KUALA LUMPUR: Ecommerce sales are rising rapidly in Malaysia, with further growth expected over the next three years.

Internet payment service PayPal and research firm The Nielsen Company surveyed 400 people who have previously bought goods online.

As a result, they estimated 1.1m shoppers splashed out 1.8bn ringgits ($600m; €412m; £363m) via this route in 2010, a figure predicted to reach 5bn ringgits in 2014.

On average, these consumers spent 2,461 ringgits each through the web over the last 12 months, with 70% of revenues drawn from individuals in the middle class demographic or above.

The travel category took 24% of online expenditure in 2010, beating bill payments' 18%, entertainment and lifestyle's 14%, IT and electronics' 12%, and insurance's 11%.

Elsewhere, the fashion and beauty sector claimed 10% of outlay, trailed by gifts and collectibles, on a more modest 4%.

Nearly 60% of contributors agreed making purchases with their credit or debit card on the net was a "risk", and 40% thought current security measures fell short.

Turning to mobile, an estimated 254,000 people spent a combined 100m ringgits, equivalent to 6% of ecommerce returns.

The most popular transactions completed by wireless consumers were paying bills, with 22%, acquiring movie tickets, on 21%, obtaining books, logging 15%, and downloading movies, music or games, attaining 14%.

Some 40% of the panel would be willing to buy goods in this way, although obstacles cited to doing so included a small screen and slow connections, both on 48%, and security concerns, hitting 37%.

"Malaysians are finding great value in buying products and services via the web as part of their daily lives," said Elias Ghanem, PayPal's managing director and general manager for Southeast Asia and India.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff