Malaysia’s Middle Class Drives E-commerce Growth

E-commerce in Malaysia continued to flourish in 2021 fuelled by the middle class, who comprise 88% of the 22 million digital natives in Southeast Asia.

The country’s e-commerce income jumped by 23.1% year-on-year (YoY, RM801.2 billion) in the first nine months of this year, the Department of Statistics Malaysia reported. For the third quarter alone, e-commerce income was up 17.1% YoY at RM279 billion, maintaining a 4.3% growth from the previous quarter.

The growth of e-commerce has, in turn, enabled micro, small and medium enterprises to thrive, and helped cushion against unemployment.

Many will maintain their omnichannel buying practices once offline retail is back and could continue to accelerate online sales in the medium to the long-term timeline as consumers gain more comfort in digital purchasing.

Meanwhile, the digital games sector in Malaysia is projected to generate US$961 million in revenues this 2021, a 6.7% YoY increase, driven by smartphone games, based on research by market research organization Newzoo.

The local digital content industry, which includes the animation industry, was worth RM7.9 billion in 2020, helping create 11,753 jobs, Malaysia Digital Economy Corp chief executive officer Mahadhir Aziz said.