Profitable ideas to start a retail business in Malaysia.

Are you finding ideas about starting a business in Malaysia? Maybe you should consider a retail business and this is why.

About retail business in Malaysia

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM), Malaysia’s wholesale and retail trade increased 12.4% year over year in January 2023, setting a new record for a monthly sales value of RM135.1 billion. Nowadays, people’s daily lives depend on retail stores where they are able to access a variety of goods and services whenever they want to. This generates an increasement in the retail industry in terms of employment and contribution to the national economy. 

Corresponding to a popular belief, you might think that in this digital economy, web-based businesses are able to generate higher profits and greater customer flexibility. However, several studies indicate that online and in-store retail can coexist and in-store sales don’t decrease in the near future. Although smaller merchants are having success online, there is still a demand for physical stores. Although the majority of these companies also have websites, there is something unique about shopping in person that cannot be recreated online.

Based on a survey of the retail sector, two-thirds of companies in Malaysia estimate a rise in the revenue from physical stores in the upcoming year. As a result of the report, which Adyen and KPMG funded, three out of four Malaysian consumers think internet buying is only for convenience while they prefer to shop in real stores.

Hence, this is a sign for you to start your physical retail store.

Before discussing more details on this topic, first, you need to understand what retail business is. 

The definition and different types of retail business.

The most direct business model between a service provider and a customer is retail. Retail refers to the sale of products or services by people or companies to consumers. Retailers buy products from wholesalers, producers, or other retailers intending to resell them to customers in order to gain profit. In short, retail is the act of selling products and services directly to consumers. In other words, an opportunity for face-to-face engagement is provided via retailing. Commonly, retail businesses were classified based on the products that they offer which are product retail and service retail.

Product retailing is the practice of a business selling goods that might come from a manufacturer; the retailer just sells the product and has no other connections with customers. Supermarkets, department stores, specialty shops, convenience stores, and internet shops are a few examples of retailers.

While, selling a service, such as cleaning a house, fixing a car, delivery service, salon or health service involves a relationship between the customer and the service provider. While promoting a product, the marketer must demonstrate that the product is appealing to the buyer, whereas promoting a retail service, a relationship rather than a single transaction is being emphasized.

Ideas to start a retail in Malaysia based on demands.

Numerous options from products to services that can you try. However, after analyzing a few articles, news, and trends here is the best ideas for you to start your retail business.

1. Phone accessories shop.

According to the MCMC report, the demand for smartphones is increasing exponentially on a global level.  Malaysia is one of the nations riding the wave of technological advancement without exception. As in reports, 85% of Malaysians own a smartphone.

The sale of mobile phone accessories has increased as a result of the surge in smartphone sales. Smartphones come equipped with many features, including a camera, multimedia messaging, music player, internet, location-based services, and data saving and sharing. Mobile accessories, such as headphones, travel chargers, protective cases, power banks, USB cables, wireless speakers, memory cards, Bluetooth devices, and selfie sticks, further increase the usefulness of these functionalities.

The demand for many gaming accessories, including Bluetooth joysticks, mobile triggers, smartphone cooling fans, and low-latency headphones, has skyrocketed due to the global growth in mobile gaming.

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2. Anything, retail sustainable

Sustainable shopping acknowledges that every product we purchase affects our health, the environment, and society. Simply said, sustainable shopping allows you to promote your values and eschew goods and services that contradict them. When it comes to sustainability factors, Malaysia performs better than the regional average, according to Marketing Magazine. In comparison to people over 35, millennials as a whole showed greater concern for social concerns like sustainability, social responsibility, and climate change. While, a survey conducted by Forbes shows that Gen X consumers’ preference for buying from sustainable brands has climbed by about 25%, and their willingness to spend more for sustainable items has increased by 42%. The truth is that consumers of all ages are now prepared to pay more for sustainable goods. Plus, recent statistics indicate that almost 59 percent of Malaysian respondents said they would be ready to pay more for sustainable items.

Enough with statistics and surveys, here are a few ideas for your sustainable retail business:

  • Handmade natural & organic goods

Common organic resources can be used to create a variety of domestic items, including soaps, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies. 

  • Eco-friendly franchise

Getting a franchise could be a considerable idea. There are many eco-friendly franchise enterprises, despite the fact that the word “franchise” often conjures images of fast food restaurants and hotel chains. 

  • Second-hand store

It’s an interesting alternative to more traditional retail stores for some people. Other times, it can be the neighborhood secondhand shop. You may start with second-hand bookshops or furniture and others but the demand for designer clothing never goes away.

3. Retail shop home cleaning services.

It’s a group of firms that started gaining notice in the US and Europe as early as 2008, with the well-known company TaskRabbit. Since then, the number of service marketplace startups has risen, providing customers with everything from house cleaners and laundry services to handymen.
The demand for cleaning services never declines, and industry growth is continuous. In Malaysia, it is anticipated that the household cleaners market will expand by 3.66% in 2023-2026.

Anyways, this is a list of home cleaning services ideas;

  • Part-time maid
  • Post-renovation cleanup
  • Move-in and move-out cleaning
  • Covid and another disinfection service
  • Event cleaning
  • Mattress and carpet cleaning
  • Washing machine cleaning
  • Air-conditioner cleaning
  • Kitchen appliances cleaning

4. Beauty and services retail

A place where individuals, especially women, seek beauty services like manicures, make-up, and hairstyling.

Beauty products will continue to expand more quickly than the entire services sector. By 2027, both service providers and sellers of cosmetics will

be responsible for this rise. Many companies that previously only offered services have developed additional product lines. Similar to this, businesses are experimenting with service offerings that enable them to build stronger, more trusting relationships with clients while also presenting chances for cross-selling and customer education.

And yup. That’s all. Hope these few ideas help and good luck with your business! 


“Household Cleaners – Malaysia.” n.d. Statista. Accessed March 17, 2023.

“Malaysia: willingness to pay more for sustainable products 2022.” 2022. Statista.

Osman, Mohd A., Abdullah Z. Talib, Zainal A. Sanusi, Tan Shiang-Yen, and Abdullah S. Alwi. n.d. “A Study of the Trend of Smartphone and its Usage Behavior in Malaysia.” Accessed March 16, 2023.

Petro, Greg. 2022. “Consumers Demand Sustainable Products And Shopping Formats.” Forbes.

“Retailers see revenue from physical stores to rise.” 2022. The Star.

“Trends and Markets in Malaysian Mobile Service.” n.d. MCMC. Accessed March 16, 2023.

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