Despite having a less developed economy compared to Singapore, Malaysia has a high internet penetration rate of 90%, similar to its neighbor. Additionally, the country’s high smartphone penetration rate also enable its internet economy, especially social media, to thrive.
Malaysians are spending an increasing amount of time on social media, with the latest data showing that they now spend an average of 3 hours per day on these platforms. This trend highlights the growing importance of social media in Malaysia and its increasing integration into daily life.
The adoption of social commerce has increased significantly in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is due to both merchants and customers turning to these platforms as a result of the government’s restrictions and the fear of transmission leading people to stay at home. Facebook and Instagram are two of the leading platforms that prevails with their already matured commerce system. However, Pinterest, WeChat and TikTok are not far behind as they’ve rolled out more and more commerce feature throughout the time of the pandemic.
The significance of social media in e-commerce is expected to increase substantially, as it also evolves into a critical retail channel on its own. Younger consumers frequently make purchasing decisions based on endorsements from their preferred social influencers and celebrities. As a result, incorporating these social media figures into marketing strategies will likely be a major focus for many retailers.
There were no established regulations to oversee electronic transactions conducted via social media platforms in 2023. However, All official business owners in the e-commerce sector are mandated to register with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) under its eTrade Programme. Nevertheless, with a growing number of Malaysians resorting to social commerce as a primary or supplementary source of income, it’s clear that these commercial transactions will need regulatory oversight. Therefore, it’s highly likely that the next few years we will witness the rollout of various laws and regulations aimed at safeguarding both consumers and businesses involved in social commerce.
However, the development of social commerce in Malaysia (as with some other nations) is beyond a platform of “instant” buying and selling. It can play a crucial role in sparking interest in new brands or products and influencing entertainment behaviors. This has been demonstrated by the Malaysian social media star and TikTok sensation, Khairulaming. During Ramadan this year, he managed to sell 13,000 cans of Sambal Nyet Berapi on the Shopee platform in a mere 2 minutes, exemplifying the power of social media in driving sales.
Given the latest survey available, in Malaysia there are about 30.8 million active social media users (Log in at least once in a month) in 2022. This is about 91.7 % of the addressable demographics. Also, Throughout 2021 to 2022, the number of users has grown 8 %.
Malaysia has recently become a popular location for social media companies to test new ideas and features due to its diverse demographics and the venturesome spirits of Malaysians to try new things. For example, there has been an increase in the number of Muslim fashion apparel and footwear retailers on Instagram in Malaysia, supported by a team specifically catering to the needs of Malaysian users. This trend highlights the potential for social media to support the growth of specialized retailers in Malaysia.
As social commerce grown into a prevalent form of informal retailing in Malaysia, Facebook remains the leading social media platform for this kind of casual online commerce. WeChat and Pinterest are also enjoying significant popularity. Beauty and personal care products, apparel and footwear, and toys and games rank as the most popular product categories in s-commerce, with these items frequently sold via platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Instagram stores, colloquially known as “Instashop” among Malaysians, have seen a particularly notable rise.
Smaller vendors often choose to offer their products on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These platforms are viewed as effective ways to interact with customers while also facilitating product sales. Nevertheless, online marketplaces are likely to remain the preferred choice, given their mature systems that ensure a smooth, user-friendly experience from product browsing to delivery. On the other hand, larger vendors, or those that have cultivated their own customer base such as Lotus and Love Bonito, may opt to develop their own .com websites. This approach is often preferred as it provides access to customer data analytics, which is increasingly regarded as a valuable resource.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 0.97%, there is now around 28.18 million Facebook users in Malaysia . With male users account for around 51.34% and female users account for around 48.66%.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.07%, there is now around 15.05 million Instagram users in Malaysia . With male users account for around 45.31% and female users account for around 54.69%.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.34%, there is now around 17.2 million TikTok users in Malaysia . With male users account for around 0.438 and female users account for around 0.562.
With the latest data published in January 2023, we can see that at the growth rate of 1.09x, there is now around 7.0 million LinkedIn users in Malaysia.