PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY: Launch of okmalta.com – a local online shopping digital platform

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ECONOMY AND INDUSTRY: Launch of okmalta.com – a local online shopping digital platform

Reference Number: PR211362, Press Release Issue Date: Jul 18, 2021
 
“The local market is gaining momentum as, among other things, it is using social media for advertising in an innovative way, using and seeking guidance tools, as well as showing a stronger commitment to familiarise itself with navigating the most secure way within this sphere, while at the same time sustaining its business” – Minister Schembri

Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri has launched the e-commerce platform okmalta.com, a private sector initiative that will serve as a digital platform that brings together several local businesses which are envisaging the sale of their products and services online.

“I, therefore, welcome the OKMalta initiative, which will serve as a solid platform for businesses, a collective which will continue to complement the existing market. Furthermore, I commend the proactivity you demonstrated when you immediately responded to the challenges emanating from the Brexit scenario – that although the British market has been popular in terms of online shopping, nevertheless in a moment of truth such as that of the pandemic, you have paid full attention to the Maltese market, and the recognition and appreciation you bestowed on it have been significant during this challenging period,” said Minister Schembri.

Here, Minister Schembri referred to a recent survey conducted by the Malta Communications Authority among e-commerce consumers, which clearly demonstrates how most Maltese shoppers buy from both foreign and local websites, even if they want a variety of products. At the same time, the survey shows that the use of local websites is gaining momentum and that, with the additional impetus provided, they are essential for strengthening businesses. Of the more than 700 correspondents, 58% buy online whilst 42% do not. Moreover, this survey looks at the frequency of online shopping, with 30% buying once a month, a substantial amount wherein the age is between 18 and 24 years. An interesting aspect that emerged from this survey is that the most common age for weekly online shopping is over 65, a scenario that suggests growth. 

“The local online market is gaining in popularity as, among others, it is using social media for advertising in an innovative way, it is using and seeking guidance tools, as well as showing a stronger commitment to becoming more familiar with this sphere, while at the same time sustaining its businesses,” said Minister Schembri. 

Mark Bugeja, the owner of okmalta.com, said that through the website we are paving a local online path for all sellers and businesses.

“We believe that this is the best way to complement your existing e-commerce store with one which is already established on this path. Imagine for a moment as if you were opening another shop on a main street in Valletta, which thousands of people visit every day. This is also a great opportunity for small retailers to do the same without having to invest in their own e-commerce platform. Sellers have total control of their stores, for example when listing products for sale, items out of stock, listing new products, and even closing down for a short period when on holiday. The whole business will be focused on attracting consumers to okmalta.com and thus ensuring that the stores get their rightful share of daily visitors. Buyers can register in the normal way through the website or by logging onto social media. A credit card payment system will be in place so that transactions can be carried out securely,” he said.