Shopee: More workers turn to e-commerce for additional income

About 35.4% of people who hold a full-time job use the platform as a form of secondary income, survey shows


THE growth of e-commerce industry in Malaysia, accelerated further by the Covid-19 pandemic, has resulted in more employed workers turning to online platforms for additional income.

Shopee Malaysia said a recent survey conducted with 11,850 local sellers showed that 35.4% of them who hold a full-time job are now using its platform as a form of secondary and third sources for household income, making an average of RM2,750 monthly.

Shopee regional MD Ian Ho (picture) said while e-commerce has shown to improve people’s lives, it also has played a larger role in shaping the current workforce.

“E-commerce provides equal opportunity for all to make a mark online. This is made easy as platforms like Shopee offer a holistic ecosystem which includes integrated payment and logistics solutions, as well as marketing and operational support to bring high traffic to our platform, which in turn means more sales for our sellers,” he told reporters at a media briefing online yesterday.

He said since the inception of the platform, the aim has been to lower the barrier entry for sellers to come on board.

According to Ho, the industry is also creating a socio-economic ripple effect, where more than 1,700 sellers said it employs both full-time and part-time employees to cope with the rising demand.

The survey also showed that 72% of new entrepreneurs were women, offering health and beauty products, fashion accessories and clothing, while generating RM3,950 on average per month.

Ho said 70.7% of new sellers were aged between 18 and 35, and were able to generate an average of RM6,000 a month despite one in three being Malaysian Certificate of Education or SPM certificate holders.

“These sellers are offering a huge variety of things such as children and Muslim fashion, groceries, and babies and kids-related products. They also appear to be more reactive to current trends by building their assortment with in-demand items such as face masks, hand sanitisers, wet wipes and more,” Ho added.

Ho said when the Movement Control Order (MCO) began in March, most consumers began buying daily necessities online, but the pattern shifted along the way.

“We then noticed as more employers instructed employees to work from home, people began buying items to accommodate the new norm, like headphones and webcams. Fashion didn’t do so well at first but once the MCO was lifted, it picked up again,” he said.

Additionally, Ho said rural entrepreneurs are penetrating larger areas even though it only constitutes 13.3%.

“It is worth noting that despite recording a small percentage of sellers, rural entrepreneurs are reaching more areas like Pontian, Johor; Kuala Nerus, Terengganu and Kabong, Sarawak, and are mostly being driven by women. These sellers put in a lot of effort and resources in the online stores.”

“As a result, Shopee finds that e-commerce, too, is facilitating the nationwide supply of hometown specialties such as keropok lekor, kek lapis, ikan bilis Pangkor, belacan, cencaluk and more, giving consumers a better variety online. These rural sellers are able to generate an average of RM3,200 in sales monthly,” Ho said.

Meanwhile, sellers are also gearing up for the country’s largest annual sale campaign, the 11.11 festival.

Ho said the survey noted that 66.7% of sellers are doubling their inventory in preparation for the 11.11 shopping festival.

“A high 70.2% of the sellers project at least 100% growth in sales on their Shopee store this ‘11.11 Big Sale’ compared to 2019, with some anticipating a fivefold increase,” he said.

He said Shopee has worked closely with brands, sellers and retailers to put together bargains and deals to enjoy.

“We are lowering the minimum spend from RM40 to RM11 for free shipping purchases. There will be 50% discount vouchers, 11 sen and RM1 Shocking Sale deals and more.”

“Shopee will also deepen its commitment to uplifting local communities through its ‘11.11 Big Charity’, its first regional charity drive where it will partner organisations like the Malaysian AIDS Foundation in raising awareness and donations for people living with HIV including underprivileged children,” Ho said.