Condoms to Yoga Mats, Malaysians’ online shopping search behavior during MCO – iPrice


Since early March, the high rate of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has caused the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide. Soon after the official announcement, panicked purchasing elevated quickly & most daily necessities were sold out at most places.

With most Malaysians aware the MCO will last till mid-May 2020, consumers are becoming more active online to obtain necessities & getting equipped to work-from-home (WFH). Thus, we investigated the search trends of more than 900 thousand visitors on iPrice Malaysia and found numerous interesting & unexpected findings backed by data.

The research was conducted by analyzing the online search behavior of close to 1 million visitors on iPrice Malaysia between 18 March 2020 (when the MCO was first enforced) to 17 April 2020. All percentage increase displayed in this research were obtained by comparing the search impressions data with consumers’ online search behavior prior the implementation of the MCO.

  1. Satisfaction is important, but safety always comes first

In the medical supply category, it was unsurprising to see a 648% increase in search interest for face masks (such as surgical masks & N95 masks). However, it was unexpected to also see a rise in interest for sex related products such as sensual toys, vibrators, fertility test kits & condoms.

Observing the search behavior of Malaysians, we saw the following percentage increase in interest:

  • 347% increase in searches for sensual toys & vibrators
  • 79% increase in searches for fertility test kits
  • 61% increase in searches for condoms

This potentially reveals that most Malaysians are equipping themselves with necessities which aids in responsible family planning while keeping it enjoyable with their partner.

  1. Malaysians running out of patient with their overgrown hair

The MCO began in the mid of March & have been ongoing for more than 4 weeks. This also meant that most Malaysians probably have overgrown hair & are looking for ways to take care of it.

iPrice data reveals major increase in search for trimming clippers at an average 17,652% increase. This trend can also be seen throughout various social media platforms, where people has been sharing the results of their DIY haircut attempts.

  1. MCO potentially breading more ‘MasterChefs”

Malaysians are probably tired with packed foods and are supplying themselves with more home cooked food. Data reveals high interest in appliances such as bread makers, mixers, air fryers & ovens. This suggests that people are showing interest to experiment with various kind of recipes.

Data shows search interest for kitchen appliances such as bread makers increase 7,587%, stand mixers 3,048%, ovens  1,058% & air fryers 2,029%.

  1. Nintendo Switch potentially the preferred game console during the pandemic

The inability to go outdoors may lead to excessive boredom to various individuals. As such, people are looking for ways to stay entertained at home & driving the needs to gaming. Data shows high search interest for gaming items such as Nintendo switch, Animal Crossing game & board games such as Monopoly.

The Animal Crossing game experienced a 17,427% search interest increase, Nintendo Switch on average  increase 1,064%, also boardgames, saw a 4,336% in search interest among Malaysians.

  1. Tablets preferred over laptops?

In equipping to WFH, Malaysians are probably purchasing more laptops or PCs. However, data reveals high interest on tablets. On average, searches for tablets increase 1,125%, while laptops recorded 299% increase in search interest.

This would suggest Malaysians are probably acquiring tablets for work or entertainment activities.

  1. Staying fit indoors

Worries about gaining weight resulted from staying home for too long has circulated all over social media. This potentially has motivated people to start workouts indoors. This is supported with data, showing surge in interest for gym equipment such as skipping ropes and yoga mats.

Data reveals an exponential increase for gym equipment such as skipping ropes 4,528% and yoga mats 2,016%.

Research methodology

Data featured in this study were obtained by aggregating thousands of product pages of more than 150 online merchants through Data on the increase in searches were analyzed by comparing the impressions data recorded from March 18 – April 17, 2020 as compared to February 16, 2019 – March 17, 2020. 

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