The 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that took place in Kuala Lumpur had recently concluded. The event was officially held from 19th – 30th August 2017 although a few events commenced earlier from 14th August 2017. 11 nations participated in the Games, with the host country Malaysia leading the final medal tally.
The opportunity to host the SEA Games this year was important for Malaysia as this helped to improve the country’s economy and helped to increase the sales of many businesses. Many Malaysians were interested in the Games and attended many significant events held during the SEA Games such as the opening and closing ceremonies and the football finals to show support for the national team.
The SEA Games also had a big influence when it came to online searches and shopping. Many Malaysians searched for information about the SEA Games online such as latest updates, results, and schedules for their favourite events. Not only that, sports that usually had fairly low searches also showed huge surges during the SEA Games period, proving that the recent SEA Games had positive influences on sports-related online searches and shopping.
In fact, as you can see in the table above, the most searched sport during the SEA Games was football. This was probably because the Malaysian football team did very well during the Games and qualified for the semi-finals, which resulted in a spike in terms of online searches. The surge started from 25 August, days before the semi-final match between Malaysia and Indonesia on 28 August.
A second huge surge occurred when Malaysia managed to defeat Indonesia to enter the finals. The surges began from 26 August 2017 right up to 29 August 2017 a few days before the football finals were scheduled to begin. From this data, we can assume that the reason for the surge of searches before the aforementioned matches is probably to find out the schedules before they bought the tickets.
Besides that, there was a 1700% increase in searches for “Thanabalan football”, referring to Malaysian striker Thanabalan Nadarajah, who became an overnight sensation who rose to fame for scoring the sole and winning goal against arch-rivals Indonesia that enabled Malaysia to qualify for the finals.
During the sporting event, Malaysians were also interested about events that were not directly related to the SEA Games. The graph above shows that the second most-search sport was badminton. A 1200% increase was seen for the search term ‘world championship 2017’ as Malaysian badminton hero Datuk Lee Chong Wei was badly defeated in the first round of the championships.
An interesting statistic that was seen during the SEA Games period was boxing. The interest for the sport was quite low when the SEA Games started but a sudden spike was seen on the 27th of August when the hugely publicised Mayweather vs McGregor match was shown. Most of the searches on boxing derived from East Malaysia, with Sarawak in particular showing huge interest on the sport as compared to users in the Peninsular.
In terms of the effect that the SEA Games had on online shopping, Malaysians’ online shopping behaviour showed some changes on the SEA Games. Of all the sporting events held during the SEA Games period, the football finals between Thailand and Malaysia affected online shopping the most. On most occasions, online shopping sites should see peak traffic by 11pm but not during the Thailand vs Malaysia match. As seen on the graph above, online shopping sites experienced the highest traffic earlier than usual, as early as 12pm in the afternoon whereas another surge was seen at 4pm in the evening. The same trend was also seen during the Opening and Closing Ceremony of the SEA Games. One reason behind the increase in traffic during the day compared to at night was because these events mentioned above was held at night so Malaysians were paying attention to the events rather than shopping online.
Written by Jonathan Cheng from iPrice Group.