How are Malaysians spending their money during this MCO compared to the first one last year? E-commerce platform Shopee helpfully crunched its data to compare buying trends from the early days of both MCOs (11 January to 15 January 2021 vs. 16 March to 20 March 2020). Noting there were no signs of panic buying this time around, the online shopping platform said it saw strong numbers particularly in three categories: consumer tech, home improvement, and daily essentials.
Consumer tech is an obvious beneficiary of the ongoing pandemic and MCO, with sales in this category growing by a massive four and a half times (compared to the last MCO) to over 550,000 units sold.
As more people are forced to work, study or seek recreation at home, there is phenomenal demand for laptops, smartphones, tablets, network components, keyboards, printers and audio systems. Unsurprisingly, this tracks with global trends as well – PC sales saw their biggest growth in 10 years during COVID-strickened 2020.
Shopee also noted the local demand for affordable internet connectivity. After all, what’s the point of hardware if you can’t go online? To that note, close to 20,000 YES Kasi Up SIM cards were sold on the platform.
With more Malaysians staying indoors, there’s also a renewed interest in home improvement projects. Over 900,000 home decor items were sold, representing an eight times increase compared to last year.
And then there are the daily essentials. Five times more snacks (half a million units) such as biscuits, chocolates, dried fruits and nuts, and keropok were sold. Demand for meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits almost doubled to 85,000 units sold, while demand for pet food and treats tripled to over 330,000 units sold.
We can probably say that the significant increase in numbers is partly driven by how comfortable Malaysians have grown with e-commerce purchases and deliveries. Perhaps that’s another ‘new normal’.