Malaysians getting with the mobility programme, SMEs way behind
By Lum Ka Kay May 10, 2016
- Most Malaysian SMEs are still invisible to two-thirds of online population
- Asia is world’s leading region in terms of smartphone use and engagement
MALAYSIA is a mobile-first market with a mobile Internet penetration rate of 65% – the third highest in South-East Asia in 2015 – a figure expected to hit to 100% by 2020, according to Google Malaysia.
This makes the country, with over 20 million mobile Internet users, a mature market filled with online-savvy, mobile-first consumers.
But Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are not buying in, or in terms of business-savvy at least, are not cashing in.
READ ALSO: Singapore blazing the mobile workforce trail: EIU study
Malaysian SMEs are not putting enough priority on their mobile online presence and discoverability, according to Sajith Sivanandan (pic above), managing director of Google Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and New Emerging Markets.
“These SMEs are invisible to two-thirds of the Malaysian population and the rest of the global market which is online,” he said after an SME-focused ‘Go Digital’ workshop in Kuala Lumpur on May 9.
The workshop was a collaboration between SME Corp and Maxis Bhd to help Malaysian SMEs take advantage of the Internet to grow their business.
Sajith said the battle for customers today is won in ‘micro-moments.’
“Micro-moments are spontaneous moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that dictate outcomes throughout the entire consumer journey, and this is happening with consumers who are on smartphones.
“We think there is tremendous growth potential for Malaysia SMEs, given the mobile-first nature of Internet users here in Malaysia,” he added.
READ ALSO: Forget big data, small data is where the action is
At the workshop, Google Malaysia highlighted several local SMEs that have successfully harnessed digital marketing to boost their business, especially by lowering their marketing costs or increasing sales.
For example, Tan Guan Han – sales and marketing manager of concrete coring and cutting company Sonicon Construction Sdn Bhd – claimed he has closed 10 deals within the first month he turned to Google AdWords.
Meanwhile, managing director of photo booth rental service provider 123 Cheese Amusement Sdn Bhd Vincent Tong said he saw a 30% jump in the company’s revenue within a year of doing remarketing.
Remarketing is a digital marketing technique that enables businesses to deliver relevant ads for search and display campaigns to people who have previously visited their website.
Noting that one of the major challenges for businesses is to keep down marketing costs, general manager of supplier and repair centre of sewing and embroidery machines Lings Service Network (M) Sdn Bhd Suppaiyah Rammoo said he is currently saving at least 50% of his marketing costs by advertising annually with Google AdWords.
READ ALSO: How RM10 made a difference to a sewing-machine retailer's business
Google Malaysia will also be holding two more SME-focused workshops in Penang and Kota Kinabalu in the next few weeks.
The Consumer Barometer
The 2015 edition of the TNS-Intrafest-administered study titled The Consumer Barometer showed that Asia is leading the world in smartphone use and engagement, as well as many other online shopping and viewing behaviours.
Among the findings:
- 66% of Asians own a smartphone – the highest IN the world (Europe/ United States at 60%).
- Five Asian markets are in the global top 10 in terms of smartphone penetration: Singapore (88%), South Korea (83%), Hong Kong (79%), Taiwan (78%) and Australia (77%), while Malaysia stood at 71%.
- Asians are the highest percentage of users who do the following activities on smartphones: Search (54%), Shopping (22%); and Maps (22%)
- Malaysians are one of the world’s highest ‘multi-screening’ users, with 91% using smartphones while watching TV. This comes after Indonesia at 92%.
- 36% of Malaysians exclusively use smartphones to access the Internet. This is second highest in the world after Thailand (37%).
- 20% of Malaysians shop online on their smartphones (Thailand is highest at 31%)
- 51% of Malaysians research online but purchase offline; 48% rely on online resources as the first source of product awareness during pre-purchase research; and 30% shop online (not on smartphones though).
- Top 5 Malaysian smartphone activities: Visit social media networks (84%); use search engines (79%); watch videos (78%); look for product info/ research (58%); and play games/listen to music (53%).
- 93% of Malaysians under age 25 are smartphone users and 33% are 55 and above.
- 59% of smartphone owners watch videos on their device at least once a week; 50% of users under the age of 25 watch videos online daily.
Asia will lead in mobility spending: IDC
SEA businesses still lagging on mobile-first strategies: Google
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