Over two-thirds of Malaysians now more comfortable shopping online after Covid-19 — StanChart

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sep 15): More than two-thirds or 73% of Malaysians polled in a new survey by Standard Chartered (StanChart) said that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has made them more positive about online shopping, though they are also more careful with their spending and want new ways to track their money digitally.

In its latest global survey, StanChart took a look at how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed consumers' way of life, and what changes could be here to stay — one of which is the emergence of a cashless, cautious and more conscientious consumer.

"The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption among the Malaysian consumers who have now found themselves more comfortable with online transactions, from shopping to investing. Our own ATM withdrawal data supports this shift with ATM usage declining to half the levels they were two years ago, with Covid-19 dramatically accelerating the decline," StanChart Malaysia managing director and chief executive officer, Abrar A Anwar, said in a statement today.

The survey is the second of a three-part series, polling 12,000 adults across 12 markets — Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mainland China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

Prior to the pandemic, only 30% of Malaysians said they preferred shopping online compared with 70% who preferred shopping in person.

"But this has shifted significantly with 51% now preferring online payments to in-person card or cash payments. This increase in preference for online payments is true across a range of purchases, from groceries and travel to digital devices. As a result, 79% of people in Malaysia now expect the country to go fully cashless, with a majority expecting this to happen by 2030," the bank said.

Meanwhile, as spending begins to creep up as lockdowns ease globally, 57% of Malaysians reported increased spending in July, said StanChart.

In contrast, 82% said the pandemic has made them more careful with their expenditure, with 80% either using or interested in using budgeting tools or tools that block card-spending over specified limits.

In terms of travel and holidays, 65% of respondents said they spent less than they did before the pandemic, while 33% spent less on experiences and 62% spent less on clothes.

"This trend is also expected to continue with 48% saying they anticipated spending less on travel or holidays, 23% on experiences and 41% on clothes in the future," said StanChart.

More than half of Malaysians surveyed also said they were more likely to shop locally and more sustainably, as well as to support small businesses.

"In a world where people are being more cautious with their spending, being able to keep track of where your money goes is very important. One way to do that is to keep your payments digital. It's imperative that banks continue to innovate digitally so that clients can conveniently and securely transact, track and manage their spending," said Abrar.

Tan Choe Choe