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Understanding mobile users, m-commerce, m-payment in Malaysia

On Device Research has recently published an interesting report on Mobile Malaysia: ahead of the pack. The report helps us to understand the mobile landscape in Malaysia, especially on smartphone trend.

Mobile statistics in Malaysia

On Device Research has recently published an interesting report on Mobile Malaysia: ahead of the pack. The report helps us to understand the mobile landscape in Malaysia, especially on smartphone trend, and how does it imply to mobile commerce and mobile payment.

How does Mobile Malaysia be "ahead of the pack"? To our surprise (and possibly yours too), Malaysia fares better in mobile landscape compared to most Southeast Asia countries, and even United States!

Read on to find out more about "Malaysia Boleh" in the mobile arena.

Read also: The Ultimate Guide to E-Commerce Statistics in Malaysia & SEA


Key Statistics of Mobile Users in Malaysia


Key Internet & mobile statistics in Malaysia

First of all, let's go through some of the key indicators of Internet & mobile landscape in Malaysia:

Population: 29 million, 70% urban
(officially surpassed 30 million by 27 Feb 2014)

Internet penetration: 66%
(that means ~20 million Internet users)

Mobile penetration: 140%
(47% Malaysians own more than 1 mobile phone)

3G subscription: 10 million
(more than 15 million according to MCMC)

According to World Bank, Malaysia with 140% mobile penetration is leading Indonesia, Thailand and even United States! Only Singapore and Vietnam in Southeast Asia have higher mobile penetration than Malaysia.

Our report earlier shows 27% of smartphone penetration but the latest data stands at 35%, which means there are more than 10 million smartphone users in Malaysia. McCann even predicted that smartphone penetration in Malaysia will rise to 60% by 2015.

Smartphone penetration rate in Malaysia

On Device Research has also presented a breakdown of smartphone OS in Malaysia, with Android the majority 65% followed by iOS and Windows with 13% respectively.

Due to the fact that 3 major mobile carriers in Malaysia are competing with each other in customer acqusition, affordable smartphone plans are the major factors contributing to the smartphone adoptions.

Breakdown of smartphone OS and telco in Malaysia

Mobile Commerce (m-commerce) in Malaysia


According to Nielsen & PayPal Analysis, e-commerce market size in Malaysia was supposed to be RM 3.65 billion in 2013, including the transactions of both services and products. If we refer to Euromonitor's report, RM 1.24 billion (or 34% of PayPal's report) are products-only transactions.

How about mobile commerce?

Mobile commerce market size in Malaysia

Nielsen-PayPal reported RM 1.82 billion of mobile commerce in 2013, which represents close to 50% of total e-commerce market size. Interestingly, mobile share of online commerce was only 5.5% as recent as 2010, and it is projected to reach 59.6% in 2015.

Read also: The State of Mobile Commerce in Malaysia (Part 1 and Part 2)

Next, what do Malaysians purchase on their mobile devices?

Top mobile commerce categories in Malaysia

As expected, movie tickets are the main driver for smartphone purchases followed by fashion & accessories, while airline tickets are the most popular items Malaysians purchase on tablets.


Mobile Payment (m-payment) in Malaysia


Since movie tickets are the most popular items Malaysians buy on smartphone, let's take a look at what kind of mobile payment methods accepted by the leading cinema in Malaysia - GSC.

Mobile payments accepted by GSC

If you refer to the screenshot above, GSC only accepts M2U, RHB (both online banking) and PayPal. We personally think PayPal provides the best user experience in m-payment, as compared to online banking which requires Transaction Authorisation Code (TAC).

As per our analysis of top online payment methods in Malaysia, only 12.5% of payments here are going through PayPal, Cash, COD, Celcom AirCash etc. Plus, there are only a few hundred thousands of PayPal users in Malaysia.

This reflects the reality of lack of strong mobile payment services in Malaysia.

Mobile payments in Malaysia

According to World Pay, only 0.3% of transactions are m-payments, which by definition (should be) specialized payment services like M-money.

On Device Research has summarized the reasons on why m-payments might not be even required in Malaysia:

Bank accounts are common and easily accessible to a large majority - bank transfers are the most common way to pay for things online

Credit cards are reasonably widely used - over 8 million Malaysians have one

None of the three mobile operators enjoy a monopoly that would make it easier to introduce a widely adopted m-payments solution

For more mobile insights in Malaysia, check out the slides by On Device Research below (or view it on SlideShare):


Read also: All our mobile commerce related articles 

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eCommerceMILO: Understanding mobile users, m-commerce, m-payment in Malaysia
Understanding mobile users, m-commerce, m-payment in Malaysia
On Device Research has recently published an interesting report on Mobile Malaysia: ahead of the pack. The report helps us to understand the mobile landscape in Malaysia, especially on smartphone trend.
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