Generation Z in Malaysia: The Five
‘E’ Generation (Electronically Engaged,
Educated, Entrepreneurial, Empowered,
and Environmentally Conscious)
Fandy Tjiptono, Ghazala Khan, Ewe Soo Yeong and
Generation Z in Malaysia is currently the largest age group representing
29% of the overall population, with a monthly disposable income of
US$327 million. The Malaysian Generation Z is an electronically engaged
generation and is heavily dependent on their smartphones and social
media, spending an average of 8 hours a day on the Internet. They are also
well educated, empowered, and entrepreneurial. As consumers, Malay-
sian Generation Z is inuential and independent in their decision-making
process. At the workplace, members of Generation Z in Malaysia are curi-
ous, caring, competent, and condent. These unique characteristics and
behaviours provide specic challenges to deal with them as consumers,
workers, and entrepreneurs.
Keywords: Generation Z; Malaysia; digitalisation; education; work; consumers
Introduction to Malaysia: Truly Asia
With its multi-ethnic and multi-cultural background, Malaysia has a strong
image as ‘Truly Asia’ (Tourism Malaysia, 2019). Malaysian ethnic groups con-
sist of Malay (69%), Chinese (23%), Indians (7%), and other ethnic minorities
(1%) (Department of Statistics, 2019). As with other developing nations in Asia,
The New Generation Z in Asia: Dynamics, Differences, Digitalization, 145–159
Copyright © 2020 by Emerald Publishing Limited
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved
146 Fandy Tjiptono et al.
Malaysia registers a high proportion of youths among its 32.6 million people
(Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2019), with a median age of about 28 years
old (Santander, 2019). In comparison to the Baby Boomers (13%) and Genera-
tion X (18%), Generation Y (26%) and Generation Z (25%) represent the largest
generational cohorts in Malaysia (Worldometers, 2020). The majority of Genera-
tion Z is composed of Malay ethnicity, followed by Chinese and Indian. The male
population of Generation Z stands at 52% and the female 49% (Worldometers,
2020). Over the years, a decline in birth rate has resulted in smaller family size
with an average household size of four people (Hirschman, 2019). Consequently,
members of Generation Z live in smaller households with the fewest siblings in
Malaysian history. Most of them (78%) live in urban areas (Worldometers, 2020).
The statistics indicate a high literacy rate of 97% for both males and females
among Generation Z in Malaysia (UNESCO, 2016).
Over the last few decades, the country has experienced economic boom and
rapid development. Between 2000 and 2018, Malaysia recorded a Gross Domes-
tic Product (GDP) annual growth rate of 4.80% which resulted in a lower pov-
erty rate, good access to education, and improved living conditions and health
(Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2019). Malaysia succeeded in drastically
reducing the poverty rate from 49.3% in 1970 to 0.6% in 2018 (Department of Sta-
tistic Malaysia, 2019) through various initiatives, including The New Economic
Policy and National Development Policy developed to address ethnic economic
disparities and other measures, such as tax reduction strategies and nancial aids
(Prime Minister’s Ofce of Malaysia, 2019). The Gini Coefcient ratio (ratio of
0 refers to equal distribution of wealth) for Malaysia shows a signicant drop
from 0.51 in 1970 to 0.428 in 2018 (Knoema, 2020), indicating a reduction in
income inequality. However, a stable growth of GDP may not necessarily indicate
a better standard of living. Beginning in the mid-2015s as a result of political
instability and misconduct, the country is experiencing economic slowdown and
widening economic growth disparities, impacting standard of living (Rao, 2019).
The gap among the rich, middle class, and the poor is prevalent, where Malaysia
is more unequal than most of its neighbouring countries in the Southeast Asian
region (Ng & Tan, 2018). A sizable 40% of the 7.5 million households are clas-
sied as relatively poor (The Star, 2018a, 2018b). In addition, income disparities
among the major ethnic groups have widened. Median monthly income dispari-
ties between the Malay and Chinese ethnic groups, and between the Chinese and
Indian ethnic groups have increased fourfold between 1989 and 2016 (Ministry of
Economic Affairs, 2019).
Although the Malaysian unemployment rate has remained stable over the last
decade, youth unemployment indicates a gradual increase. In 2019, the youth
unemployment rate at 10.9% represents 60% of the currently unemployed popu-
lation (Malay Mail, 2019). A main criticism is of the expansion of private and
public universities locally, resulting in mass production of graduates. Nearly
all participants in a study commissioned by Dell Technologies on Generation Z
in Malaysia indicated concerns about their lack of soft skills and job experi-
ence sought by future employers (Focus Malaysia, 2019). Although Generation Z
Generation Z in Malaysia 147
is equipped with knowledge, there seems to be much criticism from existing
employers that there is a lack of practical and problem-solving skills among this
generation. Despite the government’s efforts to address these issues through the
Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015–2025 (Ministry of Education Malaysia,
2015), the effectiveness of the initiatives and their outcomes rely heavily on the
implementation of the plan and labour market situations.
Since 1997, there has been a boom in the Malaysian telecommunication indus-
try. Currently, the majority of households have Internet connections and own
mobile phones. By 2016, 92% of the population had 3G data coverage and 64%
had 4G data coverage (Lau, 2018). Generation Z is the rst generation in Malay-
sia to be exposed to digital technologies since their earliest youth, and found to be
tech-savvy and adaptive to rapid technological advancement. Parented by Gener-
ation X, who are highly educated compared to Baby Boomers, members of Gen-
eration Z are introduced to technology by their parents at a very young age. This
group with 98% of Internet and 99% smartphone penetration (The Star, 2019a)
are early adopters of the fast-changing technology and their lives are strongly tied
to social media, with a high usage of Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit, and
related products and services.
In the political eld, Malaysia experienced a historic change when the ruling
party of over six decades was ousted by the opposition coalition in the 2018
general election. As they experience a transformational political era, Genera-
tion Z in Malaysia shows an increased awareness and interest in political issues.
The change in the ruling party brought along several critical challenges to the
government to rebuild the nation. A particular focus is to employ the youth seg-
ment, specically Generation Z due to their size and social impact to reform the
economic, political, and social situation. In 2019, the Youth Societies and Youth
Development Act was passed to establish a new denition of youth by lowering
the youth age range from 15 to 40 years to 15 to 30 years (The Star, 2019b). In the
same year, the voting age was lowered to 18 from 21. News tabloids identify this
new generation as game changers with the power to create political kingmakers
as approximately 1.5 million voters from this generation were added to the vot-
ing list (The Star, 2019a). The newly elected government has since initiated vari-
ous economic policies and interventions including The Shared Prosperity Vision
2030, a short-term plan to restructure a failing economy and to address wid-
ening disparities among income groups and ethnicities. The framework denes
strategic initiatives and outlines policy measures for economic transformation
by focussing on fostering innovation, creativity, digitalisation, and knowledge
building. The success of this model demands a highly skilled knowledge-based
workforce. Generation Z has begun to join the workforce. Hence, the Malaysian
government initiatives focus on skill development and entrepreneurship target-
ing this new generation. The entrance of this cohort to the workforce is expected
to intensify competition in the job market. Generation Z is driven by global
aspirations with a completely different outlook than previous generations. As
one of the largest segments of its population, Malaysia is largely dependent on
them in building the nation.
148 Fandy Tjiptono et al.
Basics of Generation Z in Malaysia: The 4E
Malaysian Generation Z tends to be family oriented and, in general, enjoys
spending time with family. The majority of them were either raised by live-in
maids or grandparents (Paul, 2019), which may inuence the close relation-
ships they enjoy with their families. The family closeness and pampered living
may also be explained by their unwillingness or awkwardness to interact with
the outside world. Generation Z likes sheltered lives at home (Tieu, 2015) and
is helped by digital connectivity. Optimum Media Direction (OMD) Malaysia
named this phenomenon ‘perpetual child syndrome’. In layman’s term, a per-
petual child can be dened as a person who is forever young. This, in turn, may
make it difcult for Malaysian Generation Z to deal with stress and life pres-
sures (The Star, 2015).
Based on an in-depth literature review, the main characteristics of Malaysian
Generation Z can be summarised into 4E: Electronically engaged, Educated,
Entrepreneurial, and Empowered.
Like their global counterparts, Malaysian Generation Z is a digital native gen-
eration. With 99% smartphone ownership, they have not known life without the
Internet and digital technologies (The Star, 2019c). They prefer to express their
feelings via stickers or emojis, and use social media frequently (Manimaharan,
2019). The top ve social media platforms among Malaysian youths are Face-
book, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube (Statcounter, 2020).
Malaysian young people are frequent seekers of online knowledge. Approxi-
mately 71% of Malaysian Generation Z get their news from social media, and
43% from instant messaging. Surprisingly, 44% still get their news from television
(Nielsen, 2019). This digital savviness may be used to inuence older family mem-
bers in many ways, including doing online transactions (such as paying bills and
booking an airline ticket or taxi online), connecting to others using social media
(e.g. Facebook), and checking directions using Google Maps. For them, there is
no difference between the digital world and the real world (Ong, 2015). They live
a very digitally focussed social life and 80% of them look at one to three screens
daily (Emran & Rahim, 2016) and spend an average of 8 hours a day on the
Internet (Dhesi, 2018). Staying connected is important for these young people, as
Generation Z has a fear of missing out (Ong, 2015).
Malaysian Generation Z places great emphasis on education and believes that it is
essential for a successful life (Focus Malaysia, 2019). They have global awareness,
value knowledge, and aspire to achieve higher education qualication compared
to their parents. Interestingly, a study undertaken by Dimensional Research
involving 724 Malaysian Generation Z found that 98% of them have used tech-
nology as part of their formal education and about 64% rated their education as
Generation Z in Malaysia 149
excellent or good in preparing them for their future careers (The Sun Daily, 2019).
Malaysian young people are characterised as active learners and are motivated
to gain specic skills in specialised disciplines (The Star, 2018a). They indicate a
preference for skill development via interactive and practical learning and are less
inclined to traditional classroom-based approaches. They are motivated to learn
outside school, aided by digital tools such as online forums and Skype.
The Malaysian Generation Z is nancially literate, places a high importance
on nancial stability, and has learned to manage their nances (Emran & Rahim,
2016). Financial literacy comprises of knowledge and understanding of nancial
concepts and risks, and the necessary skills, motivation, and condence to apply
the acquired knowledge to make sound and effective decisions across a range of
nancial contexts (Lusardi, 2015). Financial literacy helps to improve the nan-
cial well-being of individuals and society and enables participation in economic
life (Lusardi, 2015).
As consumers, nancial literacy of Generation Z is likely to inuence their
savviness. According to Hoyt (2018), nancial savviness is an important compo-
nent of nancial literacy, whereby young people learn to manage money and are
in control of their nances. This nancial savviness of Generation Z may in turn
inuence their consumption choices, information search and possibly modes of
payment. Financial savviness is reected in their shopping behaviour, whereby
heavy emphasis is placed on value for money. For instance, a recent study, con-
ducted by Nielsen (2019) on Malaysian Generation Z, reported that before mak-
ing a purchase online, 85% of online shoppers would compare prices at physical
stores and that approximately 82% would take the shipping rates into considera-
tion before making a purchase decision.
A study on more than 500 Malaysian Generation Z respondents showed that a
signicant number among them (about 31%) were interested in becoming entre-
preneurs (Mariappan, 2015). Another study by the Asian Institute of Finance
(The Star, 2018a, 2018b) reports an even higher proportion of Malaysian Genera-
tion Z who want to start their own business (about two-thirds of 978 respond-
ents). This job-creator mindset (instead of job-hunter perspective) is mostly
driven by monetary reasons (The Star, 2018a, 2018b). Malaysian Generation Z
perceives that earning potential is much higher as an entrepreneur than working
for someone else.
In relations to the political eld, Malaysian Generation Z is exposed to political
instability and has been a voice to bring about the recent change in the political
environment in Malaysia. Currently, the country is experiencing a transition era
from an ethnically driven political environment to a political situation dened by
social class. This new generation having the voting right has expressed a need for
political change, freedom of speech, transparency in political moves, and policies
150 Fandy Tjiptono et al.
that favour equality. The high percentage of youth population (44.7% aged
between 15 and 40 years old; EPU, 2016) presents the Malaysian government
with exacerbating challenges in nearly all dimensions including social, economy,
Members of Generation Z as Consumers in Malaysia:
Inuential and Independent
Inuential and Responsible Consumers
Decision-Making Process. Generation Z consumers in Malaysia are skilled
online researchers and adept at getting any information they deem necessary.
They are likely to search for new products, fresh ideas, and experiences that invoke
excitement (Ong, 2015). While digital connectivity is important to Generation Z,
they are found to be sceptical about information online. Since they are a better
educated generation, they do not fall for hoaxes or fake news easily (Advertising &
There has been a decline in birth and fertility rate in Malaysia, from 4.9 chil-
dren per family in 1970 to 1.9 in 2017 (Department of Statistics, 2018). Due to
decreased family size, the family dynamics are slightly different from previous
generations, whereby these young Malaysians play an important inuencer role
in many household purchase contexts. Digitally popular but physically awkward,
Malaysian young people are family oriented and enjoy staying at home. Their
opinions are certainly valued and trusted by their parents (Curtis, 2016) resulting
in high levels of condence in buying decisions.
For Malaysian Generation Z, the family is not the only source of consumer
socialisation. Other sources, such as local and international friends and celeb-
rities, may play an important role in their lives, especially in the formation of
attitudes, values, and consumption patterns. However, it is likely that instead of
traditional celebrities (i.e. the likes of famous athletes or movie stars), Generation Z
admires online inuencers, such as YouTubers, bloggers, and social activists.
Many of these online idols have become brand ambassadors due to their number
of followers (Dhesi, 2018). For instance, 21-year-old Sharifah Rose, a Malay-
sian model and inuencer, has garnered over 500,000 followers and is considered
an Instagram star (Famousbirthdays.com). Other young Malaysians, like college
students Joey Leong and Naddy Rahman, have 275 and 109 thousand followers,
respectively, on Instagram (Pandorabox.com, 2018). These young beauty, travel,
and lifestyle bloggers inuence the consumption choices of many and are often
sought after by brands like Dior, Fave, Dove, and Dah Makan for reviews and
Malaysian Generation Z show great concern for social and environmental issues.
Nielsen’s Global Corporate Sustainability Report (2015), for instance, found
that about 69% of 513 young Malaysians stated that they were willing to pay a
Generation Z in Malaysia 151
premium price for products and services from companies committed to sustain-
able practices. The same report also shows that more than 40% of 513 young
Malaysian respondents claimed that they support products with environmentally
friendly packages and that are produced by companies with a good reputation in
In a recent study on Generation Z and green purchases, Noor, Jumain, Yusof,
Ahmat, and Kamaruzaman (2017) reported that attitudes towards green activi-
ties, subjective norms, perceived green knowledge, and social visibility are positive
inuences on green purchase decisions among Malaysian Generation Z. They
also found that members of Generation Z in Malaysia are aware of environ-
mental concerns and display a keen willingness to participate in a green lifestyle,
which includes the purchase and consumption of environmentally friendly prod-
ucts. Additionally, the young people also hold a positive attitude towards green
activities and are inuenced by family and peers in the development of green
attitudes and potential purchase decisions.
In another study of natural beauty product purchases, Ahmad, Omar, and
Hassan (2016) found that environmental consciousness is the key determinant of
purchase intentions among Malaysian Generation Z. The inuence of environ-
mental consciousness was higher than three other personal values investigated,
i.e. health consciousness, appearance consciousness, and need for uniqueness.
Buying Power and Habits. As an upper middle-income country (GDP per cap-
ita amounted to US$29,100 in 2017; CIA, 2019), Malaysian purchasing power is
among the highest in Asia (Santandertrade, 2019). For Malaysian Generation Z
alone, monthly disposable income is estimated to reach US$327 million (Tieu,
2015), which has increased by approximately 23% in 2019 (The Star, 2019c). This
is attractive for marketers of a wide range of products and services, ranging from
fashion, food, and electronics to educational and telecommunication services.
Rising wealth and education levels account for the changing consumer life-
style in Malaysia. Although Malaysian consumers are price sensitive, they are
at the same time brand-conscious, look for quality products, and prefer global
brands to local ones (Santandertrade, 2019). One of the most typical Malaysian
consumer behaviours, including among Generation Z, is that they like to spend
their spare money for holidays or vacations and for buying new technology
products (Nielsen, 2018; Santandertrade, 2019). Family trips are very common
among Malaysians, especially those from middle- and upper-income families
(Lau, 2018). Another consumer behaviour trend to watch is the growing prefer-
ence for online shopping, especially among those aged under 30 (Santander-
Social Media and Online Shopping. By 2017, more than 78% of the Malaysian
population used the Internet (CIA, 2019; Santandertrade, 2019). In fact, Malay-
sia has been considered as one of the Southeast Asian Internet-native countries
with huge e-business opportunities (an estimate of US1.1 billion in 2017) (Aditya,
2017). A recent study conducted by Picodi (Tan, 2019) provides four interesting
152 Fandy Tjiptono et al.
insights about online shopping habits in Malaysia: (1) more women than men
make online purchases (58% vs. 42%); (2) the majority of online shoppers are
from the young generation, i.e. people aged between 25 and 34 (51%) and between
18 and 24 (24%); (3) the most popular products purchased online by Malaysians
include food delivery, travel, clothing, cosmetics, and sports, with the average
order value of US$41, and (4) most of the transactions are made on computers
(68%), followed by smartphones (31%) and tablets (1%). Online purchases via
smartphones are estimated to grow signicantly and will be the dominant device
in the near future (Free Malaysia Today, 2018; Tan, 2019).
In a global survey of more than 22,000 consumers across 27 countries, Price-
waterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed that social media inuence more than half
of Malaysian consumers in their online and in-store shopping activities (Free
Malaysia Today, 2018). Another study by VASE.AI revealed that Malaysians
spend an average of 5 hours on social media daily and get the inspiration to buy
something when they are surng social media (Aditya, 2017). They usually con-
sider online reviews and electronic word-of-mouth communications posted on
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and other platforms
when making purchases.
In terms of media consumption, Malaysian Generation Z consumes less TV,
radio, and print media. As an implication, they are one of the hardest cohorts
to impress with advertising according to Kantar Millward Brown’s AdReaction
study (Digital News Asia, 2017). The same study found several interesting nd-
ings about Generation Z in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia: (1) they are not
interested in any advertisements longer than ten seconds; (2) a growing number of
them have used ad blocking software on their desktops (about 23%) and smart-
phones (about 18%); (3) they are more receptive towards skippable pre-rolls and
mobile rewards videos; (4) they love ads with humour, interesting stories, and
music; and (5) they are not impressed with the use of celebrity endorsement in
ads. These ndings suggest that Malaysian Generation Z needs a sense of control
and a more personalised communication from marketers.
The Return of Brick and Mortar Shopping? Cheung, Glass, Haller, and Wong
(2018, p. 1) were right in highlighting that ‘Generation Z shoppers are full of
surprises’. Despite the fact that Malaysian Generation Z is highly digitally active,
they still have a strong interest in bricks and mortar shopping (i.e. shopping at
physical stores that offer products and services to customers face-to-face; Chen &
Murphy, 2019). Two separate studies by Fluent Commerce (Swain-Wilson, 2018)
and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (Free Malaysia Today, 2018) consistently
found this phenomenon, including in Malaysia. Malaysian Generation Z enjoys
visiting malls, especially for purchasing fashion, food, and entertainment prod-
ucts, as well as hanging out with their families or friends. With more than 50 big
shopping malls (about half of which are located in Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia is
one of the shoppers’ favourite destinations (Wonderful Malaysia, 2017). In fact,
one of the 10 biggest shopping malls in the world is 1 Utama Shopping Centre,
situated in Damansara, Petaling Jaya, with a gross leasable area of 4.9 million
square feet (World Atlas, 2019).
Generation Z in Malaysia 153
Generation Z at Work in Malaysia: Curious, Caring,
Competent, and Condent
Who are ‘They’ in the Workplace?
Malaysian Generation Z is open-minded and curious. They are willing to take
work challenges as long as they think they are worthwhile. According to a study
of the Asian Institute of Finance (February 27, 2018), Generation Z employees
are willing to sacrice immediate pleasures for a greater future reward (Asian
Institute of Finance (AIF), 2018). This nding indicates that this new generation
may behave differently compared to Generation Y in Malaysia, who is associated
with the need for instant gratication.
In another study conducted in Malaysia among 250 Generation Z students
between the ages of 11 and 17, and 100 teachers in the country (New Straits
Times, 2018a), 96% of Generation Z respondents believed that their future careers
will need creativity, and the current education focussing on computers and tech-
nology may sharpen their creativity and best prepare them for their future careers
(New Straits Times, 2018a). They feel condent that they possess the technology
skills that employers demand (Dell Technology, 2018).
Malaysian Generation Z is not satised with just following instructions and
completing a to-do list. They like to be involved in innovative tasks and want
to feel like they are challenging themselves to develop new solutions to prob-
lems (Deep Patel, 2017). In a study among 500 individuals from Generation Z
in Malaysia, 42% of respondents reported that they want to do something com-
pletely new when making career choices, 37% hope to turn their hobbies into a
profession, and 31% want to start their own business (INTI International Uni-
Generation Z in Malaysia values a work–life balance that allows them to plan
time for their personal life and work (AIF, 2018). According to Bresman and Rao
(2017), Generation Z may turn away from leadership roles or the entire job if they
nd there is an imbalance in their work and life.
A global study of 724 Malaysian Generation Z from August to September
2018 (Dell Technology, 2018) found them to be more concerned about whether the
organisation that they work at is socially or environmentally responsible compared
to those in many other countries in the study. Companies which are more socially
or environmentally responsible tend to have more corporate social responsibility
(CSR) events or have more concerns about the eco-friendly environment at the work
place. Forty-seven per cent of Malaysians as compared to 38%, of all respondents
from 17 countries (i.e. United States, Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, France,
Germany, Turkey, Australia or New Zealand, and eight Asian countries includ-
ing Malaysia), expressed that they would like to work for an organisation that is
socially or environmentally responsible (Dell Technology, 2018).
154 Fandy Tjiptono et al.
Behaviour in Companies
Communication. Generation Z in Malaysia prefers talking to co-workers in
person rather than texting or e-mailing (Dell Technology, 2018). They would like
to consult fellow employees in a xed physical ofce when they need to do some-
thing at their job for the very rst time. This young generation values the oppor-
tunities to actually sit and talk with their colleagues and superiors. This gives
them a chance to ask questions and voice their opinions. Furthermore, they are
concerned that communication via e-mail may not accurately convey the message,
there is a lack of interaction and they are not able to get immediate feedback. In
addition, Generation Z in Malaysia is aware of missing updates because of insuf-
cient interaction among the peers.
Digitalisation at Workplace. Many higher learning education institutions in
Malaysia are using e-learning portals such as Moodle, Blackboard, and E-learn
in education courses; therefore, most of Generation Z have used technology sub-
stantially at school, such as online learning, laptops, and smartphones. Genera-
tion Z perceives literacy on technology and digitalisation as an important matter
in their future career. When Malaysian Generation Z was asked to give their
opinion on whether they were interested in working with cutting-edge technology
when they enter the workforce, almost all of the Malaysian respondents (94%
male; 88% female) replied ‘yes’ to this question (Dell Technology, 2018).
As Generation Z has a natural afnity with digital technologies, they can adapt
themselves in the working environment with digitalisation. In addition, they will
be highly adaptable and condent of dealing with change in digital technolo-
gies (AIF, 2018). They are also willing to mentor other colleagues who are not
used to advanced technology. In the study of Dell Technology (2018), 80% of 724
Malaysian respondents from Generation Z noted that they would be comfortable
mentoring an older co-worker who needs help in using the technology. They may
call themselves a ‘digital ambassador’ at their workplace, who is technology-savvy
and willing to be responsible for learning and promoting new technology to other
Relationships with the Team. When Generation Z was asked about the work
skills that they expect their employers to value most in their employees, close to
half of the Malaysian respondents (46%) think that teamwork and collaboration
are what they expect (AIF, 2018). Therefore, clear face-to-face communication is
important to their future career. As they value relationships with co-workers and
participation in discussion at the workplace, it is important that they are invited
to participate in project meetings rather than just to communicate via e-mails or
Leadership/Entrepreneurship. Generation Z in Malaysia inherited many
resources and information earlier in life by way of the Internet: this gives them
more signs of being more entrepreneurial. However, as they value relationships
with co-workers, sometimes as a leader they may feel uncomfortable solving con-
ict pertaining to ethics and principles at the workplace if these are not clearly
dened. They may be worried about the consequences of the failure in their lead-
ership and communication with colleagues (AIF, 2018).
Generation Z in Malaysia 155
When mentioning entrepreneurship, about 63% of Generation Z in Malaysia
shared that they plan to start their own business either on a full-time or part-
time basis (The Star, 2018a). The AIF also reported that about two-thirds of
the technology savvy Generation Z in Malaysia are interested in starting their
own business providing they have gained sufcient work experience and have
accumulated enough capital in their current job. These ndings indicate that this
generation prefers to be an entrepreneur than just an employee in a company
over the longer period. They may start their career development by looking for a
job with stable income and some professional development opportunities. Once
they have obtained sufcient knowledge and skills to start their own business,
they may be keen to become their own boss with their own savings as the start-
up capital. This shows that these people have a strong sense of self-reliance and
are more realistic.
Nevertheless, in Malaysia, the idea of becoming entrepreneurs does not totally
contradict employment, meaning that the Generation Z does not need to quit their
full-time job to become entrepreneurs. Some Generation Z intend to become an
entrepreneur because it can be a good source of additional income to supplement
their full-time job (AIF, 2018). Therefore, Generation Z in Malaysia might be
both an employee and entrepreneur at the same time with longer working hours.
Besides running their own business, Generation Z in Malaysia is also interested in
overseas employment, with Singapore, Australia, and the United Kingdom as the
top destinations (AIF, 2018).
How to Deal with Generation Z in Malaysia:
Let them Lead the World
Dealing with the Future Consumers in Malaysia
Similar to their global peers, members of Generation Z in Malaysia are digi-
tally savvy and have easy access to global information. Being socially conscious
consumers implies that marketers must align themselves with social issues and
demonstrate their corporate social responsibility. A number of options are avail-
able here, from being environmentally friendly to reducing overconsumption of
clothes, for instance, or discouraging wastage of food. These would enhance the
corporate image of the companies in the long run. Supporting social causes such
as the refugee crisis in Malaysia or supporting underprivileged or abused children
is also likely to be welcomed by Generation Z. In short, marketers need to stand
for a cause. Such support is likely to garner strong brand loyalty and generate
favourable e-word of mouth among these young consumers.
To create and retain a loyal customer base, rms need to be digitally savvy and
remain accessible. Digital connectivity is important to the target market as they
are afraid of losing out. Using the right digital platforms and digital strategy is
important to communicate effectively. For example, Hada Labo, a Japanese beauty
brand, engaged its most passionate audience (between the ages of 18 and 34)
by using YouTube to catch up with their digital customers. In comparison
to its competitors, Hada Labo lacked brand awareness in the Malaysian market.
156 Fandy Tjiptono et al.
The beauty brand ran a 100% digital campaign to launch a new line of body
lotion. Within 4 weeks of launch, the campaign garnered 1.7 million views,
recorded a lower cost per view by 40%, increased brand awareness, and recorded
a 40% year-on-year sales growth for the brand (Think with Google (thinkwith-
google.com), 2018). Additionally, it is imperative that marketers promise and
deliver value for money by using promotions such as cash back or larger rewards
from loyalty programs and shorter delivery times for online purchases. It is very
likely that the use of Articial Intelligence, robotics, and Virtual Reality will be
widespread in the next few years, thus, keeping abreast of changes in the digital
era and adapting to such changes are essential to survive in the current and future
Each new generation has its own uniqueness. Then, how to deal with Generation Z
in Malaysia? The answer may refer to a relevant quote from a popular song
‘Greatest Love of All’ (performed by Whitney Houston): ‘I believe the children
are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way’. If we believe that Gen-
eration Z is our future, then we must provide the best possible education to them
and provide them a chance to lead the way as future consumers, workers, and
Aditya. (2017). Report: 2017 Online shopping trends in Malaysia. Retrieved from https://
Advertising & Marketing. (2015, November 6). What does it mean to be Gen Z in Malaysia?
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AQ1: The reference “Hoyt (2018)” is cited in the text but is not listed in the refer-
ences list. Please check.
AQ2: The references “Albeerdy and Gharleghi (2015), Borneo Post (2015),
Chung (2019), Deloitte Insights (2017), Dhesi (2017), Mottain (2018),
New Economic Advisory Council (2010), New Straits Times (2018b),
Nielsen (2015), Star2.com (2019), UNICEF (2012)” are listed in the refer-
ence list but are not cited in the references list. Please check.