Welcome to Malaysians on Malaysia: our quarterly report on Malaysian consumer confidence. With all Malaysia states moving into Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) in 3Q’21, our MYCI index and overall consumer confidence strengthen. Scroll down to see more insights about Malaysia’s confidence, behaviour, our COVID-19 response, e-wallet, tech and esports trends.
As we continue to brave through the COVID-19 pandemic as a nation, our Malaysians on Malaysia study gives us a glimpse of the trends and sentiments during this period – this time focusing on how consumer confidence improved after entering NRP Phase 2 or 3. Our previous coverage on Malaysian consumer confidence for 2Q 2021 can be found here.
Malaysia Entering Phase 2 or 3 (NRP) and COVID-19 Vaccination Almost Complete
Our Malaysia Confidence Index (MYCI) improved and is now above the 100pts (i.e. 109pts)! All Malaysian States are moving into Phase 2 or 3 of the National Recover Plan (NRP) in 3Q’21; hence, most businesses are allowed to operate now.
With some vaccination centers allowing people to walk-in for their vaccination, 95% of Malaysians have received at least one dose of vaccine in 3Q’21 (vs. 32% in 2Q’21). Coupled with that, 83% of them claim that they have been fully vaccinated as well. Having said that, vaccination rates looks to be lower among Gen Z and those in Penang where vaccination rate is only slightly above 80%.
Optimistic About Financial Well-Being Dampening But Remain Subdued Towards Malaysia’s Economy
Movement restrictions are finally over. With businesses across various sectors now being allowed to operate in full force and people able to resume their work again, it has boost up Malaysians’ confidence towards their personal financial well-being. Therefore, we see all component indices record an increase this quarter, and is also seen across various income groups and locations in 3Q’21.
Though our economy indices have recorded an uptick in 3Q’21. Malaysians are still skeptical about the country’s economy – with both economic indices clocking in at well below the 100pt mark. It might take some time to rebuild Malaysians’ confidence towards Malaysia’s economy, especially the Upper M40 group.
Usage of E-wallet Increases
E-wallet usage has increased in 3Q’21 since Malaysians are out and about again. With different players offering different promos in the market, consumers have an average of 3-4 e-wallets at any one time (recording an all-time-high). E-wallet users are mainly the young adults (25-34 years old), PMEBs, and upper M40-T20 group.
Averagely, Malaysians spend around RM325 per month on purchases through their e-wallets. A sharp increase in e-wallet usage is seen in 3Q’21 for groceries. It has now replaced F&B and became top of the list when it comes to e-wallet usage channels.
Touch ‘n Go e-wallet, Grab Pay, Boost and ShopeePay have all see an increase in usage in 3Q’21. Surprisingly, a sharp decline is seen for usage of Maybank QR Pay. On top of that, BigPay and FavePay starting to make a prominent mark in the e-wallet payment category, resulting in both of them being within the top 7 e-wallets being used now.
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Our Malaysia Consumer Index (MYCI) was once at its all-time low (92pts) in the previous quarter. However, all Malaysia States have moved now into Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the NRP in the third quarter of 2021. Hence, majority of the businesses are now allowed to operate, and Malaysians are out and about once again. With that, our MYCI has rebounded to above 100 pts and is at 109pts in this quarter.
Since businesses across all sectors are now allowed to operate fully, and most people are able to get back to work again, Malaysians are more confident about their current personal financial well-being. Therefore, the index has risen from 107pts to 130pts in this quarter. An increasing uptrend is also seen across various income groups and locations.
The uptick in optimism is translating into increased optimism for their financial well-being in the next 12 months as well. It is seen across all income groups and locations, especially amongst the T20 segment and Johor Bahru area.
After the sharp dip of willingness to spend on major purchases that we saw last previous quarter, the index has leaped 29pts in Q3’21, reaching 101pts again. As Malaysians are gaining more confidence towards their financial well-being, people are feeling ready again to spend on major purchases. This sentiment is seen across all income groups and locations in this case.
Malaysians’ confidence towards the economy recorded a slight lift in Q3’21 as they are being more confident about their financial well-being this round. However, the index of 79pts shows that the positivity towards the economy has not fully returned (still below 100pts). In spite of that, there is a hint of an uptrend on its way, it shows that it would take some time for the index to cross the 100pts threshold. Especially with the upper M40 segment continuing their dip in sentiments towards the economy currently.
As for sentiments towards the Malaysian economy in the near future, although we see the decline arrested this quarter, Malaysians have yet to show a correction of the overall downtrend here. We can hope that with the continual easing of Government movement restrictions, it would continue to help lift the overall confidence towards the Nation’s economy now and the future.
FOCUS: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Malaysia
With the country’s accelerating on the vaccination process, 95% of Malaysians claimed they have now been vaccinated with at least the first dose (vs. only 32% in 2Q’21). Gen Z has the lowest vaccination rate among the other generation. However, they have the biggest improvement compared to other groups in 2Q’21 (only 9%). In terms of location, Penang’s vaccination rate is only slightly above 80%.
Looking into Malaysia’s vaccination status in 3Q’21, 83% of Malaysians have been fully vaccinated. It is seen that Gen X and Baby Boomers have the highest fully vaccinated rate (over 90%), while Gen Z and Millennials have not reach above 80% of vaccinated rate yet. There are 13% of Gen Z and 18% of Malaysian living in Penang, have registered for COVID-19 vaccine but have not gotten an appointment yet. With the daily confirmed cases decreasing since 26th August 2021 (highest daily confirmed cases – 24599), Malaysians believe that vaccine does help to fight against COVID-19. Hence, only 1% of Malaysians are not registered for vaccine and don’t want to get vaccinated if possible.
With movement restrictions opening up in 3Q’21, Malaysians have reduced some online activities this round. After all the quarantines, lockdowns and social distancing, Malaysians have entered into “revenge” shopping spree as soon as dine-ins and shopping are now allowed nationwide. Since Physical Store Shopping is now allowed, it has caused a decrease in online shopping and livestream shopping. Also, lesser people are taking-away and having meals at convenience stores/petrol marts as they are now allowed to eat in the restaurants.
Online gamers might not have much time for online games now; due to majority of the people are now back to office. Employees might not be able to enjoy the flexible work schedule anymore. Besides, people are concerned towards their health during this pandemic as well (i.e. healthy lifestyles, eating habits, exercise, etc). Domestic and international travel remained at a low rate as interstate travel is allowed for those who have been fully vaccinated only (from 11th October 2021 onwards). As food delivery has become one of the common activities during the pandemic, it will be measured from this quarter onwards.
Since business have been opening up, e-wallet usage has also recorded an increase in 3Q’21. It is almost equaling the all-time-high of 67% in 1Q’21. The average number of e-wallets used by consumers also see an increase to 3-4 wallets at any one time (recording an all-time-high). It could be probably due to the different services/promotions offered by the many of different players in the market now.
Averagely, Malaysians spend around RM325 per month on purchases through their e-wallets.
As usual, Touch ‘n Go e-wallet is still the market leader among the others. Surprisingly, Maybank QR Pay is experiencing a sharp decline this round; whereas Touch ‘n Go e-wallet, Grab Pay, Boost, and ShopeePay have all see an increase in usage in 3Q’21. Besides, BigPay and FavePay are starting to make a prominent mark in the e-wallet payment category where both of them are now among the top 7 e-wallets being used.
With the idea of convenience and avoiding close contact, using e-wallet for transaction has become popular among Malaysians. The usage of e-wallets increases across the different channels, especially during lockdown and movement restrictions order. Malaysians are spending lesser on majority of the other channels except groceries. A sharp increase in e-wallet usage is seen in 3Q’21 for groceries and has now top the list when it comes to e-wallet usage channels, replacing F&B.
Undoubtedly, technology has made our lives easier in many ways, especially during this pandemic. Malaysians’ awareness towards the tech trends have an increased at 15% or above in 3Q’21. Majority of the tech trends have finally hit their next highest rate in this quarter. The top 3 technologies that Malaysians focus are Esports (+24%), Non-Fungible Token (NFT) (+21%), and Augmented Reality (AR) (+18%). Even though Esports has the highest awareness rate (81%) among the others, it has yet to achieve its previous peak (85%) two years back (3Q’19).
What’s the future of digital currency in Malaysia? Since 2Q’20, the ownership of Cryptocurrency maintained at a rate of 30% and above. After its previous peak of 41% in 2Q’21, the current Cryptocurrency ownership remained stable at 39% in 3Q’21. (Result: before China banned the cryptocurrency towards end of Sep’21).
Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are still the top 2 favorite cryptocurrencies owned by Malaysians. At the same time, the interest towards other coins increases as well; such as Dash, NEO, DOGE, and XRP. However, Malaysians’ interest towards Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Enjin Coin (ENJ) has a slight drop in this quarter.
Malaysians on Malaysia cover opinions of Malaysians aged 18 and above, M40 and T20 segments, in key cities of Peninsula Malaysia representatively.
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(Featured Image Source: Straitstimes)