KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the highest percentage of digital consumers among Southeast Asia countries.
According to a study by Facebook and Bain & Company titled “Digital Consumers of Tomorrow, Here Today”, Malaysia’s percentage of digital consumers is at 83 percent (15 years old and above), with 48 percent swapping to purchasing online in the past year.
Bain & Company, Southeast Asia said digital consumer growth in the region is expected to reach around 310 million by year-end.
The study concluded that almost 70 percent (7 in every 10) of Southeast Asian consumers will opt for digital transactions by year-end and the report stated that the growth was initially forecasted for 2025 in the 2019 study that indicated a five-year acceleration within 2020.
The report also found that online retail gross merchandise value (GMV) in Malaysia is expected to double from the US$4 billion (RM16.6 billion) to approximately US$9 billion by 2025.
As forecasted in 2019, Malaysian consumers spend more online and buying into more categories online with an average of 5 categories in 2020 than 3.8 categories in 2019.
Based on Facebook and Bain & Co’s June 2020 research update titled “Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Trends that Shape the Next to Normal”, people are more receptive to online grocery shopping with 43 percent of respondents in Southeast Asia and are still active in time consumption-habits.
Malaysia’s online groceries recorded the highest growth (2.2x) in online retail penetration in 2020 since 2018.
Facebook Malaysia’s country managing director, Nicole Tan said the impact of digital adoption on businesses has never been more apparent with five years of digital acceleration condensed into one year.
“In Malaysia alone, we are expecting approximately 4 million new digital consumers in 2020. Online is no longer just one of many channels, for many businesses, it has become their main channel. It is crucial for businesses to connect with consumers in frictionless ways and to replicate in-person interactions through social platforms, messaging, and short videos as much as possible to drive discovery and loyalty,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bain & Company’s partner, Gwendolyn Lim, said the number of Southeast Asian digital consumers has grown exponentially and their consumption habits are shaping today’s new norm and looking forward, online spending is expected to triple by 2025 and reach close to US$150 billion.
“2020 is the year to hit fast forward. The rise of digital consumers in our region has accelerated at an exhilarating pace, and their discovery habits are changing. Reinforcing brand reliability and standing out from the crowd matters now more than ever, as consumers are more open to switching brands and rely more on e-commerce platforms,” she said.