KUALA LUMPUR – Almost a year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic caused movement restriction orders and lockdowns in Malaysia. Since then, individuals and businesses have learned to adapt to the restrictions and guidelines to adapt to their new normal lifestyles.
According to Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes study, more than four in 10 Malaysians shopped online through websites or apps for the first time and more than three in 10 made their first purchase online using social media channels.
Besides, 88% of Malaysians use home delivery services, of which 36% are first-time users. As shopping at physical outlets reduces, many Malaysians have opted to shop on digital commerce platforms.
Based on the study, online shopping through mobile applications and websites grew by 83% while shopping via direct delivery over phone orders increased by 65%. Malaysians are also increasing their shopping activities at online marketplaces (48%) and home-based businesses (44%).
Malaysians have also formed habits that limit physical exposure to keep them protected from the virus including wearing a face mask, avoiding crowded spaces and shared services, making payments digitally, shopping online, as well as supporting local or home-based businesses.
Ng Kong Boon, Country Manager for Visa Malaysia, said, “Personal safety has become a priority for consumers. We believe that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital commerce and consumer payment behaviours have transformed and will soon become the new normal.
“The pandemic has accelerated the nation towards a cashless society as we see more new users of digital commerce and more Malaysians carrying less cash in their wallets compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. Based on VisaNet data, one in five active Visa cardholders who did not make an eCommerce purchase in 2019 made their first online shopping purchase during the first half of last year.”
“Also, the study also showed that the pandemic fuelled a 63% increase in contactless card payments amongst contactless payment users. For every 10 transactions, Malaysian cardholders made an average of seven contactless payment transactions.
“As Malaysians become more particular about physical hygiene contactless payments will enable them to transact in a secure and seamless environment. This is an opportunity for the country to grow more cashless payments across a wider spread of everyday categories in the year to come,” added Kong Boon.
In the hope that the pandemic will soon be under control, wanderlust consumers see travel as the top category that they most look forward to spending on when borders reopen. The study showed that 43% of Malaysians look forward to making international trips post COVID-19. 30% of them also anticipate spending on domestic travel and 14% would like to do staycations in their cities.