Study shows e-commerce continues to be one of few industries that thrive in challenging circumstances
by S BIRRUNTHA & LYDIA NATHAN/ pic by ARIF KARTONO
THE Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in e-commerce businesses booming rapidly, as many people turn towards online platforms to stock up on their essential daily items.
A research study done by Commerce.Asia — an e-commerce ecosystem of technology and big data solutions — saw that the gross merchandise volume growth surged by 149% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020 since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced in Malaysia.
The study also found a staggering increase of purchases in women’s underwear, in which sales had spiked 909% just a month moving into the MCO.
Other items, such as latex gloves and cooking appliances like frying pan and woks, also surged 888% and 880% respectively in online sales.
Commerce.Asia founder and executive chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah said e-commerce continues to be one of the few industries that thrive in such challenging circumstances.
“We are seeing significant growth in our merchants’ sales across various product categories. While some were practical purchases of essential items, other purchases were a complete surprise to us, given that the country is undergoing MCO.
“This change in buying behaviour shows that Malaysians are adapting to the new living situation,” he said.
Speaking on the spike of purchase in undergarments, Ganesh told The Malaysian Reserve the data does not have any specific justification or reasons towards why the particular item saw such an increase.
“However, we found the majority of ladies undergarments purchased by consumers were regular, low price point briefs and not high-end lingerie,” he added.
Ganesh said he foresees a permanent change in consumer behaviour with many opting to make their purchases via digital marketplaces even after the MCO is lifted.
While essential items like food, toiletries and baby products surged in sales as expected, the research also discovered over a 100% surge in items such as libido enhancers, home fitness equipment and house carpets.
Given the unprecedented consumer demand via online platforms, the study said merchants are not just responsible to fulfil the orders, but also to be on top of logistics arrangements to ensure on-time delivery.
According to Ganesh, logistics play a vital role in supporting e-commerce by ensuring efficient processing and delivery of orders.
“In addition, logistics and transport services support the supply chain of essentials which ensures continuity of daily supply to consumers.
“The Commerce.Asia ecosystem has been built with this in mind, which is to give a one-stop solution to e-commerce merchants from onboarding to delivery that would enable merchants to sell quickly and effectively,” he added.
He also advised e-commerce businesses to equip themselves and their employees with the appropriate resources to manage operations remotely with little or no disruption.
The e-commerce study was carried out based on online platforms in Malaysia, with the majority of sales coming from Lazada and Shopee Malaysia.
The survey took a comparison of two date ranges. The first date range of 30 days before the MCO (Feb 17-March 17) and second date range of 30 days into the MCO (March 18-April 17).
Meanwhile, Shopee Malaysia has launched its fifth annual Hari Raya campaign, “Raya Bersama Shopee”, aiming to provide all essentials needed for the festive celebration, in line with its campaign tagline, “Raya Ini Shopee Di Sisimu”.
The first-time virtual launch campaign that started on March 21 will run until May 26 and is offering a variety of specials for the period.
Shopee Malaysia marketing lead Lok Weng Lum said the campaign curated is by far the longest with two main elements in mind.
The platform will also feature four special days of the “Jualan Hebat Raya” falling on April 23-24, and “Pesta Jualan Raya” falling on May 14-15.
There will be discounts of up to 80%, RM1 deals on favourite items and lowered free shipping with a minimum spend of RM10 from 12am to 2am.