Online retailers — a sphere where women rule

According to a 2017 article in Forbes, it was reported that the global beauty industry is worth RM1.8t


Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, they said, and it could not be far from the truth when it comes to their shopping pattern.

Some studies even relate the men and women’s behaviours back in prehistoric days where men were the hunters while women were the gatherers, thus explaining the enjoyment they feel while browsing and considering all options before making a purchase.

Fast forward, the advancement of technology and usage of big data makes it even easier to predict what women want or like, particularly when doing their online shopping.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) spoke to two giant e-commerce platforms, homegrown 11street and Singapore-based Shopee, where both platforms operate in several large markets across South-East Asia.

Both platforms said while most of their consumers are young working adults between the ages of 26 and 35, women remain their loyal users because of shopping convenience and the huge array of choices they have.

Some products continue to have consistent sales, indicating that women make recurring purchases monthly or frequently.

Health and Beauty

According to a 2017 article in Forbes, it was reported that the global beauty industry is worth RM1.83 trillion (US$445 billion) and it is expected to grow to RM3.32 trillion (US$805.6 billion) by 2023.

Shopee regional MD Ian Ho told TMR that South Korean beauty brand Laneige has seen an increase in its sales lately with 165 products listed on the website.

Laneige — created in 1994 — is known for its mastery in product creation of healthy skin and water using technologies including water science.

“American cosmetics NYX (Professional Makeup) is also seeing a growth in its consumer base here,” Ho said.

According to 11street CMO Jenny Tay, based on their records, women usually purchase supplement brands on the platform.

“We’ve seen brands like Kinohimitsu gaining traction. There are a variety of products ranging from dietary supplements, which include collagen drinks and superfoods, to foot patches,” Tay said.

A quick search by TMR found that there were 176 results of this brand on the platform.

Tay noted that during the International Women’s Day sale this year, one of the best selling items was Kinohimitsu bird nest drink.

Tay added that FROMNATURE which promises products made from natural ingredients is also popular.

“Some of the cross-border trade products like Olen’s contact lenses are also purchased frequently,” Tay said.

Fashion and Lifestyle

Ho said up to 50% of women who shop on the fashion and lifestyle categories make recurring purchases on a monthly basis.

“Popular brands within these categories include Ice Watch, Photobook and Siti Khadijah,” he said.

Siti Khadijah Apparel Sdn Bhd began its business by selling women’s prayer outfits and apparel for pilgrimage.

Groceries and Household Goods

Not surprisingly, Malaysian women are the main buyers of household groceries.

Tay said women who have families tend to purchase necessities like Milo, cereals and cleaning products for their household use, with most items purchased in large quantities during sales promotion.

“Some of the bestselling items on 11street were coffee brand Super Essenso, and 888 Tea and Coffee. Some 60% of our grocery sales were from this category.”

“During our ‘Ong-some’ Chinese New Year (CNY) campaign this year, we saw a steady stream of purchases from various categories, particularly groceries, because most of our female customers who were working on these days had limited time for grocery shopping; hence, they opted for online shopping,” Tay said.

Ho said prior to CNY this year, Shopee’s platform saw a spike in home decor products especially from brands running during their Shopee Super Brand Day.

“One such example is Mr DIY, which offers affordable do-it-yourself tools and accessories, household items like hardware, gardening and electrical items,” he said.

The hardware and home improvement retailer, which was launched on Shopee last October, immediately became a preferred online shop on the website.


Women are more active in buying gadgets online, like phones, watches and television (TV) sets.

Ho said they set a new record for the Realme 2 mobile phone over the 11.11 sale last year.

“A total of 2,500 units of Realme 2 Pro was sold out within three hours, setting a new record among all smartphone brands’ first sale on Shopee,” Ho said.

He added that the younger generation of women also have a tendency to purchase phone accessories and concert tickets, especially during the early bird sales.

“When Korean Blackpink’s 2019 World Tour concert tickets went on sale during our 12.12 Birthday Sale, they were sold out in less than an hour, with 100 tickets being snapped up within the first 30 seconds,” Ho said.

Future Shopping Trend

Ho said the platform is constantly thinking of products and sales that will appeal to the women customers.

“That being said, we do not change the fundamentals of advertising and marketing. We take a 360 degree branding approach to ensure our initiatives are communicated widely, if not to all existing and potential customers, to ensure the success of our campaigns.

“Following the buying behaviour before every festive season, we believe that the entire month of Ramadhan will see a surge in orders especially for baju Raya, ingredients for baking kuih Raya, home and kitchen appliances such as TV, sound system, ovens and breadmakers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tay said 11street will have its “Raya Together-gether” campaign from April 15 till June 8, 2019, and consumers will see many good deals on various products and services.

“Whether it’s Ramadhan buffet vouchers, hampers with delicious Raya cookies or even items to get your home ready for the festive season such as home electronics and groceries, our customers will definitely enjoy great savings and convenience,” she said.

Both platforms are optimistic that their sales will go up during the festive period, as many people prefer online shopping due to time constraints.