Social habits differ in Malaysia

18 October 2013
KUALA LUMPUR: Listening to music, shopping for groceries and reading newspapers are the three most popular weekly activities for all global consumers, but a new survey has found notably different emphases in Malaysia.

Malaysians stood apart from most global respondents regarding newspaper readership with 82% saying they did this on a weekly basis compared to a global average of 59% and an Asia Pacific average of 62%.

They also exercise less and go out more often to eat away from the home, research group GfK uncovered in its online survey of 40,000 consumers across 28 countries, including 11 from the Asia Pacific region.

Whereas 76% of global respondents said listening to music was their most frequent weekly activity, this applied to 63% in Malaysia, where also just 56% go grocery shopping compared to the global average of 70%.

Having a sit-down meal in a restaurant was the fourth most common weekly activity for Malaysians, at 40%, while 36% go out to cafés or bars for drinks and snacks compared to just 12% in the wider region.

Malaysia also has the lowest proportion of fitness enthusiasts in the region with only 23% saying they exercise compared to 56% of Australians, 50% of Singaporeans and a regional average of 36%.

"There are vast differences in habits and behavioural patterns of consumers globally, between the east and west, and even among the individual markets in one particular region," observed Selinna Chin, managing director of GfK Malaysia.

"A formula that works extremely well in one market may fail miserably in another," she said. "For businesses to succeed in a market, they need to be well aware and understand the reasons behind all these cultural diversity."

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff
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