iPrice study: Malaysia’s e-commerce scene takes a hit during election period

Last week will go down in the history books as among one of the most significant weeks in the history of Malaysia. As the nation concluded the election period with the swearing-in of its seventh prime minister on 10 May, e-commerce platforms experienced a significant dip in online traffic as Malaysians were focused on the elections.

In a bid to understand online consumers, iPrice conducted a brief study to find out how the elections period affected eCommerce platforms in the country.

Before elections day:

According to the study, before the election day itself, Malaysians diverted focus from online shopping to pre-election preparations. The study shows that the elections affected online traffic from the afternoon onwards. It remained normal in the morning but declined steadily from 4.00PM onwards. This was evident when comparing to online traffic to the previous period (9th April 2018).

Multiple Malaysian media reported traffic congestions on most major highways from 2.00PM onwards. This suggests that most Malaysians diverted their attention from online shopping to pre-election preparations such as travelling to their voting areas in the afternoon. There was also a 34.8% decline in online traffic at 10.00PM when compared to the same time in the last period. This is significant as online traffic would reach its highest point around 10.00PM on regular days.

Elections day:

On election day, Malaysian shoppers more focused on the elections than online shopping. On usual weekdays, online traffic in Malaysia would reach its highest points at about 11.00AM, 3.00PM and 10.00PM. On elections day, online traffic reached its peak at 5.00PM and steadily declined for the rest of the day. This suggests that a small number of Malaysians return to online shopping when the voting period ended at 5.00PM. As nightfall came, online shoppers return their attention to the elections and its results. On usual periods, Malaysians were actively shopping online in the evening until 12-midnight. On election night, online traffic was 50.6% lower than usual as most Malaysians remain awake for the results.

After elections day:

After the elections were over, online traffic improved but remained lower than usual. On a regular Thursday, e-commerce platforms usually experience a steady increase in online traffic in the morning. However, online traffic at 9.00AM (10th May 2018) was 56.5% lower than usual as Malaysians awake to the announcement of the elections results and public holidays.

As mentioned earlier, online shopping would reach its highest point at about 10.00PM on regular weekdays. However, this was not the case as Malaysia witnesses the swearing-in of its seventh prime minister close to 10.00PM. Online traffic was 39.7% lesser than usual at 10.00PM.


Shopping on mobile

Overall, there was a substantial decline in the number of online shoppers across all devices. However, the decline on desktop devices were slightly higher as compared to tablets and mobile devices. This suggests that many Malaysians were still shopping online on their mobile devices as they waited for their turn to vote.


Data was obtained by comparing online sessions on iPrice Malaysia between 7 May 2018 to 11 May 2018 and 9 April 2018 to 13 April2018. Data was obtained through Google Analytics. iPrice Malaysia receives millions of online sessions monthly and currently catalogues millions of products from hundred of online retailers across the country.

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