Aug 06, 2021

Usage and attitude of Malaysians towards buying milk online

Malaysians' consumption of bottled / carton milk has always been on a steady rise*1 for the past decade as reflected by the growth of the milk industry. Now, the question is how has the pandemic influenced the milk consumption in the past 12 months? Recently, Vodus surveyed 7,000+ Malaysians from June 2021 to July 2021 to understand the market size, usage & attitude (U&A) of Malaysian milk consumers, the e-commerce landscape, and the future uptake of bottled / carton milk products in Malaysia.

The data was gathered using Vodus’ pioneered OMTOS methodology, which draws survey samples from a population of 17 million consumers across the Vodus Media Network, comprising Media Prima’s, Astro’s and the Star Media Group’s online publisher platforms. The data was post-stratified to accurately reflect the Malaysian population.

Types of milk purchased by Malaysians in 2021



Fresh milk and UHT milk are consumed by 2 out of every 10 Malaysians respectively. Fresh milk is preferred over UHT milk across all ethnicities. Chinese consumers show a strong preference for fresh milk as compared to other ethnicities. Malaysians aged 25 to 44 show a higher preference for fresh milk than other age groups, while consumers aged 35 to 44 show a slightly higher preference for UHT milk compared to other age groups. Younger consumers (18 to 24 years) and retired consumers (aged ≥ 65) are less likely to purchase any type of milk (6 in 10 of those in these two age groups do not consume any type of milk). The average monthly spend by Malaysians on bottled / carton milk is RM87. Indian consumers, as well as younger and retired consumers spend more on milk. There is no significant difference in the average spend among males and females.

Popular e-commerce platforms to shop for bottled / carton milk

30% of milk consumers in Malaysia show a strong preference to purchase milk through online channels, and the remaining 70% prefer to purchase through offline channels only.

Those who purchase their bottled / carton milk online prefer shopping at Shopee, Lazada, Tesco Online and HappyFresh. Half of those who purchase the milk online purchased milk from Shopee, while 2 in 10 consumers purchase from Lazada and the remaining platforms have a share of about 1 in 10 purchasers. Tesco Online records the highest purchase frequency with an average frequency of 17 times a month, while the remaining platforms record an average of 9 to 11 purchases a month.

Platforms like Lazada and Shopee are preferred for their convenience, HappyFresh is preferred for its affordability, while Tesco Online is preferred for its convenience and for its fresh products. When questioned on whether they expect a change in the frequency of their online purchases in the future, half of the consumers expressed that the frequency of their purchases would probably remain the same.

Reasons why consumers opt for online shopping

Milk consumers cited convenience, affordability, prioritizing their own safety during the pandemic, and the movement restrictions imposed by the Government as the main reasons to opt for purchasing bottled / carton milk online. Chinese consumers, those aged 18 to 44, and those residing in the Central and Northern regions are more likely to cite convenience as a reason for online purchase of milk compared to others.

Propensity to purchase bottled / carton milk online at different discount levels


There is a negligible difference in the propensity to purchase carton/bottled milk online between the three measured discount amount of 5%, 10% and 15%. Hence, the ideal discount prices should be 5% to maximize the return of investment (ROI) of the marketing budget in converting offline shoppers into online shoppers. 68% of frequent Shopee users are likely to purchase milk online from the given 5% discount, likewise for 74% of frequent Lazada users.

Brands should focus on improving their brand image by differentiating themselves from other competitor brands and improve their image of important brand choice drivers. This will help to strengthen the brand equity and create differentiation. This can be attained with a brand health tracker to measure how consumers perceive a brand relative to its competitors, identify the problems with the brand image and construct an ideal branding strategy to address them. This will ensure brand awareness is successfully converted to brand consideration, preference, sales and ultimately recommendation from friends and family.

To improve sales among your target consumer, a stronger understanding of consumer behavior and attitude is required. This can be addressed with U&A and segmentation studies to identify the right segments to target and the key traits that these segments are looking for. U&A and segmentation studies will help to understand the pain points and develop a strategy to address them. With these insights, an ideal marketing campaign that targets the right audience and sends the right message can be constructed to maximize the campaign success rate.

If you would like to know more about this study or conduct a study to find out how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected your market, feel free to contact us. Vodus can help you identify and devise a strategy to seize new growth opportunities presented by the pandemic.



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