Are Malaysian marketers brave enough in this digital age?

In a recent survey released by Groupon, it revealed that 7 out of 10 Malaysians will be doing their holiday shopping via mobile device.

Throughout the 12 markets within the APAC region that were surveyed, Malaysian consumers tallied as the highest scorers to purchase holiday gifts from their mobile devices. Furthermore, 22% of the respondents from Malaysia stated that they will spend 23% of their holiday budget through smart phones, higher than Singaporeans (22%), Indonesians (22%) or Hong Kongers (20%).

Despite stacking research showing that Malaysians are inclined to a digital shift and mobile-centric lifestyle, few marketers are actually investing in these platforms. Within the industry, there are constant discussions and curiosity as to why the digital movement in Malaysia has been crawling at a snail pace.

Dean Dacko, head of marketing for MAS Airlines, says to A+M that the massive adoption of mobile technology and the continuing shift in media consumption habits across all demographics has challenged marketers to adapt quickly.

“Today’s digital environment requires a complete re-think of how a brand can continue to remain relevant to your target audience of consumers.”

More so than any other market in the APAC region, mobile shopping in Malaysia has become mainstream – buying anything from flight tickets, to calling for taxi and household appliances with the swipe of a finger and click ‘add to cart.’

So why is it that only some brands are on the digital wagon (noticeably bigger brands) while others are trailing behind still utilising the traditional run-of-the-mill tools to reach consumers?

Andrew Lee, managing director of Havas Worldwide KL, explains that both marketing and advertising people are not taking enough risks.

“They are just doing what current marketing is doing and what the current consumers are telling them through focus groups. Getting consumer insights from current consumers will just give you current results; hence same old marketing directions and same old advertising campaigns.”

Groupon’s survey showed that the demand for mobile communication between a brand and consumer is, in fact, necessary if not at a critical point.

The question now is how the influx of consumer data in the digital era will affect marketing decisions in 2014?

(Read also: Word of mouth more influential than branding campaign)

Groupon’s APAC Holiday Season Survey received 25,070 respondents from across 12 markets, of which 1,115 were from Malaysia. The markets that were surveyed included Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.