Let us imagine what the world was like 20 years ago. Online shopping was not the norm amongst consumers. If they needed to buy something, they head to the shop. It was simple like that, until teleshopping emerged. Even then, teleshopping was not something that was easy – it was riddled with endless TV advertisements, the hassle of having to call in to a hotline, the wait to put in an order, and the horror of them all – the payment, which had to be done through bank transfer.
It is of no wonder that teleshopping never really resonated with Malaysians; after all, it was not a cheap affair as most of the products were brought in from abroad, thus incurring great shipping and other third party costs.
Fast forward to present day, online shopping has become something of a novelty, thanks to the advent of innovation and technology. These catalysts have enabled e-commerce to thrive, especially in a new market such as Malaysia. In a nationwide survey conducted by 11street, with more than 3,500 respondents, 83% of them have shopped online before, with 1 female shopper for every 0.73 male shopper.
And why not? Online shopping has an array of benefits ranging from competitive prices, exclusive products and even a guaranteed return policy. These are just some of the reasons cited by Malaysians as they look forward to their online shopping experience.
In a time dominated by the presence of the Internet, mobile phones and applications, e-commerce has taken a precedence with today’s Malaysians. With almost 60% of Malaysians shopping online once a month, it can be safely assumed that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with online shopping. This number will continue to grow.
In fact, this belief applies for East Malaysian shoppers as well. The survey results also showed that those in Sabah and Sarawak are more likely to purchase items online than those in Peninsular Malaysia. Due to the rising awareness of online shopping, potential deals and discounts, people are becoming increasingly attracted to the lure that is e-commerce.
Additionally, the growth of infrastructure such as more payment gateways and faster deliveries will definitely make it easier for Malaysians from every nook and corner to indulge in online shopping.
What’s more interesting, the revolution of online shopping is also encouraging the shift in consumer’s purchasing behaviour. Lifestyle, standardised and fast-moving goods categories such as fashion and beauty, electronics as well as sports and hobbies will continue to enjoy high engagement rates in the coming years to come, but consumers are expressing their interest in exploring less-famous categories such as home and décor, household and groceries, and even health and supplements.
Hence, as online shopping gains interest in the next few months amongst Malaysian consumers, it is predicted that daily essentials, personal and home and living items such as groceries, furniture and health supplement will soon become common products purchased online.
The e-commerce market, especially in Malaysia, is bullish with non-online shoppers expected to hop aboard the online shopping bandwagon as a measure to save cost, enjoy the ease of having a wide variety of product categories at their fingertips, and keep up with the trend.
While shopping has always been synonym with women, 11street’s survey revealed men will be two times more likely to shop online. With this, it is also noted that e-commerce product categories such as sports and automotive are set to take over. This means, no more going to the work shop to change those squeaky wipers or going to the sports store to try on that pair of shoes. Connectivity will enable convenience especially for the busy consumers.
At the same time, the survey also highlighted that married couples are two times more likely to shop online as compared to singles.
The sudden spike in married couples looking online to fulfill their shopping needs is due to the vast product offerings that can be found on an e-marketplace. From fancy meal vouchers, accessories and jewellery, those anniversary and birthday present shopping is going to be a breeze!
While it may not seem like it was too long ago since the first ever item was bought online, the e-commerce sphere has definitely evolved in the past 20 years.
Today, the e-tailing business shows no sign of slowing down; rather, it is continuously growing as new digital solutions are being developed and online retailers are coming up with new and innovative ways to meet their online customers’ needs.
With that being said, it looks like a hopeful 2017 for online shopping. The never ending strive for better infrastructure will eventually lead to a fully digitalised nation.
As most things from groceries to car parts can be purchased online, it is only a matter of time before technology takes over and adds more comfort into our lives. We look towards 2017, and beyond.