Online Shopping Expected To Remain Popular Post-Pandemic
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(Image: The Star/Raja Faisal Hishan)

Several banks and retail associations have remarked that online shopping is here to stay in Malaysia. This is as they have compiled data that signalled the longevity of online shopping among consumers post-Covid-19.

Statistics from RHB Banking Group, for instance, noted that it had seen a 49% increase in online spend post-pandemic, and a 9% quarterly growth recently. As such, it believes that the people’s preference for shopping via digital channels will continue to grow.

Likewise, OCBC Bank also said that although it may have seen a decline in the average value of online shopping transactions, there is no significant drop in terms of volume. This indicated that consumers are already accustomed to the convenience, affordability, and rewards of online shopping – and as such, will continue to use such services moving forward.

Additionally, the managing director and head of consumer financial services for OCBC Bank, Anne Leh emphasised that consumers are not the only ones who benefit from online shopping. Merchants, too, enjoy the advantage of lower operating costs with round-the-clock sales opportunities.

Meanwhile, retail association Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) said that although online shopping continues to be well accepted by the public, there has been a 20% to 90% dip in online shopping activities after the end of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Data compiled from the association indicated that physical stores that offered virtual shopping services during the movement control order (MCO) period had seen a 70% to 80% drop in online purchases since early 2022. F&B operators with online businesses also saw a dip of 50% to 60%.

Similarly, pure-play retailers that operate mainly online businesses also experienced a 20% to 90% drop in transactions after the lockdowns. That said, there are exclusions to this trend; sellers who offer unique and specialty products did not seem to be impacted post-lockdown.

The managing director of RGM, Tan Hai Hsin said that moving forward, businesses and retailers will need to invest in the integration of offline and online shopping in order to succeed. This is as savvy consumers are now tapping into the best of both worlds – online and physical shopping – to get the best value for their purchases. For instance, they may choose to first view the products that they wish to purchase at physical stores, then make the actual purchase online to enjoy any discounts and deals offered.

(Image: The Star)

Tan also commented that existing businesses with online shopping platforms that were set up during the pandemic must find ways to improve the quality of their offerings and services. He pointed out that many of these retailers tended to offer only limited selections on their online platforms, and often make deliveries without tracking numbers. The refund process can also be extremely complicated and tedious.

Ultimately, Tan urged retailers to take online shopping seriously, and to provide proper resources and planning to it. This is as the shopping trend has proved to be an enduring one, and is very likely to remain a preferred choice among consumers.

(Source: The Star)

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