Malaysia still lags in retail e-commerce


Malaysia’s retail sales on the web remain low compared to other countries in the continent despite the many start-ups and availability of various marketplaces.

Shopee Malaysia head of operations Esten Mok said retail sales from e-commerce are estimated at about 2%, lower compared to China’s 10%, the US (9.2%) and South Korea (16.3%).

“E-commerce shopping constitutes 2% of total retail sales in South-East Asia with an 8% global coverage in 2014. This shows that there is much room and potential to grow,” he said to reporters at the launch of Shopee University in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said there is huge potential for the sector especially for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the booming retail business.

“SMEs are very important and some of the challenges they’ve faced is simply going online to put their products out there,” he said, adding that there are about 400,000 local sellers on the Shopee platform presently.

He did not divulge the sales figure or the number of transactions originating in Malaysia.

It is estimated that the country’s total sales turnover for the retail industry in 2018 to be around RM104.2 billion.

He said mobile e-commerce is another booming segment with smartphone penetration reaching 70%.

“Mobile e-commerce is also growing daily. We have seen an increase of four times on our platform since 2017 in the region. About 90% of the orders on Shopee were placed via a mobile phone as of Dec 14, 2018,” Mok said.

Meanwhile, Mok said the Shopee University will encourage potential business owners to start selling on Shopee and gain insights into the world of e-commerce.

The university was a collaboration between Shopee and Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Paynet).

Paynet currently operates FPX, an online payment solution that allows customers to pay for online purchases using funds in debit and credit accounts of 29 banks in Malaysia.

Paynet group COO Tay Gim Soon said this payment method is the most cost-effective and efficient means of collecting payments online.

“Shopee already has the FPX option for payments and now we are proud to collaborate with them for the inception of the university. We hope to aid local entrepreneurs in succeeding in a mobile-centric environment,” he said.

Tay said Paynet will be the sponsor of the university as well as contributor of contents for both the offline and online classes.

Mok said there are currently about 5,000 sellers that have been attending the offline classes.