Malaysians still cautious with spending

In Nielsen’s latest findings on Retailer and Shopper Trends, the market research agency found that consumers remain price conscious.

Three in five shoppers were found to buy only essential items in response to rising food prices and one third would buy less in total.

In its findings, 86% of Malaysian shoppers were found to be aware of price increases and three in five (63%) hyper- and supermarket shoppers indicated that they would only buy essential items or cut down luxuries.

The report, which identifies key trends and market shifts in the grocery sector, also reveals that one-third (32%) of shoppers would buy less in total to counter price increases, representing the highest percentage in Southeast Asia along with Vietnam.

“The reaction from shoppers to economise isn’t a surprise and it has the potential to impact the growth rates for the total fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market,” said Jake Shepherd, retailer services director, Nielsen Malaysia.

“Malaysian consumers are cautiously optimistic. There are concerns about the broader economic climate and local events, but they remain comfortable about their own personal finances,” Shepherd said, adding that Malaysian consumers are also more likely to spend their spare cash on paying off debt than spending compared to other Asia Pacific countries.

Nielsen’s survey also shows that whilst traditional grocery (8.6 times), wet markets (5.1 times) and vegetable vendors (4.4 times) are still the top three most frequently visited channels per month, their visit frequencies have declined over the last three years.

Shepherd said that one of the contributing factors of the volume decline could be the performance of the hypermarkets.

“Though 44% of shoppers still say these are the stores where they spend most money, the amount of times people visit them in a month is stable and has been for some time. This type of store is typically where shoppers are encouraged to buy additional volume of goods. If shoppers are not visiting more often, the overall volume of goods they buy may not increase,” he added.

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