Malaysians not buying into online shopping

PETALING JAYA: Globally, online shopping has taken the retail market by storm, but Malaysians are still making a beeline for the malls.

Most prefer brick and mortar shopping, because we like to shop with our senses – trusting only what we can see and touch. Those who prefer browsing in brick and mortar shops are apprehensive about paying for something they haven’t inspected.

However, those who do get online insist that virtual stores offer a wider selection, are cheaper and more convenient.

Online shopping is new here so there’s a sense of anxiety about something going wrong while using the platform. “Touching, seeing and feeling products before buying are important to Malaysians. So, top online purchases are usually from the service industry like flight and movie tickets,” said Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Management Assoc Prof Dr Azizah Omar.

Common items bought online are fashion, cosmetics, health, mobile accessories, toys and baby products. Malaysia Retail Chain Association deputy president Valerie Choo said due to our humid weather and culture, shopping malls and other retail outlets have evolved into popular lifestyle venues.

Newly announced measures to increase digital connectivity under Budget 2017 are expected to propel greater e-commerce growth here.

The Prime Minister had earlier called on Malaysians to embrace, adapt to changes and explore new areas of growth, as 2017 will be the year of Internet economy for the country.

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