Mobile commerce to grow triple-fold in 2017


Just slightly over a decade ago, online banking, e-commerce and mobile transactions were terms unheard by many. That period is what trade pundits call “before AirAsia”.

By Priya Rama

Enter AirAsia, gatecrashing and breaking all barricades, and practically coercing every Malaysian from all walks of life to learn how to purchase e-tickets. And that was the advent of anything and everything e-commerce for ordinary folks.

“We truly have to thank AirAsia for starting the online payment revolution and creating the first wave of e-consumerism. They paved the road for this vibrant e-commerce platform that we have today, not only in Malaysia but in many parts of ASEAN,” said Chan Kok Long (below left), Executive Director of iPay88. Malaysian-based iPay88 is an online payment service solution provider in ASEAN.


He also shared some insights of tracking key 2016 online shoppers’ trends, which are also used as a basis to see what would be powering the country’s e-commerce scene in 2017.

The growth of Malaysian consumers making online purchases using mobile phone is encouraging. iPay88 statistics show that the total transactions generated by mobile commerce has grown significantly by 148.9 per cent to 9.3 million in 2016, compared to 3.7 million in 2015.

Comparatively, online shopping on desktop only showed a small 29.7 percent rise, from 5.8 million transactions in 2015 to 7.6 million transactions in 2016.

“These statistics have proven that mobile commerce growth last year has far outpaced e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, whereby savvy retailers are moving to leverage the m-commerce space. This trend is foreseen to continue in 2017,” revealed Chan.

He continued, saying, “Retailers are taking a mobile-first approach to desktop and these retailers are adding value of mobile through supporting contents. For instance, mobile application-based shoppers are frequently prompted instantaneously of special discounts at designated locations.”


Also, there have been an increasing number of users of mobile payments since Apple, Samsung and Google with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay that addressed security concerns through tokenization in the payment infrastructure, supplemented by biometrics on the smartphone.

Good Signs of Growth

Overall, online shoppers on MarketPlaces grew in volume by 182.84 percent. Breakdown of some areas of volume growth are as follows:

  • Delivery services increased by 243 percent
  • Telco services for bill payment increased by 81 percent
  • Transportation services increased by 67 percent
  • Food and beverage sales increased by 45 percent
  • Gifts and merchandise increased by 19 percent.

“We see this as a growing trend especially the millennials, who have started to accept e-commerce as part of their lifestyle. Since it is so convenient, more items such as groceries, are being purchased online,” shared Chan.


In addition, Chan also shared about the limitless opportunities of e-commerce in 2017 for ASEAN. “Although the size of ASEAN’s Internet users and digital buyers are comparable with Japan, it still remains less than one percent of the global e-commerce volume.

“This only shows that there is a huge opportunity for ASEAN markets to demonstrate accelerated growth, with the right enablers – which we think that payment gateway solutions will play an important role in,” he opined.

Online Banking

Among the alternative payment methods, 2016 saw that online banking continuing to reign as the preferred payment option when comes to e-commerce and online shopping.

iPay88 system showed that online banking recorded 11.5 million transactions as compared to 5.3 million credit card transactions in 2016. This trend follows back from 2015 whereby there were 5.8 million transactions via online banking as compared to only 3.7 million transactions via credit card.


Chan reasoned that since the economy looked uncertain, consumers become more wary about spending on credit. “Therefore in 2017, we expect online banking to continue its high popularity as the preferred method of e-commerce purchases.”

Disruptive Technology

Though online banking is still very much preferred but look out for disruptive technologies such as virtual reality in marketplace and drone deliveries entering the market in the near future, stated Chan.

Imagine buying a camera virtually. You put on a goggle, enter the store via a virtual reality system, and try fiddling the camera that you wish to buy. And if you’re satisfied, then make a virtual payment at the store.

Even better, imagine a drone delivering your purchased items say via Lazada to your home just two hours after placing an order.

Chan revealed that Alibaba founder Jack Ma has invested billions in these technologies. He also gave a heads-up on the market’s potential shift from using the physical credit card as a means of online shopping, to the ‘virtual’ payment alternative.

“Rather than a fixed number that can be re-used for multiple transactions, a virtual payment uses a one-time number and this protects shoppers from fraud. Virtual payment makes recurring payment easier and safer as actual payment details are never exposed.

In addition, he pointed out, virtual payment alternatives are also more seamless, and provide a better user experience which in return leads to better conversion and higher sales.



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