Whether you’re a startup entrepreneur looking for new ways to engage with customers, or a seasoned marketer building up a brand from scratch, online search is an important indicator of consumer intent.
After all, Malaysians expect the internet to play many different roles, including personal entertainer, travel agent, local restaurant guide, and all-around source of truth.
Just like Google’s annual Year in Search captures the collective trending searches and sheds light on what captured the nation’s curiosity throughout the year, Google’s Year in Search Insights for Brands report sheds light on the major trends being driven by online demographics across the country and offers guidance for brands looking to better serve their consumers in the moments that matter most.
“Malaysians and their smartphones are inseparable — they are always on the lookout for the best experiences and deals within their vicinity,” said Jenny Lim, Head of Search, Google Malaysia. “We also found that local content is the biggest driver of consumer behavior and that some of the biggest e-commerce opportunities lay outside our major cities. Last but not least, Malaysians are becoming more conscious consumers who aspire toward responsible consumption.”
In the newly released report, Google outlined five trends that are shaping how Malaysian consumers searched:
1. Proximity and convenience trigger intent
Consumers expect Search to understand the intent behind what they need and deliver the best, most helpful answers that validate their choices. Searches for “near me” have grown 2.3X in the last two years, including 2.2X for “best” + “near me” and 1.2X for “terdekat”, or “close by”, while searches for “open now” have grown 1.8X.
2. Online meets offline – research happens before, during and after store visits
With the ability to do online research ahead of time, Malaysians are more informed by the time they enter a store. The mobile web has triggered more on-the-go searches from people in their moments of need. 6 out of 10 in-store buyers use Search before making their final purchase, and 4 out of 6 activities Malaysians engage in before a purchase takes place online.
3. eCommerce is growing outside of cities into non-metro areas
The internet and its myriad e-commerce services have given Malaysians living outside of cities unprecedented access to urban conveniences. And while urban users are typically 3X bigger spenders than those living in non-metros, the number of online users in Malaysia’s non-metros is expected to grow at nearly twice the rate of bigger cities’ in the next five years.
4. Local content affinity is fueling interest
Whether on smartphones or in front of their smart TV at home, Malaysians can choose what they want to watch, whenever. As people gravitate toward creating their own personal primetimes, the demand for local digital content is increasing. 90% of Malaysians over the age of 18 watch YouTube every month, and last year there was a 5X increase on video-on-demand and subscription-related searches.
5. Towards conscious, responsible consumption
The sustainability movement has influenced our way of life and how businesses operate. Malaysians are increasingly looking for brands that take the lead on promoting products and services with low environmental impact, including a positive shift in perception towards biodegradable plastic, hybrid and used cars, and second-hand goods and rentals. Searches for “dress rental” have grown 1.9X, “second-hand furniture” by 1.7X, and “used car” by 1.3X.