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Rakuten: Online shopping set to rise in Malaysia this festive season

Online shopping activity in Malaysia is picking up for this year’s festive season, according to a new survey conducted by Internet services company, Rakuten.
70% of Malaysian shoppers are expected to buy more, or at least the same number of Christmas gifts online this year compared to the previous year. The top three categories for year-end purchases are fashion and accessories, food and beverages, and electronics and appliances.

The respondents preferred online channels as their Christmas shopping destination, due to convenience (80%), easier browsing and comparison of products (52%), and cost effectiveness from attractive rebates and loyalty programmes (48%).            

The same survey also found that in 2014, 80% of respondents had increased or maintained their spending on Christmas online shopping, with shoppers reporting an average of 18% surge in the amount spent compared to the year before.

The Rakuten Shopping Secrets survey 2015 was conducted on more than 500 men and women aged 20 to 60 in Malaysia.[i] This is the second year running that Rakuten, which operates Rakuten Online Shopping, one of the most vibrant marketplaces in Malaysia, has commissioned it.

“The survey findings bring about encouraging news for online retailers and the industry, more so in the current economic climate. Christmas and the year-end period has always been a seasonal peak and will remain the same this year. Online retailers are cashing on the opportunity to attract more shoppers as people celebrate the pleasure of giving and receiving gifts,” said Masaya Ueno, Director, Rakuten Asia.

Christmas gifts are worth the effort after all
Validating the festive season as the perfect time for gifting, the survey shows that people do value gifts they have given or received. 76% of respondents remembered what they received from their loved ones for Christmas, and a similar percentage (74%) remembered what they bought for others.

A majority of respondents (76%) cited they did not receive any gifts that they disliked. Occasionally when they do, 4 out of 5 people would choose to re-use it as a gift to someone else or donate it to charity. As practical as it sounds, only 1 out of 10 would sell the gift, while 2 out of 5 people would keep it somewhere and forget about it.

As an extension of their appreciation towards gifting, the survey results also indicate that people are very willing to spend both time and money this season. Shoppers were found to spend the longest time on Christmas gift-shopping for their partners and spouses – 4.3 hours on average – followed by 4.1 hours on themselves. This exceeds the amount of time taken for their crushes and mothers-in-law (3.7 hours). Pets are also feeling the love, with 2.9 hours spent on Christmas gift-shopping on average.

Correspondingly, the biggest amount spent on Christmas gifts is on partners and spouses (RM 182), followed by gifts on themselves (RM 176), and their mothers (RM 157). If respondents could only buy a present for one person, 37% chose their partner or spouse, while 19% chose their mothers or themselves.

Shoppers are up for better rewards
The online shopping spree is expected to continue even after Christmas. More than half (56%) of shoppers said they make it a point to shop in the one or two weeks leading up to the start of the New Year. This trend is primarily attributed to shoppers’ desire to splurge due to great discounts (72%), wanting to start a new year with new things (38%), or rewarding themselves after a year of hard work (27%).
Mr Ueno added, “While the year-end season is usually the busiest time of the year for online marketplaces and retailers like us, we at Rakuten take a step further to make it more rewarding for shoppers. We have prepared a catalogue of items that shoppers are most keen on for the year-end season, while pricing them attractively on top of our guaranteed reward point multiplier, as we continue to delight consumers with an entertaining shopping experience.”

Rakuten has recently launched the 5x Rakuten Super Point-back programme, which is equivalent to a  5% rebate on everything you can find on Rakuten, every day, with no limit on the amount of rebates. The new 5x Rakuten Super Point-back programme is now available on Rakuten’s website,

Top 3 Must-Knows When Shopping Online For Festive Gifts
1.       Know where to start from – From family to colleagues, it’s always good to start off with your recipients and itemizing a wish list for them. A little planning should also go into the budget, so that you’re conscious with what you can afford as you start browse through online shopping sites. Always read the details before making a purchase. A good online shopping site will provide you with as much information as possible about the product, as well as their terms and conditions. Whether it’s shipping costs, delivery time, or the return and exchange policy, make sure that you know all the details before committing to buying anything.

2.       Know who you’re buying from – In the online world, everything revolves around credibility and reliability. Choose certified online shopping sites with a solid reputation globally where you can shop with a guarantee that you’re buying products directly from legitimate merchants. You don’t want to end up with counterfeit products or goods of lower quality, or even worse, purchases that fall through and leave you empty-handed.

3.       Know what’s in it for you – It’s the festive season anyway, so it doesn’t harm to reward yourself for every ringgit you spend. Look out for websites that offer loyalty programs, like Rakuten Super Points, where customers can accumulate points with each purchase and use them as a discount for their next purchase. This first-of-its-kind 5% rebate programme is aimed at rewarding shoppers who buy anything on Rakuten, as they are given Rakuten Super Points that are the equivalent of 5% of their purchase value. These points can be used like cash, to offset their next purchase.