Dec. 20, 2016
Image (IDG) - eCommerce
According to a new survey of shoppers from all 14 Malaysian states, there are five key leading trends for the coming year.
Through its recent nationwide survey from 15 to 21 November, in which 3,507 respondents participated, online marketplace 11street said it has overall confidence in the country's online retail sector for 2017.
Hoseok Kim, chief executive officer of 11street, said: "Based on the findings of our survey, we can conclude that the online shopping sphere in Malaysia is thriving, fuelled by a strong potentials for it to mature further and grow."
"The survey revealed the psyche of Malaysian consumers who shop online, and provided us with the information to form our predictions for Malaysian eCommerce in 2017," he said.
More than 80 percent of the respondents said they shop online and 59 percent said they shop online at least once a month or more frequently, said Hoseok.
Photo - (From left) Hoseok Kim, CEO of 11street; and Wong Siew Lai, Vice President of Marketing Communication of 11street.
"However, despite the availability of a myriad of product categories, Malaysian consumers are still only 'somewhat experimental' in their purchasing behaviour and largely stick to lifestyle and fast-moving products such as electronics, fashion and beauty, and sports and hobbies," he said.
Smart devices lead, apt infrastructure
Smartphones continue to lead as the device of choice for Malaysians consumers to shop online, according to 80 percent of the respondents, said Kim.
This underpins 11street's belief that Malaysia is now equipped with an apt IT infrastructure to pave the way for the e-commerce ecosystem to grow in the country, he added.
In addition, 95 percent of the respondents rated a '5' and above when asked about their satisfaction level with online shopping, and said they "are more than happy with their online shopping experience."
Shoppers also said savings often realised through online shopping allowed them to offset the rising costs of living. Cost savings when shopping online remains a strong driver for eCommerce's continuing growth.
2017: Five keys for Malaysian eCommerce
1. Online Shopping is the way forward
11street predicts that existing online shoppers will continue to buy more frequently, and non-online shoppers will start to explore eCommerce in the next 12 months.
This is based on the results of the survey, in which out of the 17 percent of respondents said they had not shopped online before, while 85 percent showed interest in seeking out online shopping within the next year.
Their interest is likely encouraged by the satisfaction of existing online shoppers, as well as the good prices they can find online.
2. Payment Methods will continue to mushroom
While cash is king, 11street foresees that Malaysian consumers will be open to the idea of exploring non-cash payment methods such as online transfer, and through credit and debit cards, led by 90 percent of the survey respondents who pay cash-on-delivery being willing to try other non-cash payment methods in the next 12 months.
3. Exploration into new product categories
In addition, survey respondents said they will consider home décor and furniture, household and groceries and health and supplements "as top priority categories in 2017."
As consumers become more familiar with online shopping, 11street expects consumers to shop online more for daily essentials, fresh produce and personal items.
4. Express delivery will gain traction
In general, 90 percent of the survey respondents said that they would be willing to wait up to one week for the delivery of their purchases. Yet while they was asked about express delivery, more than 60 percent of them said that they are willing to pay extra up to RM10 for express delivery. 11street sees this as setting the trend for express delivery moving forward, in which consumers expect faster delivery at more affordable price.
5. It goes beyond price
While consumers are used to cost-saving benefits from online shopping online, sellers must now go the "extra mile to deliver better services" by using analytics such as the processes of managing growing sales volume, rising expectations on logistics, and delivering impeccable customer service.
The survey comments included the prioritisation by respondents of 'timely delivery' and 'positive customer review,' among others, as their key considerations when it comes to online shopping.
As eCommerce continued to become more integral to the lives of Malaysian consumers, the barriers between eCommerce and traditional brick-and-mortar retail will be levelled, said Kim
Looking ahead, he said: "In 2017, we expect to see a substantial shift in the marketing plans of many businesses, whereby they will transcend from being device-focussed to more people-focussed. After all, consumers these days are not only on the look-out for the best deals, but also other factors that meet their needs and cater to their demands. On top of online deals, good customer service and excellent logistics will set the path for online businesses moving forward."
A version of this article was first published on Computerworld Malaysia 20 December 2016.