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The Digital Landscape 2019 – Malaysia

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: 

  • Facebook – 2271 million users 
  • Youtube – 1900 million users 
  • Instagram – 1000 million users 

Top 3 messenger apps in the region: 

  • Whatsapp – 1500 million users 
  • Facebook Messenger – 1300 million users 
  • WeChat – 1083 million users 

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

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