Study: Under MCO, Malaysians flood websites offering online grocery shopping, deliveries

A Jaya Grocer staff is pictured arranging cans of beer in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib
A Jaya Grocer staff is pictured arranging cans of beer in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Local websites of companies offering online shopping and deliveries of groceries have experienced an exponential growth in traffic from Malaysians during the movement control order (MCO) during which the public have been told to stay home to slow the Covid-19 spread, a study has shown.

In a report today by the Malaysian Digital Association and its market intelligence partner SimilarWeb, the study showed the year-on-year growth for online traffic on four local grocery delivery platforms — namely Jaya Grocer, HappyFresh, Mydin and Tesco — for three selected periods.

Using January 2020 as the base, the study compared how these websites had fared when it comes to the annual growth rate when February figures are compared with January, and when the first half or first two weeks of March are compared with January, as well as the third week of March (March 15 to March 21) against January.

“Key grocery delivery players saw traffic growth rates surge during the third week of March, compared to traffic in the first two weeks of March as well as February.

“The online stores of supermarket chain Jaya Grocer (jayagrocer.com) and grocery delivery service HappyFresh (happyfresh.my) saw the biggest jumps in sequential traffic in the third week of March, with activity up by 600 per cent, compared to the first two weeks of the month.

“Traffic to hypermarket chain Mydin (mydin.com.my) grew more than 540 per cent in sequential traffic, while that to Tesco (tesco.com.my) rose by more than 450 per cent,” said the report titled “Covid-19 lockdown: Malaysians go online for work, food and TV”.

Sequential change in year-on-year growth rates in traffic in Malaysia to key grocery delivery platforms. — Screengrab of the Malaysian Digital Association and market intelligence SimilarWeb's report
Sequential change in year-on-year growth rates in traffic in Malaysia to key grocery delivery platforms. — Screengrab of the Malaysian Digital Association and market intelligence SimilarWeb's report

The sudden boost in online traffic to all these four websites in the third week of March is in contrast to either minimal or negative year-on-year growth to these sites in the month of February or first two weeks of March.

Significantly, the third week of March overlaps with the part of the first phase of the government’s movement control order from March (March 18 to March 31). The MCO has since been extended to April 14.

During the MCO, Malaysians are legally barred from going out except for limited situations such as getting daily necessities or medical attention from going to workplaces or premises offering essential services and goods, while online shopping has also been encouraged as a way to minimise going out.

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