In 2002, Malaysia earned RM5.13 billion in revenue from shopping, which accounted for 20.6% of total tourism expenditure of RM25.8 billion.
“It was RM6.5 billion in 2018 and in 2019 we amassed RM7.1 billion in tourism shopping spend.
“This encouraging figure gives retailers confidence that Malaysia has the potential to position itself as an international shopping destination for all,” the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) said in a statement.
To achieve the said goal, a national committee will be formed and headed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to spearhead the initiative, the association said.
He said other ministries and agencies to be involved should be Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Department of Customs, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents ( MATTA), MRA, Persatuan Pengurusan Kompleks Malaysia (PPK) and National Tourism Action Council.
Efforts to promote Malaysia as a world-class shopping destination to foreign and domestic tourists need to be streamlined, he added.
To support new trends in the retail industry, MRA suggested investments in automated technology to help retailers better manage labor shortages.
He said if same-day delivery could be done, it would give retailers a clear advantage.
As social commerce will be one of the biggest digital trends for the retail industry, interactive retail experiences will bridge the gap between the online and offline parts of a store.
The lines between brick-and-mortar retail and other industries such as food and beverage will continue to blur as online retail and omnichannel tools help create more meaningful shopping experiences.
MRA added that in Southeast Asia, Malaysia remains very popular with overseas retailers.
He said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, many new overseas retailers had opened their first stores in Malaysia this year.
“As of today, we have 34 new brands from 17 countries opening their first stores in Malaysia.”
They include Matcha Eight, Nitori, Nojima, Ainz and Tulpe, Baristart Coffee, Tsutaya, DonQ and Gyomu from Japan as well as Philipp Plein from Germany, Balmain from France, Lladro from Spain and Amaris from Switzerland.
“The new supply of several high-quality malls in Greater Kuala Lumpur has attracted these retailers to set up shop here,” the association added.
MRA said overseas retailers aiming to open before the end of this year or early next year include Yakiniku Sizzle (Japan), Black Tap (US), Seibu (Japan), Apple Store (US ), Eslite Bookstore (Taiwan), Bacha Coffee (Morocco), David Rocco (Canada), Omotesando Koffee (Japan), Paris Baguette (South Korea), Nuttea (Taiwan), Shake Shack (United States) and GS25 (Korea from South).