Social, Digital and Mobile in Malaysia

Simon Kemp

Today’s Social, Digital and Mobile in Asia report explores the digital landscape of Malaysia:

Perhaps the most striking finding in this report is that Malaysians have the highest average number of friends on social networks of any nation on Earth. Indeed, at 233, the average Malaysian’s Facebook network is almost 80% higher than the global benchmark.

Social networking in general is particularly popular in Malaysia, with nearly half of the population maintaining a Facebook account.

Malaysia’s netizens appear to prefer the internet to TV, spending almost twice as much time online as they do watching television.

However, more than 40% of Malaysian internet users access TV and movie content via the internet, and 80% of Malaysian web users stream online video content each month, so this finding may be more about the choice of delivery channel than it is about actual content preference.

Social sharing drives much of this content consumption, and considering the size of the average netizen’s social network, it’s perhaps unsurprising to learn that around one third of the country’s internet traffic is generated by social sites.

This love affair with social media shows no signs of showing either, with Malaysians setting up almost a quarter of a million new Facebook accounts in the past 30 days alone.

This is good news for marketers in the country too; Malaysia’s netizens are the second most likely in Asia to interact with a brand in social media, and three out of every five web users indicate that they’ve done so in the past year.

Music is another favourite amongst Malaysians, with 86% of the country’s netizens claiming that they download music from the web.

Reassuringly for the music companies, however, Malaysians are not averse to spending money online, and the country’s netizens spend an average of US$2,000 online each year.

A considerable volume of this spending is on travel, and more than 80% of Malaysian web users have bought flights via the internet.

Indeed, Malaysians appear to be particularly comfortable conducting a wide variety of financial affairs on the internet: one study even found that 86% of the country’s netizens use online banking – one of the highest rates in the world.

As a result of this broad affinity for all things digital, we expect to see internet penetration rates and overall digital sophistication continue to grow in the coming months, and we predict that Malaysia will further consolidate its position as one of the region’s digital champions in 2012.