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This is part of a broader series of resources on the Malaysian eCommerce scene. To find out more, head over to our Guide on Malaysian eCommerce insights and shipping tips!
To Malaysians, the Internet has become a significant part of their lives. About nine in 10 Malaysians 15 years and older use the internet and on average, they spend more than eight hours a day online1. Almost one in four1 use some of this time to fuel the eCommerce economy as online shoppers, or eCommerce consumers.
Online spending is flourishing and exciting times wait ahead. To enhance the local eCommerce landscape, the Malaysian government has spearheaded the National eCommerce Strategic Roadmap2(NeSR). Developed in 2016, this initiative includes programmes such as transforming Malaysia into a regional eFulfillment hub3 and refining Malaysia’s last-mile delivery network.
Malaysia is indeed a lucrative market for eCommerce sellers. And when online merchants take the time to understand their market and consumers’ buying patterns, they improve their chances of serving their customers well.
For online merchants, it’s always good to know the demand for your product when assessing a new market to enter. While sources may differ on which products are the most popular when it comes to Malaysian eCommerce, it’s generally agreed that the three most popular categories in this market are:
Electronics and media4
Fashion and beauty5
Food and personal care6
A list of top Google shopping queries in Malaysia in 2019 also shows local consumers’ penchant for electronics, as well as for fashionable items and toys.
Statista estimates that consumer electronics will hold the lion’s share4 of Malaysian electronics and media eCommerce revenue in 2020. The market is growing rapidly, from US$558.1 million in revenue in 2017, to US$860.1 million7 in 2019, and is predicted to reach US$ 1.1 billion by 2024. In 2020, market revenue is expected to hit US$923.6 million8, with average revenue per user at US$96.39.
The most popular consumer electronics items for Malaysian eCommerce consumers range from USB drives, power banks to home appliances like food blenders9 according to iPrice.
According to the same report, online shoppers in the country also like to purchase laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. Samsung, one of Malaysia’s most popular mobile phone brands, was a bestselling brand10 online in 2018. Xiaomi and Huawei phones have also proved to be popular, especially during online sales events such as 11.11.
Statista reports that in 2019, Fashion made up US$874.5 million of Malaysian eCommerce’s gross market value. This figure is expected to hit US$ 1.0 billion in 2020 and in 2024, hit US$ 1.4 billion.
Malaysians have no shortage of options when it comes to where they can purchase fashion items online. iPrice reports that apart from the usual Shopee and Lazada, Zalora and Hermo also get a good chunk of monthly visits from Malaysian shoppers. All of these online shopping sites rank in the top 10 of iPrice’s11 top visited online stores in Malaysia. Nearly half of these online fashion buyers were young, single, and female12.
Local Malaysian fashion brands13 also tend to be more popular than regional and even international players, and Instagram is the best springboard for driving sales. Hijab fashion is also profitable; during Ramadan in 2018, three local fashion eCommerce platforms garnered the most searches: Fashion Valet14, Muslimah Clothing15 and Naelofar Hijab16.
Male fashion is also very popular, with Shopee survey respondents17 saying their main online buys are:
Bags and wallets
When preparing for Hari Raya, women’s top buys17 include men’s clothing and shoes as well. This is driven by Malaysians’ penchant for buying gifts for friends and family to help celebrate cultural festivals.
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Malaysians often put food deliveries and groceries18 into their virtual shopping baskets. Case in point: Malaysians collectively bought more than 27 tonnes of Milo19 in the first two hours of Lazada’s 11.11 sale in 2018. In 2019, Milo remains as one of the top sellers20 during this shopping festival.
In fact, online grocery sales in Malaysia ballooned 88 per cent in 201718. Malaysian eCommerce sales for FMCG purchases grew 50 per cent21 between June 2017 and June 2018 22.
Under Personal Care, Health & Beauty products are widely popular, making up the majority of sales23 during Shopee’s 9.9 sale in 2018.
It’s also important not to overlook Mom & Baby categories, as well as Kids & Toys. Keep in mind that Nintendo Switch and Lego were among the top 20 Google shopping queries in Malaysia in 2018.
And during Singles’ Day—one of the country’s most popular online sales events—in 2018, diapers were among the most popular items, with more than 4.5 million pieces sold19 within a day.
In fact, a report on Shopee users24shows that buyers in the areas of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu mostly bought items for mothers, kids, and babies. The report noted that “diapers, baby rompers, playmats and breast pumps” were the most purchased items.
Interestingly, data shows that men are thrice as likely12 to buy eCommerce baby goods if their income exceeds RM 7,000.
Malaysian eCommerce consumers are attracting online merchants from around Southeast Asia. Hungry for domestic and overseas products, they shop online regularly for a myriad of items, chiefly fashion and beauty products, electronic goods and media, household items and groceries, and even furniture.
It is important to find the right partner able to bridge the gap between seller and buyer, not only within Malaysia but across all of Southeast Asia. Given that 40 per cent of all Malaysian eCommerce is cross-border25, finding a competent service provider with cross-border capabilities and customs know-how makes international shipping for eCommerce a much smoother and pain-free journey.
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Find out more about Malaysian eCommerce here:
Find out the process of shipping via air freight and sea freight from Hong Kong to Singapore including customs documentation here!
Can sea freight compete in speed and price with air freight? In some cases for sea freight from Indonesia to Singapore, yes! Find out why here
Getting accurate data on the shipping label is crucial in the cross-border shipping process. Find out how you can ensure data integrity for a smooth eCommerce delivery.
With different import duty and tax rates for every country and every type of item, customs payments may appear daunting. Read on to find out how customs clearance can be made smoother with delivered-duties paid (DDP) so that you can expand into the Southeast Asian market with a peace of mind!