Malaysians spent RM1.8bil shopping via the Internet last year, and this figure is expected to almost triple in three years, according to a Nielsen Company survey.
The study, commissioned by Internet payment service provider PayPal, also found that Malaysians were spending more on local websites with transactions up to RM825mil, compared to foreign websites which recorded only RM627mil in receipts last year.
The study polled 400 Malaysian online shoppers aged 18 and above from January to February this year, in which they were asked about their online and mobile shopping transactions last year.
Shoppers made online purchases of airline tickets, financial services, fashion items and cosmetics from local websites, while foreign websites saw purchases of books, music and movie downloads.
Malaysian shoppers buying from overseas websites cite the unavailability of items locally as the main reason. Cost was the least of their concerns.
“Malaysians prefer to shop on local websites and are looking online for a wider range of higher quality goods, not just for the lowest prices.
“Domestic retailers have a chance to compete with overseas websites and should set up their online stores now to capture a slice of the local online shopping market,” Elias Ghanem, PayPal's managing director and general manager for South-East Asia and India, said in a statement yesterday.
The study also found that shopping on mobile devices had a strong growth potential.
The survey said that last year, more than 254,000 Malaysian online shoppers spent RM100mil paying for bills, movie tickets, books, movies, music or game downloads on their mobile devices.
However, online security was among the top concerns for online shoppers, with seven out of 10 shoppers expressing their willingness to spend more online if Internet safety measures were improved.