KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Malaysia's online shopping scene is shifting with the return of more brick-and-mortar businesses, especially with consumers aged 50 and above.

Market analyst firm Ipsos Malaysia found that while young Malaysians still prefer to buy most things online, older shoppers are returning to their pre-pandemic habits of getting their goods from physical stores.

“Among young people, there's continued movement towards online shopping, while a drop among the 50+ segment indicates a return to pre-Covid habits,” Ipsos Malaysia said in a statement today accompanying the results of its E-Commerce Landscape in a Reopened Economy study.

The study found nearly half of Malaysians surveyed made a recent purchase on an e-commerce platform, similar to a year ago when the pandemic was at its peak.

The research firm also noted continued high demand for fashion items and groceries online even as pandemic concerns ebb.

But it noted that Malaysians are less inclined to buy pricier speciality items such as electronics and home appliances online compared to last year.

Fashion related purchases recorded 50 per cent, an increase of 3 per cent from April 2021, while groceries recorded 39 per cent, an increase of 11 per cent from the same period.

The Ipsos report also showed that states in the east coast of peninsular Malaysia have a higher share of e-commerce shoppers than any other region, but added that these regional differences are less distinct than in 2021.

It noted a slight uptick in online shopping among women but said it was unchanged for men.

Of the country's top e-commerce platforms, Ipsos found that Shopee is still number one, attributing its popularity to word-of-mouth.

According to Ipsos, 79 per cent of Malaysians opted to buy stuff through Shopee in the past six months.

In comparison, Lazada was a distant second at 21 per cent, followed by Facebook (18 per cent), Grab (14 per cent) and Mudah.my (5 per cent).

“Malaysians are fairly loyal to their preferred platform, using between one and two online retailers on average.

“The major e-commerce retailers in Malaysia attract shoppers by offering good value for money, staying relevant in the face of changes in consumers’ lifestyle and needs, and delivering services that are customer centric,” Ipsos said.

Lars Erik Lie, associate director of Ipsos Malaysia's public affairs division, said the move towards online shopping looks to be structural with the country's economy reopening wider after two years with Covid-19.

He observed that Malaysians have the same propensity to shop online as they had one year ago when the pandemic was at its height.

“However, trends are diverging between people at different life stages. The share of young people shopping online continues to increase, while for older people, the uptick in online shopping during the pandemic appear to be more cyclical — many are now returning to old habits.

“There’s also a divergence in terms of product categories purchased — online shopping of fashion items and groceries have become a mainstay, while a drop in online purchases of electronic devices, home appliances and cosmetics may reflect a pivot back to physical retailers for pricier specialty items,” Lie added.