How Malaysian consumers decide on mobile plans

Mobile devices have never been more important in our daily lives than they are today. Choosing the right plan to go with the devices we love is just as important.
Google and Kantar TNS recently conducted a study to find out how Malaysian consumers choose their mobile plans. Their path-to-purchase journey covers these key moments: intent, initial research, further research, and point-of-sale. Google – Mobile Plan path to purchase – Infographic
What the research found is this: consumers generally find the process of buying mobile plans confusing.

While most Malaysians have high recall of the brands in contention, they do not know the product offering details themselves — which strongly impacts how they consider a mobile plan.

37% of consumers surveyed said they do not have prior knowledge of the products, while 41% of them are somewhat informed enough to be able to research an average of three brands. Only 22% felt they were sufficiently informed.

Research is an important step in influencing buyers. Due to their limited knowledge of the various mobile plans on offer, buyers would often rely on research to make purchase decisions.

Nine in ten consumers would conduct their research online, with a majority of them (two out of three) searching for information on the go using their mobile devices.

While purchases happen offline, online research — especially mobile searches are crucial in helping buyers come to a decision before reaching stores.

With 86% of consumers having already chosen their mobile plans before they sign up for one offline, the research process is the strongest chance to influence buyers’ decisions.

Acquiring new subscribers is always important for brands, so it is vital for them to reach potential customers through the right channels.

There is no research without search, and with 92% of Malaysian consumers starting their research there, it is a critical initial touchpoint that acts as a gateway to other online touchpoints, like a provider’s site and social media channels.

Online videos are also effective during later research stages. One in three consumers turn to videos when seeking product reviews, and eight in ten believe that online videos add credibility to the brand and product.

Having the right content would also help in winning over potential customers. Indeed, Malaysian buyers place top priority in affordability and plan upgrades, before they consider other aspects such as product quality or performance and features.
“Mobile network providers have never faced a consumer that is more research-oriented than now.

“While this presents challenges, if mobile network providers can provide relevant, helpful information online just when consumers want it, they will succeed in the current mobile-first and consumer-first era,” said Jamie Mapa, Industry Manager Tech & Telco, Google Malaysia.

Consumers’ mobile plan path-to-purchase summary
With 75% of Malaysians (24 million out of 32 million) online owning an average of 3.1 devices per person, the internet has changed many aspects of daily life: from the way we entertain ourselves, to the way we communicate and shop.

Previously, consumers could be reached with ads on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, presenting them with various benefits and features that often confuses them.

But today, the journey from wanting to buy a new mobile plan to actually getting one is now more informed. The internet puts much more information at consumers’ fingertips.

Key Learnings..
The internet is now at the heart of the mobile plan buying process: 9-in-10 mobile plan shoppers research online before making a purchase, with 3-in-5 consumers using search engines to find other online touchpoints.
– And decisions are now made before consumers reach the stores: 86% of mobile plan shoppers have decided on a plan before signing up for one offline.
– 3 out of 4 Malaysian mobile plan shoppers are open to consider new brands.
– Thanks to the wealth of information available online, 1-in-3 shoppers choose to watch online reviews and relevant ads  —  with 8-in-10 believing that online videos add credibility to the brand and product – before making up their minds.
– 42% of internet & telecom related searches are for network performance.