Forecasts say 30 per cent of the region’s e-commerce transactions will come from Malaysia
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The potential of e-commerce in Southeast Asia (SEA) is irrefutable. With a population of more than 600 million people paired with predictions by giants such as Google and Temasek that the digital economy would become a US$25 billion industry by 2020, local and international players has emerged in the region to realise its full potential. Among the fastest growing countries in the SEA region is Malaysia.
Considered a late-bloomer in the world of e-commerce, Malaysians began adopting e-commerce in the mid-2000s when AirAsia began selling airline tickets through their online platform. Making visible the benefits of e-commerce, it kick-started the development of e-commerce on the country. So, who are the key leaders in Malaysia’s e-commerce space?
iPrice Group, a meta-search website based in SEA embarked a journey to find out who are the key leaders in e-commerce by analysing data such as average traffic through SimilarWeb, Social Media followers or fans through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as number of employees through LinkedIn. Based on this, they created an interactive infographic to rank and easily view who is most popular amongst Malaysians.
Lazada All Ready for Battle with Amazon
By ranking and averaging each e-commerce’s rankings, we found that Lazada remains the clear winner, followed by Zalora and 11 Street. This reinforces Lazada’s announcement earlier this year as their Malaysian portal is growing more rapidly as compared to other countries where they operate. Lazada has built a huge lead in terms of average traffic as well. They receive as much as 29 million visitors (in Malaysia alone) on a monthly basis while 11 Street, ranking 2nd place in overall average traffic only received 9 million visitors, almost 3 times smaller in Q2 2017.
Though we do not have numbers such as Lazada’s revenue, their sheer lead in online traffic and consistent number of high app installs and social media followers shows they are all ready to battle Amazon should they enter the Malaysian market. Backed by Alibaba, Lazada publicly expressed confidence when asked on their thoughts of Amazon’s entry into the region. Will Amazon be able to rival to Lazada’s dominance? Guess we’ll only find out when Amazon finally enters Malaysia.
Looking at other e-commerce, it was also apparent that players which was founded in the SEA were more successful than international players. One example can be eBay, which was launched in Malaysia more than 13 years ago back in 2004 but now is listed in seventh place in online traffic.
One probable explanation to their lack of performance in Malaysia might be that e-commerce with was founded within the region are able to better understand the needs and behaviour of consumers. Nevertheless, still Malaysia remains an attractive location for international players as we have seen the Malaysian government partnering with Jack Ma to establish an electronic trade forum to fast-track the growth of e-commerce in the country for both local and foreign players.
The Rise of Local E-Commerce Players Within Malaysia
A household name to Malaysians, Lelong remained a local ‘king’ in Malaysia, with online traffic as almost five times as compared with Hermo who is in 2nd place. Established since 1998, Lelong is a C2C platform where users can easily sell and purchase second hand items and is probably among the first to spot the e-commerce potential in Malaysia.
Folowing Lelong was cosmetics and fashion brands Hermo and Fashion Valet. Looking at similar studies conducted in Thailand and Indonesia, it was apparent that e-commerce that sold tech items such as mobile phones and computers were hugely popular. However, this was not so in Malaysia. I-Pmart was the only e-commerce included in the list. Nevertheless, tech products remain hugely popular among Malaysians but it was apparent that many of them prefer to purchase it through physical stores.
This is an unconventional trend in as most would think that consumers prefers to purchase fashion related products through brick & mortar stores. One probable explanation of the fashion brand’s success in Malaysia was due to their successful social media marketing efforts.
If you ranked brands which received the highest number of followers on Instagram, you could see fashion brands dominating the screen. Why is this so? Most of the fashion brands are owned by popular celebrities or social media ‘gurus’ in Malaysia. Ranking number one is Bella Ammara which is owned by Carl Samsudin & Belle Al-Yahya who amassed a total of 574k Instagram followers altogether. Even more so, Naelofar Hijab, owned by Neelofa has more than 4.9m followers and Fashion Valet, owned by Vivy Yusof has more than 1.2m followers. Though not all fashion based e-commerce are owned by popular individuals, they were effective in engaging with popular celebrities or brands to make sure their products are hugely visible to their target audience.
Another reason why fashion brands were successful was probably because they sold their products through various channels such as social media, general online shopping platforms and physical stores apart from their own e-commerce platform. One such example was Naelofar Hijab who began selling their products through the online space in 2014 and opened their flagship store later in January 2015. They sold their products in other platforms as well such as Lazada, Fashion Valet and many others. Fashion brands in Malaysia is definitely showing the way and this is a route others can imitate as well.
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