Malaysia Online Activities in 2018

Social engagement continues to be the most frequent activities among Internet users. As much as 96.5% used Internet for texting via over-the-top (OTT) messaging platform, while the use of Internet telephony (whether by voice or video calls) was on the rise, reaching up to 60.6% as compared to 32.0% in 2016. Apart from texting and Internet telephony, social networking was also common amongst Internet users (85.6%).

Majority of Internet users also relied on Internet for information seeking (85.5%), that provides access to relevant results in an instant. Moreover, various forms of media presentation – such as video, audio and infographic – for information dissemination has made Internet an interactive and commonly preferred source of knowledge.
Apart from text and video communications, video streaming was also a widely used OTT services by Internet users. With faster speeds, cheaper mobile plan and devices as well as more data allowance, streaming, communication by voice/video and downloading online music as well as playing games online were on the rising trends.

The survey identified that 77.6% of Internet users have spent time streaming and/or downloading online videos and TV, an increment from 70.0% in 2016.Watching video via online platform has gone beyond watching shared videos on YouTube or Facebook only. Users are now streaming video content on OTT platform as well, such as Netflix, Iflix and Tonton. The growth of video streaming consumption can be attributed to consumers’ preference to be in control of what they want to watch, anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, streaming platforms are also appealing to consumers as it would enable them to binge-watch a series, view pre-release content, and enjoy the content with minimal, if not without advertisement.

Meanwhile, 46.8% of Internet users listened and/or downloaded online music and radio8. This includes music consumption via OTT applications such as Spotify and Apple Music, and listening to podcast as well as live Internet radio. Another leisure activity, playing online games, was preferred by 35.2% of Internet users. The popularity of these online activities has contributed to a large growth of Internet traffic in Malaysia. For instance, the traffic has increased tenfold to more than 2 Exabyte in 2018 as compared with 0.19 Exabyte in 2014.9

The survey also revealed that Internet was used by 61.9% of its users to assist and complete their work-related tasks. Moreover, Internet also provided convenience to 60.2% of the users for study and learning purposes, be it formal or informal. More than half of Internet users (56.3%) stated that they also read online publication10 namely e-book, online magazine, newspaper or journal.
Besides getting information, socialising and entertaining ourselves, Internet has also facilitated our way of participating in economics activities, especially with the emergence of numerous online banking and online shopping services. This trend has shown positive trends to the growth of digital economy in Malaysia. As such, 54.2% of Internet users carried out online banking and financial activities, compared to 41.7% in 2016.

Likewise, the percentage of online shoppers among Internet users increased, from 48.8% in 2016 to 53.3% in 2018. The e-commerce market in Malaysia is showing a positive trend, with e-commerce gross value added contributed 6.3% to nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, a steady growth from 4.6% in 2010. Furthermore, value added for e-commerce increased to RM85.8 billion in 2017, from RM75.0 billion in 201611. The adoption of electronic and mobile wallet has also contributed to the increasing number of online shoppers and banking users12. Additionally, rising number of Internet users and trust towards online banking are catalyst in developing wider digital ecosystem including e-Commerce, Fintech and various digital services.

It is also found that 44.5% of Internet users accessed online government services, while 27.5% for job seeking purposes. As the data show, usage of government online services is hovering around 45.0% since 2014. Therefore, there is more room for improvement in delivering better online government services. The percentage of Internet users that maintained a blog or personal homepage dropped to 9.8%, as compared with 17.0% in 2016. This might be due to the ubiquitous use of social media that has replaced blog and homepage as a medium for Internet users to express their thoughts and share their interests.

  1.  Excluding those who listen to music via video sharing platform such as YouTube
  2. Source: MCMC
  3. In IUS 2017, ‘Read online publication’ activity was grouped together under ‘Downloading audio/images/ reading materials’
  4. Source: Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account 2017, Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM)
  5. Source:


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