UOB survey: Majority of Malaysians are buying more from local businesses to help the domestic economy recover after COVID-19

Findings also show that consumers are spending more at socially-responsible businesses


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 24 December 2020 – Almost seven in 10 Malaysian consumers (69 per cent) are buying more from local brands to help these businesses bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend is stronger here than in Thailand (67 per cent), Vietnam (58 per cent) and Singapore (51 per cent), according to the UOB ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study1. Only Indonesia, at 72 per cent, shows a higher consumer preference for local products.

Mr Raymond Chui, Executive Director and Country Head of Business Banking, UOB Malaysia, said that this positive sentiment reflected in the survey is a morale booster for Malaysia’s homegrown businesses impacted2 by measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Every Ringgit spent to support local businesses can and does make a difference. The preference for local brands will potentially mean higher sales for Malaysian businesses, which will also help boost the confidence of the owners and employees.

“Given the precautionary measures put in place to fight COVID-19, consumers prefer to show their support for local brands through online purchases. Indeed, many consumers and businesses have been turning to the Internet to buy and to sell. This can be seen from the 41 per cent year-on-year increase in the online sales of the Bank’s retail business customers since March to October this year,” Mr Chui said.

In addition, the survey found that due to the pandemic, Malaysian consumers have prioritised their online spending on food deliveries (91 per cent), groceries (89 per cent), health supplements (84 per cent), personal beauty products (85 per cent) and apparel (88 per cent).

To give businesses a new channel to attract customers, UOB Malaysia recently launched Move Your Business Online (MYBO), an e-commerce solution that helps local small businesses in the retail sector to develop online sales capabilities. Through MYBO, businesses can easily set up customised e-commerce websites within three days, complete with payment and delivery capabilities, so that they can reach out to more customers online.

UOB Malaysia has also collaborated with StoreHub to address the needs of food and beverage (F&B) outlet operators3. The Bank's F&B business customers enjoy lower subscription fees for StoreHub’s tablet-based restaurant operating system and online food delivery feature, Beep Delivery, as well as longer-term cost-savings through the use of StoreHub’s all-in-one business management solution4.

Ms Sharon Tang, the proprietor of Basil Pasta House restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, is among the UOB Malaysia customers who have benefitted from the collaboration with StoreHub. She said the StoreHub digital tablet, which comes embedded with a custom-built point-of-sale software, enables the restaurant to manage dine-in transactions better and also to expand their business through food delivery with relatively low costs.

“StoreHub’s all-in-one system helps my business keep tabs on our online menus, inventory movements and sales receipts, as well as generate daily sales activity that can be accessed conveniently via a user-friendly dashboard. There is no need for us to invest in additional equipment or software.

“Further, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected F&B businesses such as ours, as more people stay home in view of the government’s physical distancing requirements. Through our subscription to StoreHub’s service, we only need to add a customised Beep Delivery link to our website and social media accounts, which our customers can click to view our menu, order food, and pay online. This enables us to manage our online food delivery services directly, instead of solely relying on third-party food delivery marketplaces,” Ms Tang said.

Malaysian consumers prefer spending at socially-responsible businesses
The UOB ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study found that 60 per cent of Malaysian consumers surveyed have spent more on businesses that support lives and livelihoods affected by COVID-19. Fifty-three per cent indicated that they would stop buying from brands that are irresponsible or that take advantage of consumers during the pandemic.

Mr Chui said, “In line with the national #kitajagakita5 (we take care of each other) campaign, consumers are using their spending power to reward businesses that are making an effort to support the community as it battles COVID-19. This trend underscores the importance of businesses operating responsibly. Companies with responsible business practices are more likely to do better in the longer term.”



1 The UOB ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study, conducted by UOB and Blackbox in July 2020, aims to provide a better understanding of ASEAN consumers at a time when the region is undergoing a deep social and economic transformation. More than 3,500 respondents were interviewed in five ASEAN countries, including 1,000 in Singapore and more than 600 each in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

2 The daily loss in real Gross Domestic Product from the movement control restrictions implemented from 13 October 2020 was about RM0.3 billion, in addition to RM0.9 billion to RM1.4 billion from 18 March to 3 May 2020. Source: Bank Negara Malaysia, 13 November 2020.

3 Please see UOB Malaysia news release: “UOB Malaysia partners StoreHub to help F&B small businesses reduce operational costs as they meet the growing demand for online food delivery”, 4 August 2020.

4 Subject to terms and conditions, please visit This subscription package is exclusive to UOB Malaysia customers.

5 #kitajagakita is a social campaign initiated by Malaysian social activists and NGOs in March 2020 to help the community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.