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FMCG market in Malaysia - statistics & facts

Around one-fifth of Malaysian household consumption expenditure is spent on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment, making it one of the most important consumer goods sectors in the country. With rising spending power and population size, Malaysia’s FMCG market is projected to grow year on year. The robustness of this industry was shown during the COVID-19 pandemic - the FMCG industry in Malaysia grew at a much higher rate in 2020 than in the previous year.

Innovative local brands are competing closely with global brands

Malaysian consumers still preferred global brands, although local brands are increasingly gaining in popularity among consumers. The leading brands in the FMCG industry show a good mix of both, showing that local brands, such as Marigold, Munchy’s, and Dutch Lady can compete with international brands such as Maggi, Milo, and Nestlé for consumer preference. Local brands are usually favored in the FMCG food sector more than in dairy, tobacco, and home care segments. Mister Potato, a home-grown potato chip brand, was the most popular food brand among Malaysian consumers in 2019. With the advantage of having a direct connection to the domestic market, local producers usually have a better understanding of local consumers’ preferences and can respond to them faster with product innovation. The successful innovations across FMCG segments, especially in the snacks segment, such as salted egg yolk potato chips, fish crackers, durian flavored popcorn, and nasi lemak potato chips show that the locals are capable to cater to the local consumers’ tastes better.

Online and offline shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The movement control order (MCO) during the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted Malaysian consumers’ in-home and out-of-home spending. Malaysian consumers started to purchase less in physical stores and more through online FMCG purchase channels. Malaysians were already used to purchasing apparel, personal care, and beauty and cosmetic products online, through established e-commerce sites such as Lazada and Shopee. These segments were thus able to adapt faster to the shift than the food, beverage, and tobacco segments. Due to the limited online purchase options for groceries, Malaysians still preferred to shop directly in grocery retailers such as their nearest local supermarkets, 99 Speedmart, and Tesco. While the FMCG market outlook may be positive, it would be essential to create more online purchase channels for FMCG products, to ensure better adaptive capacity across the segments in the future.


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