By S BIRRUNTHA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
ABOUT 46% of Malaysians would research extensively on their preferred smartphone model before purchasing it, a study by Google Malaysia revealed.
Its industry head for technology and telecommunications Lim Su Ann (picture) said Malaysians are becoming increasingly conscious and deliberate about their smartphone choices due to innovation in the smartphone industry and higher access of information.
“Online research is arguably the most important part of the purchase journey and where Malaysian consumers spend most of their time on.
“But once all the factors are weighted and considered, there is still room for retail sales to play a part,” she said during the revelation of the study conducted by Google Malaysia and Ipsos in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Lim added that Malaysians in the market for a smartphone perform many research actions before purchasing their next smartphone.
“As the research highlights, digital has now emerged as the top source of information to help buyers make their decision.
“Overall, an average of 8.3 number of activities are completed during the research phase before they go on to make the final decision,” she said.
“This shows how smartphones are incredibly central to our daily lives and deciding on a new or replacement device is a hugely important part of life of a typical Malaysian,” she added.
The study demonstrated that the top research activities cited by Malaysian users are searching and reading online device reviews, visiting brand and product sites, and comparing prices and specifications on e-commerce sites. On purchasing factor, the study also found that the top three aspects cited by Malaysians when choosing their next smartphone are battery life, operating system (OS) and internal specifications.
“This came in as a surprise for us, as we really thought the most important factor for Malaysians when purchasing a smartphone is price point,” Lim said.
“But what we realise is that the time has changed. Phone factors are becoming increasingly important than price point among smartphone users today.
“Battery life, OS whether it is Android or IOS, and internal specifications are critical. Smartphone brands can differentiate by showing consumers clear use case for their archetypes,” she added.
In terms of replacing smartphones, the study identified that while the majority of Malaysians hold on to their smartphones for longer than two years, one in two of them aspire to change their phones in under two years.
Additionally, one out of five Malaysians are brand loyalists who are hard to sway from their current choice, and one in 10 Malaysians are identified as the “in-store deciders”, where they only decide which phone to buy at the physical store.
Other factors surveyed and ranked in the study include affordability, camera quality, brand reputation, trusted reviews, promotions and device availability.
The prevalence of e-commerce platform has also influenced how Malaysians purchase their smartphones.
The study also identified that today, one in four smartphones are bought online in Malaysia.
Interestingly, more rural consumers bought their smartphone online in the past three months compared to urban consumers due to ease of access.
This year alone, about 80 smartphone models from various brands have been launched in Malaysia.