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Looking Back At A Year In Search To Move Brands Forward

Malaysians turned to Search to find answers to their questions, many of which have never been asked before.

As we move into 2021, we still find ourselves amidst uncertainties and unlimited questions. When the pandemic first challenged everyone around the world to adapt to a new normal last year, Malaysians turned to Search to find answers to their questions, many of which have never been asked before.

And while we may not have found all the answers, observing how people turned to Search, both on Google and YouTube, offers a unique view into their changing habits and needs. We have discovered a shared desire Malaysians have in trying to understand our collectively unique experiences, and how businesses can connect – and reconnect – with consumers in a more personal and meaningful way.

Here are five trends from this edition of the Year in Search Malaysia report that provide a nuanced look at how consumers’ behavior is changing with local proof points and examples to help move your marketing forward in 2021.

Higher Purpose

As a global crisis tests their values, Malaysians are looking for ways to do more for their communities and the environment – and they expect the same from the brand. 46.6% of Malaysians believe that contributing to their community is important, which in turn drove searches for items such as ‘buatan Malaysia’ (made in Malaysia) and ‘SOP’ by up to 4 times – in fact, searches for ‘donations’ was at a 5-year-high as Malaysians opened their hearts and checkbooks to help others during the pandemic.

Whole Selves

Lines are blurring in the roles people play, and Malaysians are looking to have more specific needs met at any one time. Whether it is to optimize time through ‘delivery tracking’ (3.5x growth in searches), or adapting to education at home through ‘digital learning’ (7x growth in searches), consumers are searching for brands that fit into their lives and help juggle their various roles, and not the other way around.

Sweet Relief

Happiness never goes out of style, but amid the historic challenges of the pandemic, Malaysians are welcoming brands that spark joy in their lives and create a safe space for them. Search interests for ‘bookshop near me’ (+90%), ‘online games’ (+31%) and ‘houseplant’ (+49%) have all seen an uptick.

Future Proofing

In a year that nobody could have planned for, there’s been a new wave of interest in managing the things you can control, wherever possible, and seeking more assurance from brands to ensure peace of mind. Many are safeguarding and strengthening their economic prospects, marked by a 90% increase in searches for ‘daftar ssm’ (ssm business registration), as well as looking for financial support such as ‘government grants’ which saw a 50x increase in searches.

Individual Matters

COVID-19 reaffirmed a simple truth: each Malaysian experienced the crisis differently. Search trends reveal that people want to understand complex issues better, confront stigmas, and prioritize overall well-being – such as a 33% increase in searches for ‘racism’ and 25% for ‘mental health’.

For more on these five trends, as well as a breakdown of the changing habits and needs of consumers in four key industries – Beauty, Health & Personal Care; Food and Beverage; Finance; and Technology & Telecommunications – download the Year in Search 2020 Malaysia report.

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