In this article
  • A white paper report by iPrice Group was released last week, and compared six SEA countries’ e-commerce habits.
  • Interesting takeaways: Like shoppers from other countries, Malaysians were shown to prefer making purchases on desktops. Malaysians are also overall more likely to do online shopping during working hours than Singaporeans.

A white paper report by iPrice Group titled “The State of eCommerce in Southeast Asia 2017” was released last week detailing the trends in online buying and selling around the Southeast Asia region.

The report covered e-commerce habits of consumers from six SEA countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia, and compared behavioural differences in categories such conversion rate, basket size, and mobile-versus-desktop usage.

Data was analysed from over a thousand e-commerce players in the region including sites such as Lazada, Shopee, Bukalapak, and Tokopedia.

Overall, the report found a rise in e-commerce activity performed on mobile platforms (an average increase of 19% over the past 12 months), a higher Wednesday conversion rate (11%) for all countries examined compared to other days of the week (4% to 15%), as well as an overall low penetration rate for credit cards within the SEA region.

Here are a few things Malaysians will be interested to know about their own e-commerce habits.

1. Malaysians prefer to browse on their phones, but purchase through their desktops.

In one of the analyses provided, it was shown that while 74% of Malaysians browse for products via their smartphones, their preference when it comes to actually buying still remains desktop-based.

For higher priced purchases, desktops were also the preferred vehicle of purchase.

Image Credit: iPrice Group

This trend was found to be similar in the other SEA countries where this study was carried out, demonstrating the work that e-commerce marketplaces still have to do to improve their mobile shopping experiences.

2. Malaysians are more likely to shop during working hours than Singaporeans.

Analysing conversion rates during the week, it was shown that Malaysians—along with shoppers from the other included countries—loved to shop more during weekdays rather than weekends.

Image Credit: iPrice Group

More surprising however was that Malaysians were overall more likely to convert their browsing into actual paid purchases throughout the week, with this habit peaking at 4pm on Wednesdays at a 115% conversion rate (the highest among all six countries).

So employees, turns out you’ve been outed. Looks like you’ve been needing a little something to get over your Hump Day blues.

3. Malaysia is the third most shopaholic country on the list.

Sitting just behind Singapore and Philippines, Malaysia ranks as the third highest when it comes to actual basket size (amount spend per order).

Image Credit: iPrice Group

This segment drew comparisons between a country’s average basket size and their respective GDPs. It was shown that basket size had some correlation to a country’s GDP. Malaysia, while having the second largest GDP on the list behind Singapore, had the third highest basket size.

4. Malaysia is only middle of the pack when it comes to actual purchases.

Sitting fourth on the list of actual conversion rates, Malaysia lags behind Singapore (3rd), Indonesia (2nd), and surprising leaders Vietnam with a below average rate of 0.9x.

Image Credit: iPrice Group

This indicates that Malaysian e-commerce companies still have room to grow when it comes to marketing and consumer reach effectiveness.


Based on the power struggle currently occurring between the players and what we gleaned from the report overall is that there is still plenty of room for growth in the e-commerce marketplace, and many improvements to be made.

We look forward to seeing what the trends and innovations this year will be, and what the mobile-led revolution will bring.

  • If you’re interested to read more on the e-commerce trends around the SEA region, check out the full white paper report by iPrice Group here.

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)