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Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Social Media Statistics for Malaysia [Updated 2024]

Sue Howe

May 3, 2024

Note: This blog is based on the Global Digital Report 2024 – produced in partnership with Meltwater and We Are Social. See Simon Kemp's article about The Changing World of Digital in 2024. Download the Global Digital Report 2024 and the Global Digital Report 2023 for free.


In today's digital age, marketers, influencers, and organizations must grasp their audience’s online usage dynamics to make an impression. This article will examine the changing trends and user behaviors influencing Malaysia's digital environment by reviewing its social media statistics over the previous year.

Our main focus this year is to look at how Malaysians are becoming reliant on social media for everything from personal relationships to doing business and sharing information. The ever-increasing popularity of social media sites like TikTok demonstrates how our culture is becoming more wired and tech-savvy. By delving into Malaysia's social media statistics, we will discover how these platforms transform into digital marketing and ecommerce industry leaders and their traditional role as communication facilitators.

Keep an eye out for our Global Digital Report 2024, which covers all the bases, including the present state of social media in Malaysia and its changing trends. Whether your goal is to enhance your digital presence or gain an understanding of Malaysia's digital scene, this article will provide you with the tools you need to succeed in the country's dynamic social media landscape.

Table of Contents

Population essentials in Malaysia

Overview of the adoption and use of connected devices and services based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

In 2024, Malaysia has shown a willingness to embrace digital connection, as seen by the general social media statistics from the previous year. The country's overall population has grown to 34.49 million, and digital usage is seeing a consistent increase year after year. Connectivity has become essential in Malaysian life, as seen by the 1.1% growth in online engagement to 97.4% of the population. In addition, the number of social media user identities has increased by 20%, with a current total of 28.68 million people actively maintaining a social media presence.

The minor rise in cellular mobile connections, currently at 44.55 million, comprising 129.2% of the country's total population, shows the significance of mobile connectivity in Malaysians' daily lives.

Among internet users between the ages of 16 and 64, 98.5% own a mobile device, an increase of 0.9% from the previous year, representing near-universal mobile phone ownership. Desktop computers and laptops continue to be common, with 69.3% of users having one or more devices, up 1% from the previous year. These constant increases further demonstrate the significance of popular gadgets for gaining access to the internet and social media. 

A noteworthy trend to observe is the rapid expansion of smart gadgets. The ownership of smart watches or wristbands increased by 5.1%, the use of TV streaming devices by 15.4%, and the adoption of smart home devices by 8.6%. The increasing number of linked smart gadgets in Malaysian households gives residents more power and ease of use, and it's clear that the country's residents are becoming increasingly in tune with more interconnected and advanced forms of technology.

Daily time spent with media based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Looking at the bigger picture of Malaysian social media statistics in 2024, we see that internet and social media usage have been two constants regarding the country's media consumption. The average time Malaysians spend online has increased by 2.5% over the previous year, reaching 8 hours and 17 minutes. Around a quarter of this online time is spent on social media, with users spending an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes daily on these sites—a 0.7% increase. Although not significant increases, these figures represent Malaysians' steady presence on the internet over the previous year.

Various forms of media consumption have decreased, in contrast to the slight increase in internet and social media use. Specifically, television and radio have seen 9.4% and 13.8% decreases, respectively; there has also been a 4.4% decline in podcast engagement, indicating a change in content consumption habits in digital platforms.

Discovering what draws Malaysians to the internet and social media will be the next step in delving deeper into Malaysia's online landscape. Looking closely at these social media statistics will help us understand which platforms are popular and what kind of content is popular with Malaysians, enabling us to navigate the country's move towards digitalization.

Internet usage statistics in Malaysia

Overview of internet use based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Key internet usage statistics point to a steadily connected Malaysia in 2024, where internet use has been constant. In 2024, 97.4% of Malaysians have access to the internet, making up 33.59 million people, the same amount of internet users from the prior year.

The average daily use duration is 8 hours and 17 minutes, a rise in internet usage time compared to the previous year, increasing by 2.5% or an extra 11 minutes daily. One factor that may be attributed to this slight increase in time spent on the internet might be related to the improved internet speeds across Malaysia.

Looking more closely at these now-lightning-fast internet speeds, we find that the median download speed for mobile internet connections is 66.64 Mbps and the median upload speed is 18.25 Mbps, which have increased by 83.4% and 77.5% respectively from last year. Meanwhile, the median download speeds for fixed internet connections are 112.21 Mbps, and the upload speeds are 55.49 Mbps, which are gains of 22.6% and 8.8%, respectively. Increased internet speed has significantly improved the user experience, making online tasks quicker and more pleasurable. With its recently upgraded internet infrastructure, Malaysia's citizens can access reliable, lightning-fast internet connections.

Main reasons for using the internet based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

A review of Malaysians' daily internet use statistics finds that a significant portion of their time online, 4 hours and 37 minutes, is spent on mobile phones versus 3 hours and 40 minutes on laptops and tablets. This usage split shows that mobile devices are a primary means of accessing the internet for people in Malaysia, representing 55.8% of daily online time.

When we look at why most Malaysians use the internet, finding out more information is at the top of the list for 78.3% of users. As we'll discuss later, Malaysian companies are seeing a rise in digital advertisements spend to reach Malaysians, who are most likely to seek the promoted information. On top of that, the tech-savvy Malaysian audience uses the internet's abundance of tools to do extensive product research before buying anything, prompting businesses to adjust their online presence to better serve customers who do extensive research before making purchases. 

Keeping up to date with news and events is also a primary reason Malaysian users aged 16 to 64 use the internet, as 68.3% of Malaysians are online. Just as important is keeping in touch with friends and family, with 68.2% of users maintaining social connections through the many social networks the Malaysians engage in daily. 

Given the percentage of online users to find information, Malaysian consumers are highly reliant on their digital devices and rely heavily on the web to make well-informed decisions, as we can see from our exploration of the country's internet use patterns. To successfully engage the Malaysian market, online advertising tactics must consider this when planning your digital marketing strategies.

Social media usage statistics in Malaysia

Overview of social media use based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Examining Malaysia's social media usage statistics for 2024 reveals that 28.68 million people, or 83.1% of the country's population, have a social media identity. An extra 4.8 million user identities have joined social media in the last year, contributing to this figure's surge of 20% from the previous year. This number has also increased significantly in the short term, with quarterly growth showing an additional 1.9 million accounts joining the digital population, at a 7.1% increase.

Users still spend an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes each day engaging with social media, up 1 minute from last year, but otherwise, it stays largely constant. Since this consistency is present, there is a well-established pattern of social media use among Malaysians. Examining the breakdown by gender among social media users reveals that 55.7% of all social media user identities are male, suggesting that men in Malaysia are slightly more active online than women.

These numbers demonstrate the growing influence of social media in Malaysia and show that marketers and brands have an excellent opportunity to reach a large and consistently active audience. Digital marketing and online initiatives find a lively market in Malaysia, thanks to the country's growing online population that is actively engaged in its social media ecosystem.

Main reasons for using social media based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Social media's ability to bring people together has become fundamental to maintaining connections in Malaysia. Among Malaysians, maintaining personal relationships is the top reason for utilizing social media, as keeping in touch with friends and loved ones is the priority of 57.6% of its users. This shows up in their platform selections and the kind of social media profiles they follow, with 57% of users following individuals they know on social platforms. To that end, 26.8% of users choose WhatsApp - Malaysians' favorite social media platform - which brings everything together regarding connection with friends and loved ones.

These choices make clear the importance of interpersonal relationships in Malaysians' digital habits, suggesting a significant desire for social media to serve as a means of connection between loved ones, regardless of location.

When it comes to other reasons Malaysians are on social media, 57.5% use social media in their free time, suggesting a growing tendency towards utilizing these platforms for fun and relaxation. Another essential reason to use social media is to read news stories, with 44.4% of Malaysians using these platforms to stay up to speed on current events.

Social media account types followed based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

When looking at the kinds of accounts Malaysians follow online, actors, comedians, and other entertainers' accounts are enjoyed by 37.8% of all Malaysian social media users. In addition, 35.2% of users in Malaysia follow accounts belonging to restaurants, chefs, or food celebrities. Another notable category of accounts being followed is bands, singers, and other musicians, followed by 35.1% of social media users. The wide variety of interests among Malaysians, from entertainers to foodies, is evident in the kinds of accounts watched closely by the Malaysian online user base.

Top Social Media Platforms in Malaysia

Favourite social media platforms based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Also, among Malaysia's most popular social media sites are TikTok, which is loved by 21.9% of users for its engaging short-form video content, and Facebook, which has captured 18.8% as a mainstay of social media for its all-around uses. Instagram is also a popular social media platform in Malaysia and is the favorite app for 14% of Malaysian users.

These numbers show how social media platforms benefit Malaysians in many ways, from keeping in touch with friends and family to keeping up with current events and finding entertainment.

Tip: Check out the top 20 Instagram influencers in Malaysia, the top TikTok influencers in Malaysia, and the top food influencers in Malaysia.

Most used social media platforms based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

The most used social media platforms in Malaysia in 2024, according to social media statistics, provide us with a glimpse of the country's tastes regarding digital connection - as we just discussed, interaction with friends and family is essential for Malaysians' online lives. This is supported by the fact that WhatsApp is the most used social media app among users aged 16 and 64, with 90.7% using it monthly. By a wide margin, with 852 sessions, WhatsApp tops all social media apps in terms of monthly use,  over TikTok, the app that users access second most often at 368.4 sessions.

There are many platforms in Malaysia's social media landscape that users choose to suit their requirements and tastes. Facebook, which is still an integral part of Malaysians' social media diet after WhatsApp, is used by 84.9% of users, while Instagram follows with 77% of users. TikTok had a considerable influence on the social media landscape, appealing to the generation that is content-hungry and capturing 68.8% of users - and as we're about to discuss, TikTok is the social media platform that Malaysians use for the most extended amount of time each month.

Time spent using social media apps based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

When we switch gears and look at how much time Malaysians spend on different social media sites each month, we find that TikTok has the highest monthly interaction with the audience in terms of time spent. Users stay engaged on the site for 38 hours and 49 minutes per month thanks to its ability to deliver personalized content consistently via its short-form, algorithm-boosted content. This reflects a larger digital landscape trend, where users constantly gravitate towards fresh, engaging material for amusement and a sense of community.

The amount of time that Malaysians spend in front of screens each month is also heavily influenced by other platforms, as with an average of 35 hours and 34 minutes each month, YouTube is the second most popular app in Malaysia, drawing in a large number of users who like watching videos for leisure. Facebook, which remains a center for connection with others and news browsing, comes afterward with users committing 17 hours and 20 minutes to the network.

WhatsApp may have more users than any other app each month, but its usage time of only 16 hours and 4 minutes shows that it is more of a tool for interacting with others than an entertainment platform. Rounding out some of the more popular media platforms in Malaysia, Instagram users spend 8 hours and 46 minutes a month on the app, which shows how popular it is as a way to share photos and connect with others.

More than simply software, these social media platforms are online spaces where Malaysians interact, share, and connect through relevant material in their everyday lives. In Malaysia, these social media platforms significantly impact people's daily lives, including their communication habits, content consumption routines, and recreational pursuits.

Facebook advertising audience overview based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Looking at the social media data for Malaysia in 2024 by platform reveals a trend when it comes to the effectiveness of Facebook ads. The social media platform's ad reach increased by 10.4% in the last 12 months, giving advertisers access to 22.35 million prospective customers. Even more impressive is that Facebook advertisements reach 64.8% of Malaysia's population. This is only 0.7% lower than the number of ads that reach internet users in the country, suggesting that nearly all of Malaysia on the internet is exposed to Facebook ads. 

We see that 95.8% of the male population aged 18+ may be reached via Facebook advertisements, indicating that Facebook has a sizable male audience. Additionally, when comparing the platform's ad reach by its demographics, the number of males targeted by ads outnumber women, as 55.2% of all advertising targets men.

TikTok advertising audience overview based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

In Malaysia, TikTok has surpassed all other social media platforms in terms of user engagement and ad reach and has arguably become the most popular platform in the country overall. In comparison to the previous year, TikTok has seen a significant rise of 48.6%, which corresponds to an extra 9.4 million users that can be targeted. With this, the total number of people who might see ads on TikTok is 28.68 million.

With 83.1% of the population exposed to the platform's ads, it reaches a sizable audience, especially among those adept at using the internet. Furthermore, the platform's 85.4% ad reach compared to total internet users is even more remarkable; with this figure, TikTok engages the great majority of online users in Malaysia.

These statistics show that TikTok has become Malaysia's key social media platform for digital marketing efforts. In addition to its strong ad reach growth and monthly exposure to Malaysian social media users, TikTok is an influential fixture in Malaysians' social media routines, making it an essential point of contact for marketers trying to target the country's dynamic demographic.

Demographic profile of Meta's ad audience based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

By breaking down Malaysian social media usage by age group in 2024, we can see how users from each generation interact with the internet. According to the demographic distribution, Meta's advertising audience in Malaysia is engaged across different age groups.

The most significant reach is among younger populations, namely those between the ages of 25 and 34, with 17.9% male and 15% female in this group of users. Close behind is the 18-24 year age group, with men making up 11.6% of the ad reach and women 12.9%. This highlights the youth demographic's social media affinity and the possibility of influencing them in digital marketing. Notable participation is also seen in the 35-44 age group, with men accounting for 10.7% and women 9.8%. These numbers show that although a younger demographic is leaning, there is still a sizable presence from all ages, opening the door to tailored advertising possibilities.

These data from social media sites provide insight into how Malaysians spend their time online, showing a preference for sites that combine interesting, informative, and engaging material. Platforms like TikTok have grown rapidly and attracted a large user base, particularly from specific demographics. These social media statistics give essential insights into consumer behavior as these platforms change their strategy to continue attracting Malaysian audiences. Likewise, content creators, advertisers, and marketing professionals must adjust their approaches to appeal to various media-savvy consumers. These numbers show that targeted ads on growing social media platforms may reach a very receptive audience in Malaysia, which is excellent news for marketers trying to enter the country's digital market.

Mobile usage statistics in Malaysia

Mobile connectivity based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

The extensive overview of Malaysia's mobile usage in 2024 sheds light on the essential function of mobile devices in the country's connectedness. With a mobile penetration rate of 129.2%, there are currently 44.55 million cellular mobile connections—a number that tops Malaysia's total population. This statistic shows that mobile usage is widespread and that Malaysians possess numerous devices. With a 0.4% rise, or 169,000 new mobile connections since last year, mobile connections show a slight yearly shift. With 95.7% of these connections offering high-speed internet - compounded by the country's improved internet infrastructure - mobile usage is trending in the right direction for Malaysia.

Share of mobile time by app category based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

The typical Malaysian uses their smartphone for 5 hours and 6 minutes daily. Entertainment applications are the most popular apps, accounting for 39.8% of smartphone time. This aligns with the fact that YouTube and TikTok are Malaysians' most popular social media platforms. 

 Apps for social media account for 26.7% of this time, with a variety of mobile applications including gaming (14.9%), utility and productivity (10.7%), web-browsing (5.4%), shopping (1.8%), and a variety of other applications consuming the rest of Malaysians' screentime. From entertainment and connection to functionality and information access, this distribution demonstrates the many use cases of smartphones.

Ecommerce statistics in Malaysia

Weekly online shopping activities based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

In 2024, ecommerce in Malaysia has shown strong demand and customer preferences. This strong preference towards online shopping is apparent from the statistic that 61.9% of Malaysian internet users between 16 and 64 have purchased something through the internet. As a sign of the growing confidence and ease of online purchases for necessities, 27.2% of users buy groceries online. 

Also, 13.6% purchase pre-owned goods from an online vendor, 22.2% have used online price comparison services, and 11.1 % are using 'Buy Now, Pay Later' services, which shows that the Malaysian e-commerce market is seeing an assortment of payment preferences to hunt for the best deals and save their hard-earned money.

When we look at the main reasons people shop online, 64.8% of Malaysians who engage in ecommerce say that free delivery is a big incentive. Moreover, coupons and discounts are extremely important, as they encourage 51.2% of users to wrap up their purchases via the web. Customers' opinions matter to 43.3% of prospective purchasers, while 40.4% value loyalty points and 40.1% prefer easy online checkout options. 

Discounts, brand loyalty, and ease of purchase are big factors that influence the typical Malaysian consumer. Statistics like these shed light on the state of ecommerce in Malaysia, showing how many people shop online and how and why they make purchases. Businesses aiming to thrive in Malaysia's digital marketplace would do well to familiarize themselves with these critical drivers and statistics as ecommerce continues growing in the country.

Consumer goods ecommerce categories based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Malaysian ecommerce is booming, with digital purchases of all kinds of consumer goods seeing significant jumps in value. The electronics, fashion, beauty, home, and DIY & hardware categories dominate the top consumer goods sales online, demonstrating the market's diversity and Malaysian's growing reliance on purchasing online.

The substantial yearly spending in the electronics sector, which reaches $2.32 billion (up 15.4% from the previous year), indicates the market's tech-driven appetite. Following closely behind with a yearly spend of $2.01 billion (up 8.1%), the fashion industry highlights Malaysia's expanding online retail scene. Also thriving in the online marketplace is furniture, with $670 million (up 13.6%) spent by customers, and beauty, at $520 million (up 8.3%), not far behind. Spending $500 million (up 6.4%), the DIY & Hardware sector completes the top five, reflecting the growing strength and the ease of buying such goods online.

Digital media spend based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Directing our focus on the expenditure on digital media, which has totalled $966.9 million (up 13.1%), there is also an upsurge in numerous industries. There is a healthy market for digital content and recreation, with video game spending at $588.1 million (up 12.1%), VOD services at $225.5 million (up 19.2%), and E-publishing at $87.39 million (up 7%). Finally, with $65.95 million (up 11.9%) going into digital music, the growth of digital spending and online shopping in Malaysia sends a strong message to businesses about the abundance of opportunities in the digital marketplace. 

Businesses can learn a lot about their customers' tastes and habits by listening to social media chatter to see how people use these platforms to make purchases. Companies can adapt their products and advertising campaigns to a market that is more willing to purchase online if they embrace the trends shown by social media statistics, which are essential for staying ahead of the curve in Malaysia's dynamic online landscape. Advertising your brand to inform consumers about products builds relationships with that demographic and promotes brand recognition. This is a fantastic tool for monitoring potential customers and rival businesses.

Digital marketing statistics in Malaysia

Total ad spend across all channel with digital ad spend based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

Digital marketing statistics in Malaysia show that businesses are increasing their spending on digital ads in response to the country's booming ecommerce industry in 2024. At $1.67 billion, a 6.9% increase, or $108 million more than last year, total advertising expenditure across all channels has significantly increased. Notably, advertising on digital platforms such as search engines and social media has surpassed $1.09 billion, an increase of 9.3% compared to the previous year, making up 65.6% of the total ad spend in Malaysia. This change shows a shift in strategy towards digital channels, highlighting the rising value of these platforms in facilitating consumer purchases.

Given the importance of search engines in Malaysian consumers' journeys to discover new brands and products, the increase in digital ad spending aligns with their purchasing habits. Consumers who take the time to learn about products online are evident, with 62.9% of Malaysian internet users - up 5% from the year before - doing brand research before buying. As further evidence of the effectiveness of digital marketing in attracting prospective buyers to discover more about brands' offerings, 51.3% have visited a brand's website in the previous 30 days, up 2% from 2023.

Digital engagements impact the way brands are discovered in Malaysia. The most important channel is social media ads since they are how 40.1% of internet users in Malaysia learn about brands. Search engines are nearly as important, at 37.1%, while retail websites account for 34.2% of the online population's brand discovery. These statistics highlight the important role of online platforms in presenting fresh goods and offerings to digital consumers in Malaysia.

Digital advertising spend based on Global Digital Report 2024 for Malaysia

With a yearly expenditure of $1.09 billion and a yearly increase of 9.3%, digital advertising in Malaysia has come a long way, demonstrating a strong emphasis on online platforms. The digital audio ads segment has seen the biggest growth in the market with $14.2 million, an increase of 18.6%, which is an additional $2.2 million in spending. Like in many countries, influencer marketing is becoming increasingly important in reaching audiences in Malaysia, as evidenced by the 16.3% increase in online influencer activities, corresponding to $8.3 million more

Close behind is the category of digital banner advertisements, which saw an increase of 9.3%, resulting in an additional $360.7 million in this growing sector. This, in particular, shows the increasing trend for consumers getting targeted by search advertisements, which have been heavily invested in Malaysia over the past year. When researching brands online, 55.6% of Malaysian consumers use search engines as their main source of information. 

Following closely are social networks at 52.6%, highlighting the significance of a robust social media presence for brand visibility, and consumer reviews at 43%, which shows how people rely on personal recommendations and peer reviews when making purchases.

What's ahead for social media in Malaysia in 2024?

Malaysia's digital environment continues to change quickly, integrating into its citizens' personal and professional lives. Once merely serving as communication channels, social media platforms are becoming centers of e-commerce and digital marketing. A shift toward a more connected, tech-savvy culture is indicated by the commonality of social media use for various purposes, including doing business, fostering personal relationships, sharing information, and purchasing commodities.

Businesses in Malaysia can take advantage of the growing number of internet users to increase their online presence and reach out to consumers. The rise in digital advertising expenditures indicates the companies' efforts to leverage the enormous prospects created by the Malaysian market's desire to maximize their internet usage.

Significant future implications result from these changes: With more Malaysians preferring to shop online, it's clear that businesses need to adopt a digital-centric strategy. Brands can maintain an advantage by comprehending and utilizing the social media landscape and ensuring that their approaches align with the changing tastes of Malaysian consumers.

Malaysia's digital landscape is expected to continue growing, necessitating organizations, influencers, and marketers to refine their digital marketing tactics. Staying updated on Malaysia's market trends and social media statistics can help you understand consumer behavior and develop new strategies for engagement and growth. 

Our different Meltwater solutions can help you and your brand do exactly that! Just fill out the following form to get a free 15-minute tour of our platform.

Read our customer story with the Malaysian brand Setel to see what the Meltwater social listening suite can do for you.