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Google: Here’s How Malaysian Consumers Decide On Their Next Smartphone Purchase

Malaysians are avid researchers and it’s not primarily about price anymore

Photo by Android Police

Smartphones are incredibly central to our daily lives and deciding on a new or replacement device is a hugely important part in the life of a typically connected Malaysian.

Google and Ipsos recently conducted a study to find out how Malaysian consumers are choosing their next smartphone purchase. The research found that: 

  • Malaysians are avid researchers who are very deliberate about their smartphone of choice.
  • Smartphone factors like battery life, operating system and key specifications trump price.
  • Rural Malaysians are empowered by e-commerce; many now research and buy online.

The study also found that while the majority of Malaysians hold on to their smartphones for longer than two years, 1 in 2 Malaysians aspire to change their phones in under 2 years. Additionally, 1 out of 5 Malaysians are brand loyalists who are hard to sway from their current choice. What’s more, 1 in 10 Malaysians are in-store deciders who only decide which phone to buy at the physical store.

4 in 5 Malaysians are influenced by online touchpoints like search engines, brand sites and e-commerce comparisons for research and information seeking before making their purchase. 

“Malaysians are becoming increasingly conscious and deliberate about their smartphone choices given innovation in the smartphone industry and higher access to information. Online research is arguably the most important part of the purchase journey and where Malaysian consumers spend the most time on; but once all the factors are weighted and considered there’s still room for retail sales to play a part,” said Su Ann Lim, Industry Head for Tech and Telco at Google Malaysia.

Malaysians in the market for a smartphone perform many research actions before purchasing. As the research highlights, digital has now emerged as the top source of information to help buyers make their decision. Overall, an average of 8.3 activities are completed during the research phase before Malaysians go on to make the final decision.

The top research activities cited were: (1) searching and reading online device reviews and watching YouTube product reviews, (2) visiting brand and product sites, and (3) comparing prices and specs on e-commerce sites. 

As for purchase factors, the top three cited by Malaysians surveyed when choosing their next smartphone are: 

  1. Battery life
  2. Operating System — Android, iOS or other
  3. Internal Specs — RAM, processor, durability

Other factors surveyed and ranked included: affordability, camera quality, brand reputation, trusted reviews, promotions and discounts, and device availability.

The prevalence of e-commerce has also influenced how Malaysians purchase their smartphones. Today, 1 in 4 smartphones are bought online in Malaysia.

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