The pandemic has unquestionably caused people to be more frugal and cautious about their spending. Although Malaysians are still big spenders on food (no pun intended), we’ve spent much less on other non-essential items. So what else has changed in the consumerism landscape since the corona attack? Let’s have a look.
More Malaysians are shopping online 📲
Due to the MCO, fewer people are visiting brick-and-mortar stores to shop. If grocery dates or jalan-jalan at the mall were the norms before, today, people prefer contactless and online purchases. It’s faster, more convenient, and most importantly, reduces the chance of getting the dreaded virus🦠.
Last year alone, Malaysia saw a 48% growth in consumers who cite online as their primary shopping channel (Bain & Company, 2020). The top three e-commerce players in Malaysia are Shopee, with 46,943,300 monthly web visits in the first quarter, followed by Lazada and PG Mall (Iprice Insight, 2021). Who knew Phua Chu Kang dancing on tv would really be that appealing, huh?
Cash is less popular 🏧
Yes, you read that right. Compared to cash, more Malaysians prefer making payments via bank transfers. About 44% of transactions in 2019 were made through this channel. The number is expected to stay around that range until 2023 (JP Morgan, 2020). Credit card payments come in second place, followed by cash and e-Wallet.
Interestingly, a new payment option known as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is also getting traction. This option gives consumers more flexibility to control their expenses because they can pay in instalments without having credit cards. Sounds sexy and harmless, right? Well, that’s only if you have planned your budget well and you take up only ONE BNPL at a time. Otherwise, there is a tendency to overspend and not be able to pay back.
More time researching = less money 💰
Nowadays Malaysians prefer spending more time researching for products that fit their budget and needs. Shopback (2021) survey revealed that 94% of their respondents would compare prices across different marketplaces to look for the most affordable option. One thing to note is that 75% of those polled said they now spend more time comparing product pricing than they did last year. This means that we are becoming more budget-conscious.
Health is wealth 💪🏼
If anything, this pandemic has revealed that taking care of our health is more important than ever. Consumers are becoming more proactive in taking control of their wellness by spending more on supplements, preventive care items, healthy food, and fitness products. Pharmacies like Guardian show an upward trend in their web traffic as more people look for these items (Similarweb, 2021) 💊.
Tbh, it’s better to spend on these items than getting stuck in quarantine centres. 😷🛌
Green is the new black ☘️
Recently, we can also see Malaysians showing more support to brands that promote sustainable products and services. We’re talking about reusable items, sustainable fashions, and organic food. Just looking at last year’s Malaysia Year in Search, there was a 285% growth in ‘metal straw’ searches, a 95% increase in ‘second-hand furniture’ searches, and a 75% hike in ‘zero waste’ searches (Google Trends, 2020).
A survey by Sendle found that 57% of consumers would change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact 🌱. This shows that Malaysians care about being eco-conscious. That’s not just great for the turtles, but for our future generation as well. #proud 🐢🌎
Should we spend more? 🧐
Although more spending helps the economy, for now, we should focus on what we need than what we want. At HeyAlfred, we are hopeful that things will get better soon, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful with our expenditure.
Earn money -> Save money -> Spend money -> Track money (with HeyAlfred, ofc).
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