Malaysian consumers take charge in boosting local businesses

WHEN the movement control order (MCO) was implemented in March this year, many businesses especially small Malaysian companies were badly affected. According to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia was losing about RM2.4 bil a day throughout MCO.

This had led the Government to launch a Buy Malaysian Products campaign in July where consumers are urged to “Spend for Malaysia” and support local products to revive the economy from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This is given that every ringgit spent – especially on locally-made products – would help to ensure the country’s economy remains competitive.

Indeed, Malaysians have heed the Government’s call. According to the UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment study, almost seven in 10 Malaysian consumers (69%) are buying more from local brands to help these businesses bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The buy local brands trend in Malaysia is stronger than in Thailand (67%), Vietnam (58%) and Singapore (51%). Only Indonesia at 72% shows a higher consumer preference for local products.

“This positive sentiment reflected in the survey is a morale booster for Malaysia’s homegrown businesses impacted by measures to curb the spread of COVID-19,” UOB Malaysia’s executive director and country head of business banking Raymond Chui pointed out.

The UOB study aims to provide a better understanding of Asean consumers at a time when the region is undergoing a deep social and economic transformation. It was participated by more than 3,500 respondents from five Asean countries (including more than 600 respondents in Malaysia).

Meanwhile, there is a 41% year-on-year increase in the online sales of the UOB’s retail business customers since March to October this year. This is given many consumers and businesses have been turning to the internet to buy and to sell in view of the precautionary measures put in place to fight COVID-19.

In addition, the survey found that due to the pandemic, Malaysian consumers have prioritised their online spending on food deliveries (91%), groceries (89%), health supplements (84%), personal beauty products (85%) and apparel (88%).

Also, the study found that 60% of Malaysian consumers surveyed have spent more on businesses that support lives and livelihoods affected by COVID-19 while 53% indicated that they would stop buying from brands that are irresponsible or that take advantage of consumers during the pandemic.

In line with the national #kitajagakita (we take care of each other) campaign, Malaysian consumers are using their spending power to reward businesses that are making an effort to support the community as it battles COVID-19.

“This trend underscores the importance of businesses operating responsibly. Companies with responsible business practices are more likely to do better in the longer term,” added Chui. – Dec 24, 2020


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