Mobile devices are reshaping Malaysia’s media environment.
Smartphone ownership in Malaysia is notably high, reaching 99.1% of internet users ages 16 to 64, according to H1 2019 research from GlobalWebIndex. However, a majority (70.9%) also owned desktops and laptops. Fewer than one-third of respondents owned a tablet—and that had declined from 37.3% in 2018. Tablet penetration correlated directly with age and was also higher in affluent homes and urban areas.
Nearly 12% of internet users polled in 2019 still had a feature phone. But for most, these are likely to be legacy items, little used but not worth discarding.
The relative impact of smartphones and nonmobile devices was mirrored in time spent figures. In H1 2019, mobile phones claimed an average of 4 hours, 22 minutes (4:22) per day, compared with 3:47 spent on PCs and tablets. Social networking—which accounted for just under 3 hours per day—has helped to boost mobile consumption.
Smartwatches are starting to gain some traction in Malaysia. GlobalWebIndex found that 12.6% of internet users owned one in H1 2019. Males were more likely than females to own a smartwatch, however (15.0% vs. 10.0%). Smart wristbands haven’t yet reached the mainstream; barely 9% of all respondents owned one.
GlobalWebIndex tracked the adoption of voice search for the first time in 2019, finding penetration of 34.0% among internet users ages 16 to 64. That share rose to 43.5% among 16- to 24-year-olds and was also well above average among those ages 25 to 34, males and urban residents. Intriguingly, it was also higher at both ends of the household income scale—suggesting that among the least affluent, voice search via mobile phone is often more readily accessible and convenient than a typed search.