04 May 2020

Impact of Covid on Malaysian E-commerce Consumers

Due to the Movement Control Order by the Malaysian government (MCO) virtually shutting down all retail outlets in the country, more Malaysians are resorting to online services to fulfill their shopping needs. Whether these online services can retain their new online users after the MCO is lifted remains to be seen. 

Vodus has carried out the largest COVID-19 impact survey on 32,000 Malaysian adults to gauge the change in Malaysian adults’ shopping behaviour. This study focuses on 3 categories of online shopping: non-food, grocery and meal delivery.

Online Non-Food Shopping

Half of Malaysian adult populations have shopped for non-food items online during MCO. Among these online shoppers, 35% only started shopping online after MCO began. This translates to a 53% growth in the online shopper's population due to MCO.

Shopee is by far the most popular online shopping platform to shop for non-food items, followed by Lazada and Social Media. This pattern is true for both new online shoppers (started after MCO began) and experienced online shoppers (started before MCO began).

Comparing both results from before and after MCO, we can see that Shopee and Lazada have relatively lower market share among new online shoppers than among experienced online shoppers. This is because a large fraction of Shopee and Lazada online shoppers shop at both platforms while new online shoppers are less likely to shop at multiple online platforms than experienced online shoppers.

The Millennials, also known as Gen Y, shows the highest increase at 83%. Among the ethnic groups, Indians and Chinese have the highest increase in online shoppers at 89% and 72% respectively.

Comparing the preferred payment methods between new and experienced online shoppers revealed stark differences. There are significantly more new online shoppers who prefer traditional payment methods such as bank transfers and cash on delivery than experienced online shoppers. This proves that there is a strong correlation between adoption of modern payment methods with the adoption of online shopping and many new online shoppers were forced to adopt online shopping during the MCO. It remains to be seen if these new online shoppers would continue to shop online after the offline retail outlets reopens. The shopping experience of the new online shoppers during the MCO will no doubt play a major role in retaining them as a regular online shopper post-MCO.

Online Grocery Shopping

Online grocery shopping space have seen the biggest increase among the categories of eCommerce, registering a whopping 144% growth. During MCO, 37% of Malaysian adults have shopped for groceries online.

Similar to the market share of online non-food shopping, Shopee and Lazada dominates the top 2 positions, followed by Tesco and Mydin. Mobile only online grocery apps such as Happy Fresh and Grabmart takes the subsequent spots with Happy Fresh being more popular among experienced online grocery shoppers whereas Grabmart is more popular among new online grocery shoppers.

As with non-food online shoppers, the 18 to 30-year-old age group has the highest percentage of online grocery shoppers, whereas older adults (41-year-old and above) are more likely to shop offline.

Impact on Meals

A large majority of Malaysians (86%) still prefers to cook at home and only 8% of respondents uses online food delivery during MCO. Among the online food delivery users, 38% started using online food delivery after MCO began, thus registering a 61% growth in total online food delivery customers.

Food panda and Grab food dominates the top two positions for online food delivery. “Others” refers to in-house delivery services such as McDonalds' McDelivery, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, etc. Experienced online food delivery customers generally favours Food panda and Grab food, whereas new online food delivery customers generally prefers ordering directly from in-house delivery services of restaurants.

Upper income households are more likely to settle their meals either through takeaway or online food delivery, while lower income household tends to do more home cooking.

Vodus pioneered the ideal OMTOS survey method that delivers highly accurate, fast and affordable market, brand and consumer insights. If you are interested to gain more deep dived insights into an area of ecommerce using Vodus technology and solutions, please reach out to us at contact@vodus.com to find out more. 

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