KUALA LUMPUR: It goes without saying that smartphones now hold an integral role in the daily lives of almost all Malaysians.
The smartphone market has accordingly exploded in value and innovation, with over 80 smartphone models being launched in 2019 alone.
Despite their importance, smartphones have a finite lifespan and the decision to buy a new device is an important decision for Malaysian consumers.
A study by Google conducted among 929 respondents of various demographics found that 52% of Malaysians aspire to change their smartphones in less than two years.
The same study finds that Malaysians are surprisingly willing to do research online before deciding on which smartphone model to buy.
Su Ann Lim, Google Malaysia’s Industry Head for Tech and Telco says, “Online research is arguably the important part of the purchase journey and where Malaysian consumers spend the most time on.”
A whopping 80% of Malaysians go online to get information on their potential smartphone purchases.
The study also finds that smartphone reviews are the go-to source of information for 59% of Malaysians.
The rise of e-commerce does not mean the end of retail stores any time soon as 49% of the respondents physically go to a branded store to browse for potential purchases.
E-commerce sites are also visited by 45% of Malaysian smartphone consumers to compare prices.
YouTube plays a role as 39% of Malaysians visit the video hosting platform to find and watch smartphone review videos.
In addition to being avid researchers, Malaysians look for specific qualities in their smartphones that affect their final purchase.
Younger people in general are less likely to look at the price tag and more at the battery life of the smartphone, its operating system and key specifications.
In addition, smartphone users are always on the lookout for affordable prices, good camera quality, a sturdy brand reputation, trusted reviews, promotions, discounts and device availability.
E-commerce plays a key role in the smartphone business, as one in four smartphones are bought online in Malaysia.
Interestingly enough, compared to 23% of urban dwellers who bought their smartphones online recently, a slightly higher percentage, specifically 27%, of rural dwellers did so too.
Quite possibly, with the lack of retail outlets in some smaller towns and cities, smartphone users in rural Malaysia have more incentive to take to the Internet to research their options and buy their phones.
The study concluded that to enlarge their smartphone consumer base, companies have to exert their influence online and take into consideration the behaviour of smartphone consumers.
In addition, rural communities are not to be underestimated as smartphone consumers as they are growing increasingly web-savvy and will conduct their purchases through e-commerce sites.