Kuala Lumpur consumer behavior research – BUD Fund to Malaysia


The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) research has conducted a survey recently to study buyer behavior in Kuala Lumpur (KL) of Malaysia. BizMagnet BUD consultant believes that is valuable reference for businesses intend to go Malaysia, and highlights the keynotes with the information of the BUD Fund FTA Programme (a.k.a. ASEAN Programme).1 This article first quotes the survey of physical store shopping and online purchase, then recommends potential sectors and promotion channels, and concludes with the advantages of BUD ASEAN Programme.

The HKTDC collected around 1,500 KL consumers’ opinion of physical and online shopping in January by focus group and online questionnaires. The study aimed at understanding Malaysian buyer behavior, and found that 74% of interviewees visit shopping mall monthly and more than half of online buyers use smartphone to consume. Malaysians are very smart to compare prices online and share experience in social media.

Know more: ASEAN – Potential Indonesia

Consumption and entertainment in mega shopping malls

There are many mega shopping malls in KL, such as:

  • 1 Utama(1U, 7th largest shopping mall in the world)
  • Pavilion
  • Berjaya Times Square(10th largest construction by floor area)

which local visitors and tourists can go shopping, leisure and entertainment for a whole day. The tropical climate stimulates the development of these mega malls. According to the survey, the most popular consumption in the malls are clothes, shoes, electronics, gifts and kitchenware etc. Also, the consumption-to-income ratio of high-income family is higher.

If your target customers are Malaysia middle class, BizMagnet advises you to study the survey in detail. Mega shopping malls are essential for the middle class daily life. You should consider to establish physical stores as branding element even you target Malaysian online market. Plenty of Hong Kong brands, for example Hui Lau Shan, City Chain and Dr. Kong etc have set up stores in these mega malls.2

Fast growing e-Commerce with Search and Social Media

Another main focus of the study is KL e-Commerce development. According to e-Conomy SEA 2019 by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, Malaysian online market tripled since 2015 and exceeded USD 3 billion in 2019.3 The major KL e-Commerce platforms are:

  • Shopee(Founded by Forrest Li, a Chinese, in Singapore)
  • Lazada(Largest e-Commerce platform in SEA, held by Alibaba China)
  • Lelong(Local e-Commerce platform)

Users compare prices mainly by internet search engine, and social media such as Facebook and Instagram is influential in online purchase. Same as physical stores, the most popular online purchases are clothes, shoes, electronics, gifts and kitchenware etc.

Explore Malaysia O2O market with BUD Fund

Now you can apply for the BUD Fund FTA Programme to reimburse 50% of cost to explore Malaysia O2O market. The maximum cumulative subsidy is HK$ 4 million. The economy of Malaysia ranks high in the ASEAN with strong consumption power. Consumers are abundant and loyal to mature mega shopping malls, which is good for branding; they also adapt to smartphones and social media, giving online business opportunity. All these items are covered in the BUD Fund. Get government fund to discover more in Malaysia, you may contact BizMagnet BUD consultant to know more.

  1. Doris Fung, Shopping in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur Buyer Behaviour (HKTDC Research), https://research.hktdc.com/en/article/NTA4MzU4MzYy
  2. Shop list in 1 Utama, https://www.1utama.com.my/shop/
  3. e-Conomy SEA (2019, p.20), https://www.blog.google/documents/47/SEA_Internet_Economy_Report_2019.pdf

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