Global Media Intelligence 2020: Malaysia

Key Features

Smartphones rule in Malaysia, and ownership of desktops and laptops also rose this year.

  • Smartphone ownership in Malaysia remained very high in H1 2020, at 98.9% of internet users ages 16 to 64, according to GlobalWebIndex. However, this isn’t surprising, given that the country’s experience of the internet was mobile-first.
  • A growing share of respondents (73.1%) also owned desktops and laptops. As in H1 2019, about one-third of respondents owned a tablet—signaling that penetration of that device may be reaching a plateau, but it was significantly greater among affluent respondents (46.1%).
  • The proportion of internet users who still owned a feature phone dropped below 10% for the first time, but remained well above that threshold in several cohorts, including adults 25 to 34, those living in the least affluent homes, and those in rural areas.
  • Time spent with smartphones and nonmobile devices mirrored those devices’ high penetration rates. In H1 2020, mobile phones claimed an average of 4 hours, 31 minutes (4:31) per day, compared with 4:06 spent on PCs and tablets. Both figures were up year over year (YoY). Time spent with social networking—which totaled 3:00 per day—rose marginally and boosted mobile consumption overall in H1 2020.
  • Smartwatches were already gaining fans in Malaysia last year; 12.6% of internet users owned one in H1 2019. That share rose to 15.7%. Here too, better-off, urban internet users and those in the 25-to-34 age bracket registered more substantial figures, at 21.1%, 18.1%, and 19.0%, respectively. Just 12.0% of respondents owned a smart wristband.
  • Usage of voice search in Malaysia has barely risen since GlobalWebIndex first tracked its adoption in 2019, with 34.4% of internet users using a voice assistant like Siri in the prior month. That share rose to 46.6% among 16- to 24-year-olds and was also above average among males, urban dwellers, and those ages 25 to 34. In H1 2019, respondents at both ends of the household income scale were more likely to use voice command tools; in H1 2020, the survey found lower-income respondents were the leading users. It’s likely that for many internet users in this demographic segment, voice search remains easier and more convenient than text-based search.


Karin von Abrams


Anam Baig
Senior Editor
Joanne DiCamillo
Donte Gibson
Chart Editor
Kathleen Hamblin
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Copy Editor
Magenta Ranero
Senior Chart Editor
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VP, Research Strategy
Amanda Silvestri
Senior Copy Editor

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