Malaysian Shopping Trends in 2014

An Ipsos & SSI study that looks into the shopping habits of Malaysians in 2014. Overall spending has increased year-on-year and private label spending is also on the rise.

Malaysia – An Ipsos & SSI poll attempting to understand Malaysians Shopping Spends in 2014 shows that over half of them have increased expenditure (56%) compared to last year, while a quarter of Malaysians say that it’s stayed the same as last year (27%) and 13% stating that it has decreased compared to 2013. A closer look at these numbers however, suggest that not everything is as straightforward as it seems.


Men feel that their shopping spends have significantly increased compared to last year (61%), fewer number of women feel the same (51%). For those with a monthly household income of less than 1,500 RM, 20.3% feel that their shopping spends have decreased compared to last year, a sentiment echoed by those with part-time jobs (21%) and housewives (39.4%).

“The rise in inflation from 2013 (2.1%) to 2014 (3%)* appears to have impacted those with an inconsistent or single income the most, as the money does not stretch as far as it used to. Given that a large proportion of a Malaysian household is spent on food, inflation may be pushing consumers to consider the cheaper private-label brands and to spend less on non-essentials.” Said Katharine Davis, executive director of Ipsos Malaysia”



Private-label brand spends have seen a very notable 40% increase in sales from the year before, with 67% of consumers now purchasing private-label brands in one category or another. The cheaper price of a private-label brand (53%) is the main draw for consumers but for 25% of consumers, they feel that the quality is the same as branded goods or that the quality of the goods is slightly less, but the lower price justifies this (18%).

“We inform our clients that their concerns about private-label brands should be directed at consumers who perceive little difference in quality between the two. Our research shows that people are willing to justify paying a premium for better quality products, but the more they perceive less of a difference between the two, brands will start to struggle to keep their existing consumer base.” stated Katharine Davis.



“While location (58%) and price points (52%) are two of the key drivers of why consumers may choose to shop at a particular channel, organizations need to keep in mind that the store environment, store and shelf layout consciously or unconsciously affects how consumers choose a brand or product over another, as well as how much money they would end up spending at that channel. As Malaysians start to dontdontevaluate what and where they buy more carefully, it’s important for organizations to look past just promotions to attract the consumer and focus more on how they make decisions in-store. ” commented Stepfanie Woon, Research Director, Ipsos Malaysia.


Malaysians average around 4.5 sources of where they find out shopping related promotions, with the internet, newspapers, friend & family members being in the top five of these. Chinese Malaysians are significantly more likely to discover shopping related promotions via the internet (82%) or when in the physical store itself (49%), contrary to Indian Malaysians who are less likely to find out in the physical store (32%) or even through the Newspapers (50%). Clear differences are seen between the different ethnic groups when it comes to what sources of advertising influences them.