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10 Trends to Know About the Malaysian Retail Space in 2019

Wondering how consumer behaviour has changed over the last few years? Find out how Malaysian shoppers shaped trends in the retail space in 2019.

Nov 11, 2022

On 21st to 23rd Feb 2019, interviewed 1,036 Malaysians nationwide to understand their shopping behaviours.

Here's what we uncovered:

1. Build a strong online presence

Retailers providing convenient purchase avenues are gaining popularity. 87%  (Yes, it’s a whopping 87%!) of consumers collectively made purchases through social media app/site (e.g. Facebook, Instagram) or communication apps (e.g. WhatsApp, WeChat). Within this group of consumers, 46% made purchases via WhatsApp, 37% via Facebook groups and 36% via Instagram chat.

Consumers who have made purchases via Social Media
Top Social Shopping Platforms

Pro-tip: Consumers are seeking convenience. Go out of your way to deliver a seamless option for them. Additionally, get personal, and go off-script. Share personal experiences and opinions. Consumers are likely to buy from you when they feel connected to your story.

2. Establish the trust factor

Over half (53%) shop in stores because they can ensure the product that they buy is of good quality, at the same time, 16% express scepticism on the credibility of retailers who are not online.

Focus on achieving 3 trust levels:

  • A consumer needs to first trust that the deal is not a scam.
  • They have to trust they are getting the product as per advertised.
  • They have to trust the product they receive is of good quality.

Pro tip: Understand the yin-yang effect between offline and online presence. Eliminate all avenues of scepticism and always appear transparent about your offerings and intent as a trusted seller. Retailers who can achieve this will establish long-lasting trust.

3. Your customers are your brand ambassadors, advocates, and detractors

A majority (71%) of consumers say they are likely to share their positive online experience, also 71% express reliance on positive reviews when making a purchase themselves.

Pro-tip: You can effectively provide a more positive and memorable experience with your brand by ensuring quality and personalized customer service is served.

4. Get on board with a rewarding Loyalty Programme

Almost all (82%) of online shoppers are likely to return to a store that provides a loyalty program. You are likely to earn returning customers by making them feel they are a part of a special club with unique perks.

Willingness to return to a store with Loyalty Programmes

Pro tip: When a loyalty programme doesn’t work, don’t just question the programme - Challenge the product, the services, and the offerings.

5. Get on the app bandwagon!

  • 52% get to know about product promotions via shopping apps.
  • 43% learn about it from shops.
  • 28% through an email newsletter.

Pro-tip: You don’t need to create an app from scratch, make use of the myriad of sources in existing marketplaces or look into mobile-app collaborations.

6. Shipping Fee Matters

With a myriad of retailers to select from and market increasingly competitive, consumers are becoming smarter about their purchases. They care about who and where they decide to spend their money. A significant (82%) amount of online shoppers reveal that shipping fee is their deciding factor in finalising a purchase.


  • Provide options and incentivise your services - free or discounted shipping can be offered to consumers who are members of your store or those who spend a certain amount.
  • Choose a delivery partner who can offer convenient pick-up points for your consumers.
  • Offer free shipping/delivery fees - Consider absorbing shipping or delivery fee in total product cost. Consumers are more likely to select a retailer which offers “Free Delivery”.

7. Nudge, Prod or Poke, just remember your CTA!

A larger part (73%) of online consumers say that they are intrigued by words such as “Free”, “Discount” or “Cashback”. Freebies are always exciting and they’re likely to click that attractive button to find out about the offer or special deal they can score.

Pro-tip: Craft your online ad or even website navigation based on the steps you want your consumers to take. Ensure 3 factors are practised:

  • Provide sufficient information either in text description or visuals. Be clear on what you want them to do.
  • Steer clear of SPAM-trigger words such as “Buy Now”, “Get it now”, “Guarantee” or “100% Free”.  Ensure your call to action is clear and your consumers are aware of the action they are taking.
  • Avoid misleading your potential customers. Offer what you promise to establish credibility.

8. Start a conversation, give them something to talk about

Almost half (45%) of consumers feel that retailers who are either not online nor have a social media account will need to compete in areas such as services or introduce more unique product offerings. Inching closely (44%) of consumers expect offline only retailers to offer enticing discounts and promotions.

Views on retailers that are not online / social media


  • It will be lucrative for your business if you are present on social media platforms. Your consumers will talk about you online regardless of your presence. Your presence can be the one factor that amplifies your sales & marketing efforts and establishes long-lasting brand love with consumers.
  • Your long term plan should be to grow your returning customer base and develop solid word-of-mouth. This can be established by developing a consistent brand persona which aids in connecting with your core audience.

9. Gen Z demands your attention

The Gen Z (Ages 15-24) are becoming more vocal and are demanding your attention. It would benefit your business a great deal to listen to what they have to say. Half (52%) of Gen Z currently place emphasis on your product’s existing reviews, with an almost equal amount (51%) concluding their purchases based on your best-offered discounts and promotions. Nurturing this generation at the early stages can prove to be rewarding as they are your future high spending consumers.

Pro tip: As it may be challenging to identify what may appeal to Gen-Zs, conducting in-depth research will be invaluable to zoom in on a more accurate characteristics segmentation.

10. Be Patient with E-Wallets

E-wallet users are at a prominent 40%, an indication of e-wallets being an emerging necessity. This is further validated by more than half (55%) of consumers who express intent to start using the mode of payment in the next 12 months. Being in-the-know about this service can place you in a comfortable position in the game.

Intent to use E-Wallets in the next 12-months

Pro-tip: Cashless payment options are becoming a necessity for consumers. Shoppers want to be given the choice to not only use their credit or debit cards these days. While e-wallets are in, you are not expected to have your homegrown app, you can instead leverage on the several readily available e-wallet partners.


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