KUALA LUMPUR: Online retailers in Malaysia and Southeast Asia should be able to extend their reach after a survey for Google showed a high proportion of people who have never purchased online before plan to do so in the next 12 months.

Working in partnership with TNS Research, Google polled more than 1,000 consumers aged 16 to 60 in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

It found that two-fifths (43%) of Malaysians intend to start shopping online over the coming year, a similar proportion to Indonesians (46%) and Filipinos (40%), CIO Asia reported.

When asked what will be their first online purchase during the year, half of the Malaysian respondents said it would be clothing, although only 31% of Singaporeans shared that choice.

The findings prompted Shylendra Nathan, industry head of Google Malaysia, to suggest that Southeast Asia "looks like a great place" to run an online clothes store.

However, he cautioned that online retailers must earn the trust of consumers and overcome their concerns about security after the study found half of Malaysians are worried about the security of their financial details online.

More positively, the report also found almost three-quarters (72%) of Malaysians take direct action from ads – as do 79% of Indonesians – while "saving time" is as much a motivation as "price" for all countries surveyed apart from Singapore.

Turning to the views of retailers, the survey found Malaysian retailers do not expect to get the highest prices online but appreciate the opportunity of reaching a large audience of consumers.

Almost two-thirds of Malaysian retailers said the main reason for selling online was because of the sheer volume of consumers available.

Data sourced from CIO Asia; additional content by Warc