Key Trends to Watch Out for in Malaysia’s Golden Age of E-Commerce

Feb 23 2022

Malaysia is seeing a massive boom in its mobile e-commerce market.

Our e-book “Malaysia – 2022 E-Commerce Industry Insight”, reveals the top trends to look out for in this mobile-first landscape, which you can read more here.

In 2020, Malaysia’s mobile e-commerce was valued at a $4.9 billion market, a sharp increase from $4.5 billion in 2019. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the market is set to accelerate further at a compound annual growth rate of 19.7% to 2023. By 2023, the market is valued at $8.9 billion dollars.

More Malaysians are also spending more time online. Over 80% of the population are active internet users (27.4 million). The internet penetration is 88.56% and the smartphone penetration is nearly 89%. In addition, 52% of online shoppers prefer smartphones as the primary shopping devices, further promoting the rapid growth of the e-commerce market.


What does that signal for the e-commerce landscape? In this blog post, we single out some of the most important trends to look out for.

  1. International brands and platforms are reshaping Malaysia’s e-commerce landscape
    • Cross-border e-commerce is a major part of the Malaysian online shopping experience. It accounts for 44 percent of overall e-commerce sales, with more than half (52 percent) of Malaysian online shoppers spending cross-border.
    • China ranks as the top overseas shopping destination, due to its sophisticated e-commerce experience, advanced social commerce options and wide range of products, followed by the other top two destinations of Singapore and Japan.
  2. Cross-border platforms are deploying more strategies in Malaysia market
    • Malaysia’s top e-commerce sites by traffic are marketplaces Shopee and Lazada. It’s no surprise that these platforms are capitalising on major annual shopping events to strengthen their position.
    • For instance, Lazada drops the biggest promotions on Singles Day. This is a 24-hour shopping marathon that started in China and eventually was adopted by retailers in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, Shopee focused on improving their gameplays, live streams, and collaboration with micro-influencers.
  3. Hottest products in demand
    • In 2020, Malaysia’s top five categories of online sales were Travel ($2.65 billion), Fashion and Beauty ($1.42 billion) , Electronics ($1.17 billion), Toys and Home ($8.36 million), and Furniture and Appliances ($5.86 million).
    • With restrictions caused by the pandemic, the cross-border trade of 3C electronic products has surged even more, according to Deloitte’s recent research.
  4. Barriers of doing cross-border e-Commerce in Malaysia
    • However, cross-border e-commerce platforms were hindered by the high logistics costs, challenges in clearing customs. Other barriers included high platform expenses, low awareness of brands and difficulties in marketing.
    • And while collaborating with a third-party platform was a trend, there were various concerns voiced out by sellers, such as having to incur various expenses and lack of marketing guidance. They also faced fierce competition, overlaps in information, and lack of information sharing.

Malaysia’s robust e-commerce sales growth, rising basket spend, and dynamic, digitally savvy population makes the country full of opportunity for merchants. Meanwhile, the Malaysian government is keeping a close watch on this trend and is new taxes, regulations, and domestic incentive schemes accordingly.

As newcomers enter this market, Malaysia is maturing into a key Asian e-commerce market to watch out for.

Find out more about the promising opportunities in our e-book “Malaysia – 2022 E-Commerce Industry Insight”.

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