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Global summary 

Seraph Studios - Digital Landscape 2019 - Global summary 

We live in the golden age of marketing. Why you may ask?

To date, the global population is at 7.676 Billion people, of which 67% are unique mobile users while 57% are Internet users.

Now let’s not forget that there are easily 3.484 active social media users. 

I’m not sure about you, but those numbers are staggering to us. Even if we are able to capture just 1% of the market, you are set for life. 

However, before we set our eyes on the international market, let’s go a little bit closer to home – Southeast Asia.

Our home region has 63% internet penetration rate of which 61% are active on social media. 

Top 3 social networks in the region: 

Top 3 messenger apps in the region: 

With such staggering numbers, you can be sure that we have quite a young audience in the region.

Sure enough, the majority of social media users in Southeast Asia range between 18 – 44 years old. 

Malaysia Summary

Seraph Studios - Digital Landscape 2019 - Malaysia summary 

All this is great, but not everyone is primed for an international market, so let’s set our sights on our homeland – Malaysia instead.

As they say, you’ve got to start from home before venturing out into the wild. 

21 statistics that matter to your business

Below we’ll take a look at 21 statistics of the digital landscape in Malaysia which you cannot ignore and what it actually means for you as a business owner: 

1) With a population of 32.25 million, there are 40.24 million mobile subscriptions. That’s 25% more mobile subscriptions vs the total population!

This shows the rapid growth and amount of mobile usage is overwhelming. As a business owner, you would be wise to make every attempt to ensure that your online presence is well established, and that your website is mobile responsive. 

2) Internet penetration is high at 80% penetration rate. That’s 25.84 million people connected to the Internet!

This is a sure sign that your business needs to be online, be it a corporate site, social media accounts or even just email. Businesses who are still unwilling to set aside a budget for developing their online presence are all but doomed to slowly fade into non-existence in the next 5 years or less. 

3) There are over 25 million Malaysians who are active on social media. Of which 24 million are also active on mobile social media.

Social media is all the rage right now, it is a spectacular source of traffic with the potential for a well written and well-timed piece of content to go viral. 

4) With a population growth of 1.3% (+421,000), the growth of Internet users is 3% (+759,000), which is more than double the population growth. 

This clearly shows that more and more Malaysians are going online, meaning that the audience for your marketing message is growing bigger year by year. This also means the you are able to capture even more leads online; in time every Malaysian will be online. 

5) The average age of Malaysians is 30 years old, which means a large number of Malaysians have buying power.

Having a large audience is good but having a large audience with buying power is even better. Thirty-year olds are at the prime of their career and earning power is growing. This gives them the buying power to purchase the products and services you have to offer.

6) There are over 88% of Malaysians using Smart Phones, while only 41% are still using laptops/desktops.

Even more reason to ensure your business website is responsive. First impressions count and you need to make sure your visitors receive a first-rate experience with a major touch-point of your business’ online presence. 

7) Malaysians spend over 8 hours per day online, of which nearly 3 hours is spent on social media.

The popularity of Social media makes it the perfect marketing channel for your business.

Social media are perfect vehicles for businesses to reach out to the communities in their niche and drive traffic back to their business websites.

They're also good for capturing and building new leads and attaining new customers.

8) 32% of Malaysian Internet users are known to use social media for work purposes. 

This shows that social media is more than just a leisure platform and that I t can be used for business purposes as well.

Marketers may use social media to reach out to their niche market, customer service may use social media to reach out to existing customers and provide support, feedback as well as build relationships with them.

9) Top 3 most active social networks in Malaysia:

  1. Youtube
    Video is the next step in digital marketing. People are shown to better engage with video content compared to static content such as text and images. The fact that Malaysians are most active on Youtube shows that Malaysians prefer video as well. 
  2. Facebook
    Almost everyone today has a Facebook account, with the introduction of Facebook Videos, we have the best of both worlds on one platform. Facebook is currently boosting video content in an attempt to rival Youtube, so shoot and post videos to further enhance your digital marketing. 
  3. Instagram
    The platform which used to be all about beautiful images also supports video now! Make use of Instagram to share bite sized video clips and build up your brand equity. 

10) Top 3 messenger apps in Malaysia

  1. Whatsapp
    The most popular messaging app in Malaysia and many other parts of the world. Messenger apps allow marketers to talk directly to each individual prospect, blast out promotional messages as well as automate enquiries with the use of A.I. messenger bots.
  2. Facebook Messenger
    A popular messaging platform in the USA, and shown to rank second in popularity amongst Malaysians. Leverage A.I. messenger bots to enhance your Facebook page experience as well as disseminate marketing information. The response rate of direct messaging is much much higher than that of email open rates.
  3. WeChat
    The all-in-one champion app in China is gaining popularity worldwide and ranks number 3 among the top messenger apps in Malaysia. WeChat is essential if you wish to reach out to the China market and it supports payments to boot! Definitely include WeChat in your marketing mix if you have the resources to manage it.

11) There are over 24 million active Facebook users monthly, of which 43% are female, 57% are male.

As we mentioned above, almost every Malaysian has a Facebook account, and there are 24 million active Malaysians on the social network!

Distribution between male and female users is almost half, which means there’s more than enough prospects no matter your product caters to males or females.

Make the best of Facebook while you can, before some regulation changes render it unsuitable for business purposes.

12) The average engagement rate for Facebook page video posts is 7.11% while photo posts get 6.44% engagement rate.

We briefly mentioned above that video is the most popular media format today and you should start creating and posting video content.

Text is generally boring, so always try to match it with an attractive image or the best would be to have a video post!

13) There are over 12 million active Instagram users monthly, of which 53% are female, 47% are male.

Instagram, mostly popular among the younger demographic, and highly relevant in today’s marketing mix.

We see slightly higher female user base here, but male oriented products still sell.

Make sure the posts you make here is of higher quality, as a picture is worth a thousand words, and a sucky image on Instagram will get buried under thousands of other posts.

14) There are over 2.63 million active Twitter users monthly, of which 47% are female, 53% are male.

If you find it difficult to write long-form content, then perhaps Twitter would be suitable for you with its micro-blogging format.

Posts on Twitter used to be the length of an SMS, not more than 120 characters. They have since doubled the character limit to 280 characters to keep up with the times.

You can’t go wrong by reaching out to 2.63 million active Malaysian Twitter users, so get tweeting today and build your brand equity.

15) There are over 4.7 million active Linkedin users monthly, of which 41% are female, 59% are male.

The defacto standard for professional social networks today, Linkedin was not the most popular social network as it was boring and serious.

Past versions of Linkedin had little to no media besides text.

The platform has since grown and updated itself and now it’s a great platform for professional networking with a growing collection of content from industry experts.

If you’re a B2B then your best bet is to grow your Linkedin network. 

16) Up to 96% of Malaysian Internet users use mobile messengers and watch videos on mobile every month.

What more can we say, it’s a mobile first world we live in today. As what we have been preaching all this while, your website needs to be mobile responsive!

But that’s a bit irrelevant in this case.

The future of social interaction is not on social networks, but rather peer to peer messaging. Whatsapp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger should be on your marketing mix in one way or another.

It can be used as an outreach channel, a customer service channel, you can even automate it with A.I. messenger bots!

Talk to us about it, we have just the solution for you. 

17) Top 5 mobile apps actively used by Malaysians monthly: 

Yet again, more statistics to prove that social media and messaging apps are staple marketing channels today.

If you’re still relying on traditional channels, consider re-allocating some budget for digital channels, we assure you won’t be disappointed. 

18) 88% of Malaysian Internet users are reported to have searched online for a product or service prior to buying as well as visit an online store.

Now, don’t take our word for it, don’t even take the data for it, ask yourself this, “Do I research a product/service/company online before committing to something?”

We’re pretty sure the answer to that is a resounding YES. So what makes you think your prospects, customers are not researching about your product/service/company online?

What do you think they will think if they find a dated website that’s not mobile responsive, gasps, what if your website is still Flash based? 

The worst case would be you don’t even have a website for your business, and are fully relying on free social media profiles/pages.

Now ask yourself one more question, “What’s my impression of a brand/business if I could not find a professional looking website for it?”. We’d wager the impression is not good. 

So if you would have a bad impression of other businesses without a professional online presence, what would others think of your business if you do not even have a website?

We understand the concerns of budget when setting up a professional web presence, but is the small cost of building a professional website going to be more compared to the loss of trust on first impression from millions of prospects?

Think about it, you have the answer yourself.

19) A total of 75% of Malaysian Internet users are known to have purchased a product or service online of which 44% made the purchase via laptop while 58% made the purchase via mobile device.

Business owners who worry about the acceptance level of Malaysians towards buying online can now rest assure that yes, Malaysians are very much comfortable to make purchases online.

From the studies we see that laptops are still a popular platform for Malaysians to shop online, only losing out to mobile by 14%.

The best course of action is to make sure your online store is accessible on all platforms.

20) The total amount spent on consumer eCommerce categories by Malaysians in 2018 are as follows: 

  1. Fashion & Beauty - $771.0 million 
  2. Electronics & Physical Media - $851.0 million 
  3. Food & Personal Care - $483.0 million 
  4. Furniture & Appliances - $553 million 
  5. Toys, DIY, Hobbies - $486.0 million 
  6. Travel (including accommodation) $2.759 billion 
  7. Digital Music - $30.0 million 
  8. Video Games - $100.0 million 

We can deduce that Malaysians really love to travel, online purchases for travel beats all categories by a long shot, $2.759 billion compared to just millions for all the other categories.

Travel agencies, airlines, hotels should really get their act together and build wonderful online UI/UX for the market.

Competition will be stiff, so whoever provides the best impression will gain brand recognition, give people the best experience and you gain word of mouth promotion.

If you can provide a combination of best impression and best experience then you would have gained a loyal following of repeat customers. 

Don’t skimp on your online presence, it’s exactly why we see gorgeous product packaging, because humans are very visual creatures that are attracted to pretty things.

That is, however, a separate topic worth an in-depth discussion for another time. 

21) The value of the consumer goods eCommerce market is estimated to be worth $3.144 billion with a +31% growth year to year.

Still running a brick and mortar store? Seeing foot-traffic dropping like flies? Not meeting sales targets?

Guess where all your customers may have gone. Online, that’s where! The convenience of shopping online saves people time to travel, look for a car park, and the actual shopping itself.

Especially if you’re living in a traffic congested city like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, or you don’t own your own vehicle, then shopping for groceries online makes it very convenient.

Seriously, if you’re still not doing some form of eCommerce then you are many steps behind your competitors today.

Don’t wait anymore, take the first step and get your products online today!

It can be via your own eCommerce website or through a Marketplace like Lazada, Amazon, Shoppee and many more.

We hope you found these 21 statistics of the digital landscape in Malaysia useful.

If it has enlightened you to take the next step in bringing your business online then we congratulate you and wish you success. 

If instead, you are filled with even more questions or maybe you need some help in building your online presence then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, just chat with our virtual assistant and set-up your FREE consultation session with us. 

*Statistics and data referenced from Digital 2019 - Malaysia report compiled by Hootsuite & We Are Social

Beautiful Designs Matter

Humans are visual creatures, and the first experience visitors experience when they come to your site is the “look and feel” of your website design. We process visual stimulus 60,000 times faster than text, as a result, people form first impressions of your business in less than 0.05 seconds based on your website design.

The design of your website is instantly related and perceived as a direct representation of your product, brand and business. As such, having a beautifully designed website is the most important opportunity for a business to make a good first impression and influence your target audience.

According to the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility, researchers found that 75% of users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on its web design.

“We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like The visual design should match the site’s purpose.”
Fogg, B.J. (May 2002). "Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility." A Research Summary from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab. Stanford University. 

In another study, Guidelines for Developing Trust in Health Websites, 83% of participants attributed the rejection and feelings of mistrust towards a website to website design factors. Content may be important, but, good content on a poorly designed website does not get read, indicating that design comes before content in terms if importance.

Responsive Web Design – Size does matter 

In early 2005, Google announced mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in its search engine algorithms. The Mobile-friendly Update as Google calls it greatly affected search rankings of web pages on mobile devices. What it essentially meant was that web pages which were not mobile-friendly would be less likely to show up on the first page of Google search results. 

Fast forward to March, 2018, Google started rolling out Mobile-first Indexing which will typically start to use a web page’s mobile version for indexing and ranking (in the near future). So even though your website’s ranking may not be directly affected by Google’s Mobile-first Indexing at the moment, it most certainly will in the near future. You can use Google’s Mobile-friendly Test Tool to see where your website stands at the moment. 

It makes sense for Google to start focusing more on mobile users as it is shown that mobile users spend double the time online than desktop users, as such Google needs to serve better content to mobile users.  

Seraph Studios - Mobile users spend double the time than desktop users

If your site is not mobile-friendly yet, it’s best to get started in preparing your website to be responsive to avoid any ranking issues in the future. 

Content Relevancy and Usefulness 

You may have heard the saying “Content is King” before, it is true, and content is most likely to stay on that throne for a very long time. The reason is simple, stop for a moment and think what’s the reason you visit websites? It’s for the content naturally, be it to view the latest music video, or listen to the latest podcast to staying updated on your favorite celebrity or on a more serious note, to keep abreast of the business world and the market you are doing business in.  

We consume content daily, just as we consume food. It has become a staple of our daily lives since decades ago, people have been reading newspapers and books. Today the amount of content available for consumption has increased multiple times, and it is our duty as website owners to provide not just relevant information to our visitors, but content that is useful for them. 

Content on your website needs to address six major points as a business to visitors to improve their user experience: 

  1. Who you are and who do you do it for? 
  2. What do you do? 
  3. Why you’re the best choice? 
  4. Where are you located? 
  5. How do potential customers contact you? 

Your value proposition needs to be clearly stated on the home page in short and concise sentences. People have short attention spans, and studies show that averagely, people spend 7 seconds or less on more than 90% of the websites they visit. 

Your content should also serve as a guide to conversion, providing visitors with a logical pathway to eventually make a purchase, inquiry, subscription etc. The effects of conversion can be further increased by having a personal tone unique to your business which can connect to your visitors, potentials and customers. Great content coupled with beautiful web design will create an experience that is easy to navigate and understand, remember that your content needs to be presented in a simple and clear way to make it easy to understand. 

Which would you prefer if you were given the choice of renting a room against owning your own home? That is the significant difference which we will be discussing today between using social media for business vs owning your own business or corporate website. Today we will be looking at the importance of websites for businesses.

It is undeniable that having a web presence is paramount to the competitive edge and success of your business today. However, in this age of social media, often times business owners are finding themselves neglecting the need of maintaining or even having a corporate website for their company. Instead they focus fully on their social media channels such as Facebook pages, Linkedin pages or Twitter and Instagram accounts. Who could blame them really? It is way easier to get started on social media, and the upfront cost and resource requirement is significantly lower.

Seraph Studios - Why websites are important for SMEs

Understanding the Mediums

Before delving into the pros and cons, let us understand the mediums first. What are websites and what is social media? Aren’t they both online? Isn’t Facebook a website as well? People can still find me on Facebook and that’s where I get my business from.

What Is Social Media?

Social media are undoubtedly websites in their own right, however it is a public platform website, where everyone can sign-up as a member and interact with members of the community. Popular social media platforms today are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Snapchat. These are but the tip of the iceberg as there are many more smaller platforms which may serve a smaller more targeted niche. Let’s not forget the social media of China such as Weibo, which could rival Facebook if Mandarin was an international language.

What Is A Website?

Everyone knows what a website is right? Yes and no, any site you view in a web browser is in essence a website, but there are different types of websites for different purposes. There are search engine sites like Google, portal sites like Yahoo, MSN, and who can forget the ever popular social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest. Some websites provide SAAS (Software as a Service) where you pay a subscription fee to access it’s functions, examples are Mail Chimp, SiteGiant, SeRanking to name a few.

Businesses would usually utilize either a brochure website or an eCommerce website, depending on the nature of the business. Photographers would do well to have their own portfolio site to showcase their masterpieces, corporate businesses utilize websites as their online business profile to disseminate information about the organization and the products or services they offer.

Now that we have a clear understanding of the difference between social media and websites, let us dive into the pros and cons and why SMEs should have a proper website for their web presence instead of fully relying on social media platforms as their primary online presence.

Pros Of Social Media As The Primary Online Presence For SMEs

Many business owners are relying solely on social media as their primary online presence, why is that so? What are the reasons that drive SME owners to believe that using social media is sufficient to sustain their business in the long run? Let us find out below.

Statistics Are Public And Lacking

Everyone can see how many followers, likes or fans which you have as it’s all laid bare to see. There’s also not much statistics you can gather from the tools provide by social media sites in terms of analytics.

Zero Monetization

You can’t sell ad space on your social media page, those spaces are reserved by the third-party site for their own ad spaces which they are hoping to sell to you! As such, you can’t monetize your social media page even if you have millions of visitors each day.

Information Lacks Structure And Difficult To Navigate

Posts on social media sites are timeline based, which means older content will keep getting pushed further down the page. This not only makes it difficult for your target audience to find relevant information on certain products or services, they may never find it as let’s face it, who would scroll all the way down to your very first post just to find that piece of information?

Malaysia, one of the fastest growing nations in South East Asia has a population close to 32 million as of January 2018, with over 76% of the nation urbanized. Having a high urbanization rate allows its population access to the latest technologies, as such almost 79% of Malaysians have access to the Internet and close to 75% are active social media users. In recent years, mobile has been the preferred platform for Malaysians to access the Internet with a 68% penetration rate. Mobile users have been growing rapidly, having a growth rate of 2% since January 2017, in ten years’ time there will be close to 80% of the population accessing the Internet via mobile devices.

Seraph Studios - Why Traditional Businesses in Malaysia should Embrace Digital

It is reported that Malaysians spend an average of 8 and a half hours accessing the Internet, of which 3 hours are spent on social media. The number of Internet users mean little if the mentality of the users are conservative, however Malaysians possess a positive attitude towards technology with 60% of users believing In the opportunities offered by technologies as well as preferring to complete tasks digitally whenever possible. This is a positive outlook for e-commerce, online booking systems or even prospecting online. What does this mean for businesses who are still not online? Well it simply means that you are missing out on a huge potential of having your business found by millions of potential customers across the nation. There’s no better time to embrace digital than now! You may not see instant returns on your initial investment into digital, but the returns will come eventually if you are online.

If you are still not convinced of the importance of digital for your business then perhaps you should consider the potential of a digitally connected business being found online. Reports from Hootsuite say that out of the 25 million Malaysian Internet users, 53% use search engines while 18% look for product information online on a weekly basis. Users can’t find what’s not there, and a business that’s not digitally connected will not show up on these users search results.

The top 5 websites ranked by Alexa in January 2018 are Google, Youtube, Google Malaysia, Lazada and Yahoo, with Facebook coming in at number six. Four out of the top five websites visited by Malaysians are search engines, Youtube being the second largest search engine globally for the uninitiated. Don’t take my word for it, believe in the stats and numbers presented. Don’t be left behind while competitors speed ahead on the digital highway, leaving the laggards in the dust. Don’t continue to waste precious advertising dollars on traditional media, 31% of users who bought a new product or service were first introduced to it via online advertising! Don’t put off your business’ digital strategy any further, if not now then when?

Time is not slowing down, and the digital landscape sure isn’t waiting for anyone, the longer you wait the more you lose out, it’s that simple. With that I’d like to bring this piece to an end, do leave your views on the importance of digital for businesses whether you are a business owner or not below. I’d love to hear your different opinions. Till next time. All reported stats and figures are based of the Hootsuite Digital in 2018: Asia Pacific Report.

Web Presence, Online Presence or Internet Presence, these terms are used interchangeably, but what is Web Presence? In today’s connected world, almost everyone has a web presence, usually it’s on social media, forums, personal websites or blogs or as simple as email.

“the appearance of a person on the World Wide Web. Web Presence can be measured by the amount of sites a person or business has, as well as the authority and reach of said presence via Search Engine ranking, web traffic, popularity, and number of backlinks."


Now Web Presence is more than the quantity of social media accounts you have or the number of websites you have. It is also about the quality of your presence on the Internet, does it generate a lot of traffic daily? Do you have a lot of followers on your social media account? Is your audience engaging with your content? Anyone can have hundreds of websites and social media accounts, but what use is it if there’s no quality in the content that’s being posted and shared on these platforms?

It is also about the influence of your Web Presence, does your website carry authority? Are people taking notice of your Web Presence? Do they revisit your website, or introduce it to their friends and family? Most importantly, is it benefitting your audience to visit your website, social media? Web Presence is defined on Wikipedia as being “the appearance of a person or organization on the World Wide Web.” And “the amount of web presence can be measured in the amount of sites a organization or individual has, which can include their own website, social network profiles, and their site’s search engine ranking, traffic, popularity, and backlinks.” Can you identify and list out the various Web Presence you have right now that’s representing yourself and your business online? Make sure you have the appropriate representation online in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.

Seraph Studios is a trusted boutique web design and digital marketing agency based in Penang, Malaysia.
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