Online shopping takes a hit


Bargain hunt: An online shopper browsing through the prices offered for dresses in an online retailer website.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian online shoppers are turning to local sites as the weaker ringgit has made shopping on foreign sites much more expensive.

Local online retailer Lazada Malaysia said the drop in the ringgit’s value has not really affected sales on its site.

“In fact, Lazada Group as a whole recorded US$40mil (about RM168mil) in overall sales during its three-day Online Revolution Sale in December 2015.

“The competitive rates and deals that we offer on Lazada actually help Malaysians save more.

“The electronics category specifically saw an increase in sales by 30% last December alone,” said Lazada Malaysia CEO Hans-Peter Ressel.

Of the 230 respondents to Star2.com’s online poll, 64% say they have changed their online shopping habits.

About half of the poll’s respondents have opted to shop only during sales instead while 30% have decided to cut back on shopping.

Another 16% said they would shop at local online sites and brick-and-mortar stores.

“I used to buy comic books, action figurines and collectors’ items from international sites since many of them cannot be obtained locally.

“At first, I tried switching to Hong Kong or Taiwanese suppliers.

“But the fact that they usually get the same items from the United States means the price will end up about the same,” said Freddy Tan, 30.

“So, I now shop at local online sites such as Mudah, Lelong and Low Yat first before I look at international sites.”

Nicholas Chin, 31, said he still preferred shopping online as there were bargains available.

“I bought an air purifier for only RM255, inclusive of shipping, online.

“The same product cost RM425 at a local store last year,” he added.

Others have returned to shopping the old-fashioned way, looking for bargains in shops, shopping malls and warehouse sales.

Self-confessed vanity shopper Natasha Gopal used to spend RM2,000 every month online on clothes, shoes and statement jewellery.

“Now, I spend under RM800 and order one or two items of apparel only.

“With the weak ringgit, it’s too expensive to buy in sterling pound for the quality we are getting,” said the 30-year-old who now shops at local stores and warehouse sales.

But there are still others who continue to shop on international sites as they have found that it is still cheaper than buying locally.

University lecturer Maximus Sim said he buys classical, church and choral music scores online as it is cheaper to do so.

But even then, he is cutting down on his online purchases as the weaker ringgit has made it more expensive now compared with a year ago.

“The scorebooks, which cost RM60 each before, are selling for RM72, plus shipping,” he said.

Readers may take a poll at "Are you still shopping online" to have their say, or tweet @Star2dotcom or e-mailstar2@thestar.com.my with the subject, “Online Shopping”.

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