EXCLUSIVE: Online Shopping Habits of Malaysian Women

More and more Malaysian women are opting to do their shopping online, especially during peak holiday seasons to avoid the usual hassle of braving traffic and queues at shopping malls – not to forget that issue of safety once you leave your house! spoke to Klas Hesselman, Head of Marketing, PayPal Southeast Asia and India to find out more about our online shopping habits, as well as some good safety measures before you click that buy button!

VB: What are the most common online shopping trends and behaviors amongst Malaysian women?

KH: Based on our ‘Skip the Queues’ survey, shopping online is becoming increasingly popular as Malaysians plan to do close to half their shopping online in order to spend more time with their family(81%) and have personal time to relax or take up a hobby(69%). Shopping online also means avoiding the pet peeves of going out mall shopping – trouble finding a parking lot (67%), queuing in long checkout lines (65%) and battling the crowds (50%).

The top categories that women expect to purchase online this festive season are Clothing (54%), Bags & Accessories(53%) and Gift Cards (28%)

With more and more choices online, both men and women are being savvier as they shop online and finding smarter ways to get the best value for their money. Our survey revealed that many Malaysians are turning to social media and that user-generated content on social media platforms have a strong influence on what Malaysians buy during the festive shopping season.

76% of respondents research online before they shop, and over 68% indicated that reviews – good or bad – would influence their purchase decision.  Interestingly, nearly six out of ten festive shoppers (57%) actively search social networks for shopping deals and promotions, while almost half (49%) were also likely to redeem offers while browsing social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

The modern Malaysian woman is becoming smarter and savvier when to comes to shopping, doing more shopping online and on mobile to save 36 hours of her precious time for what’s important during the festive season-  spending with family and friends, relaxing and celebrating the end of a great year.

VB: How many Malaysian online shops are there and is there a growing trend of local vendors?

KH: While we do not have figures on the total number of online stores in Malaysia, our recent Online and Mobile Shopping Insights 2011 Malaysia report released in June, tells us that there is huge potential for local online stores. In 2011, 70% of all online spending was on domestic Malaysian websites.The total spend on local websites in 2011 was RM1.36 billion, compared to RM608 million on overseas websites. What we are seeing is a growing trend towards online and mobile shopping, with a significant amount of this shopping being done through local vendors.

VB: What are some of the dangers of online shopping and what would you advice Malaysian women who plan to shop online?

KH: With this year’s holiday shopping season already getting underway, and more and more Malaysians doing their holiday shopping online and from their mobile devices, security is sure to be top of mind. It’s important that Malaysian shoppers take some simple steps to keep their devices and their information protected. Here are some tips on how Malaysians can protect themselves from fraud this season.

Some online shopping safety tips include:

Audit, Audit, Audit – Complete an audit of where your details are held online and on your mobile devices and delete anything that is unnecessary.

Employ password etiquette – Use a strong password which includes a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.

Beware of phishing emails – If you’re not sure if an email is legitimate, don’t click on links in the email, don’t enter your username or password and don’t give out your financial details.

Use trusted sites and a digital wallet when transacting online – Always look for the padlock icon on sites before entering your information and password. Also look for websites that start with “https” as they provide an additional layer of security. Use a digital wallet to complete an online transaction without having to enter in your sensitive financial details (like credit or debit card info) on a website.

Shop without Sharing – Always use secure payment methods to avoid cyberfraud and to shop online with peace of mind. When making an online purchase, checking out with PayPal ensures that your credit card information and other personal data is kept secure and not passed to any merchant. Paying with PayPal reduces your digital footprint and keeps your information protected.

Some mobile shopping safety tips:

Lock and password protect your phone – It’s the most important thing you can do to ensure security on your mobile device. Use a PIN/password on your device and set it to me–‐out so it locks automatically. Set your maximum number of incorrect password submissions to no more than three. In addition, use a digital wallet that does not store your sensitive financial info on the mobile device. If your phone is lost or stolen, thieves won’t be able to access your personal information and accounts.

Beware of smishing – It starts with a simple SMS trying to bait you to divulge your personal information. The “hook” to capture your personal data is in a URL you link to, or a phone number which prompt you for your personal and financial data. Never click on such links or call a number if you suspect you’ve received a smishing text. Instead call the number you have on file for the company or financial institution.

“APP-ly” common sense – Purchase or download apps from well‐known companies or do your research – such as checking reviews before downloading an app from an unknown source. Use the most up‐to‐date version of an app.

VB: Why are mobile devices increasingly becoming the tool of choice for shopping online?

KH: It comes as no surprise that almost half of the respondents (47%) prefer to use their mobile devices to shop this holiday season.  According to our Skip The Queues survey, Malaysians are becoming more comfortable with shopping on mobile devices as over two-thirds expect to shop three times or more per month on their mobile devices this holiday season.

Malaysians are considered a mobile savvy bunch with nearly 1 in 2 Malaysians (48%) holding on to a smartphone. The proliferation of mobile devices in Malaysia and around the world, is changing the retail landscape – the way people shop, pay and get things done in their daily lives.

Mobile is blurring the lines between offline and online, for instance, smartphones are influencing purchasing decisions at the point-of-sale. Malaysian shoppers are savvy, and use their phone to check out reviews and compare prices before buying a product in-store. People want to be able to pay anytime and anywhere, and mobile devices enable consumers to shop on-the-go.

The rapid increase in consumers taking to mobile shopping and the success of PayPal’s mobile-optimised checkout flows have contributed to this impressive figure. Our recent PayPal Insights (Mobile Commerce innovation) report revealed that mobile shopping increased 370% to reach RM467 million last year and is expected to grow 7 times to RM3.43 billion in 2015. Together with a burgeoning tablet market driving mobile shopping, PayPal expects mobile shopping to shape the future of commerce.

For more information on shopping online securely, visit the PayPal Malaysia website.

More about PayPal’s Skip The Queues Survey 2012 

Commissioned by PayPal, GfK conducted the online research study, ‘PayPal Skip The Queues Survey 2012’ to measure Malaysians’ year-end festive shopping behaviors. The fieldwork was conducted from October 15th to November 7th, 2012 and the survey polled a representative sample of 1,000 Malaysian online shoppers aged 18 and above. The festive shopping season is defined to be between the months of October and December.

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