Survey finds 82% of Malaysians read newspapers on a weekly basis, versus Asia Pacific average of 62%, global average of 59%

MALAYSIA , October 17, 2013 (press release) – Survey reveals reading newspapers, listening to music and shopping for groceries are weekly activities engaged by more than half Malaysians 

Reading the newspapers appear to be one of the most common activities in Malaysia, with around four in five in the country claiming to do it weekly or more often; after listening to music and shopping for groceries. In a recent online survey by GfK, consumers were given a list of activities which include reading books and magazines, exercising, going to the movies, doing volunteer work, dining in restaurants, playing computer games etc, and asked to specify which activities they do often.

The three most common ones which emerged to be most engaged by consumers in Malaysia on a weekly basis are reading papers (82%), listening to music (63%) and grocery shopping (56%). GfK findings revealed that these are also the top three frequent activities of global as well as Asia Pacific consumers, although at varying levels.

“Around 82 percent of respondents from Malaysia read newspapers on a weekly basis as compared to the Asia Pacific average of only 62 percent, and an even lower global average of 59 percent,” highlighted Selinna Chin, Managing Director for GfK in Malaysia. “In fact, listening to music is the most popular activity of global consumers, where an average of 76 percent said they do it weekly or more, followed by shopping for groceries (70%) then reading newspaper (59%).”

GfK polled over 40,000 consumers aged 15+ across 28 countries, including 11 from Asia Pacific - Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the latest additions of Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Approximately 1,500 respondents per market were surveyed on their attitudes, behaviors and values across a range of topics.

The survey also revealed some differences between consumers across the globe. For instance, when compared to the regional average, more consumers in Malaysia appear to be spending time outside of home for food and drinks, than cooking or entertaining guests at home. Having a sit-down meal in a restaurant was ranked fourth amongst the list; with two in five (40%) saying they do this weekly or more; while 36 percent claims to frequent coffeehouse, teahouse, bar, pub or cafes for drinks or snacks. On a regional level, only 35 percent and 12 percent of consumers indulge in these activities.

“Eating out is a local culture and common trend in Malaysia, whether smaller towns or larger cities, we are spoilt with choices with a variety of good eateries, some of which are opened late into the night,” highlighted Chin. “Families with double-income earnings with less time to cook prefer to spend quality time together with friends and families by dining out.”

Another significant finding is the fact that Malaysia has the lowest rate of people who exercise regularly across Asia Pacific. Only 23 percent of those surveyed said they exercise to keep fit, as compared to the regional average of 36 percent. Meanwhile, at the opposite end are the Australians (56%) and Singaporeans (50%), of which half or more claim to exercise frequently.

“There are vast differences in habits and behavioral patterns of consumers globally, between the east and west, and even among the individual markets in one particular region,” noted Chin. “A formula that works extremely well in one market may fail miserably in another; and hence for businesses to succeed in a market, they need to be well aware and understand the reasons behind all these cultural diversity,” concluded Chin.

The consumer insights detailed in this article are drawn from in-depth analysis of GfK’s largest, longest-standing and most robust consumer trends study in the world – Roper Reports® Worldwide. The latest survey was conducted in Jan-Feb 2013.

About GfK

GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, around 13,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK’s sales amounted to €1.51 billion.

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