more important factor in shopping online 'saving time' was mentioned as often as 'price,' said Nathan and that this trend was repeated with shoppers across all countries surveyed except Singapore.

 Some obstacles remain

He said the study, which also looked at how shoppers used the web in general, showed that 72 percent of the Malaysian respondents said that online ads triggered direct action. Only Indonesia scored higher (79 percent) while other countries suggested that search and social attracted the most attention.

However, some barriers remain in the way of the enthusiasm for online shopping, said Nathan. Security remained the strongest barrier to online shopping with almost half of Malaysians reported being "worried about the security of my financial details online."

He said that if online shops were going to flourish, retail sites must overcome this hurdle to earn the trust of consumers. The survey also showed that sometimes nothing beats the experience of physically going to a store. Two out of five Malaysians worried about missing out on the thrill of the haggle, concerned about not being able to bargain online.

The survey also asked retailers what they thought about the online shopping experience. Sellers in Malaysia, much like their regional counterparts, do not expect to get the highest prices online, but they appreciate the chance to reach a large audience of consumers. Almost two out of three of Malaysian sellers said that their number one reason for selling online was the sheer volume of consumers, said Nathan.

He added that the web was changing the way people shop and that the next twelve months will be an exciting time for online retailers.

In partnership with TNS Research, Google conducted a 25-minute online survey of 1000+ males and females aged 16-60 in five Southeast Asia markets- Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.


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