E-commerce race in Malaysia heats up

Platforms churn out gimmicks to woo shoppers in $2.7b market

E-commerce leaders Lazada, which ran a bid-for-a-boyfriend campaign (left) during Chinese New Year, and Shopee, which customises its websites for countries it operates in, have similar products and so count on marketing campaigns and loyalty programm
E-commerce leaders Lazada, which ran a bid-for-a-boyfriend campaign (above) during Chinese New Year, and Shopee, which customises its websites for countries it operates in, have similar products and so count on marketing campaigns and loyalty programmes to draw shoppers.PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, REUTERS
E-commerce leaders Lazada, which ran a bid-for-a-boyfriend campaign (left) during Chinese New Year, and Shopee, which customises its websites for countries it operates in, have similar products and so count on marketing campaigns and loyalty programm
E-commerce leaders Lazada, which ran a bid-for-a-boyfriend campaign during Chinese New Year, and Shopee (above), which customises its websites for countries it operates in, have similar products and so count on marketing campaigns and loyalty programmes to draw shoppers.PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, REUTERS

Bid for a boyfriend, book a new car or shake your phone for discounts - these are some of the sales gimmicks used by Malaysia's e-commerce players as they battle for a larger share of a market worth an estimated US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) in gross merchandise value last year.

And with the segment set to reach US$7 billion by 2025, the two biggest players - Lazada and Shopee - are redoubling their efforts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'E-commerce race in Malaysia heats up'. Subscribe