Singles’ Day takes top position as the most popular online festival for Hong Kong-based consumers, while CEOs look to significantly increase their online investments in order to drive growth, finds a joint survey by KPMG China and GS1 Hong Kong.
KPMG China and GS1 Hong Kong’s second annual report, titled “Outlook for e-commerce in Hong Kong”, provides an overview of the latest e-commerce trends and developments in Hong Kong and Southern China, both from a business and consumer perspective.
YouGov was commissioned to conduct a survey of 1,000 consumers – 500 in Hong Kong and mainland China, respectively – to understand their current and future shopping attitudes and habits. A separate survey of 162 CEOs in Hong Kong was conducted to gather their views on the opportunities and challenges to moving to e-commerce and omni-channel business models.
One of the key findings points to an increase in popularity in online shopping festivals, and their associated bargains and promotions. These are motivating a majority of shoppers in both mainland China (84 percent) and Hong Kong (52 percent) to purchase goods and services online, with Alibaba’s annual Singles’ Day festival on November 11 the most popular.
The survey also finds that Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms are the most popular for purchasing products and services, with Taobao used by 43 percent and 45 percent of consumers from mainland China and Hong Kong, respectively. JD.com, Amazon, Wechat and eBay are also used by consumers in mainland China and Hong Kong.
Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer and Retail, ASPAC, KPMG China, says: “Major online shopping festivals are having a greater impact on online sales as a portion of total revenue. Undoubtedly, the Singles’ Day festival – a key date in the shopping calendar for mainland China and Hong Kong consumers – will continue to demonstrate the growing trend of online spending and burgeoning number of online shoppers.”
The CEO survey meanwhile finds that 89 percent of Hong Kong CEOs say that e-commerce is generating revenue to their companies. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of surveyed CEOs intend to increase their investment in e-commerce by more than 10 percent in the next 12 months.
Anna Lin, Chief Executive of GS1 Hong Kong, says: “CEOs are increasingly focussing on improving customer experience, adopting innovative technologies and developing more integrated O2O marketing strategies to drive e-commerce growth. They need a data-driven strategy to properly identify, capture and share information about products automatically and accurately in both digital and physical worlds. The GS1 product identification standards, Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), is the unique product identifier which forms the foundation of data analytics and consumer experience enhancement.”
Nearly three in five consumers in both Hong Kong and mainland China plan to do more shopping and research online in the coming 12 months. Consumers are also looking to receive more customised products and information derived from the use of big data. The results also find that a significant number of Hong Kong respondents (44 percent) are likely to buy more via their mobile phones in the coming year.
Hong Kong’s millennials meanwhile are significantly more likely than last year to make online purchases via their mobile phones, in most product and service categories. Access to more payment options appears to be a an important driver when it comes to persuading Hong Kong millennials to buy online, rated by 42 percent in 2017, compared to 27 percent in 2016.
“Tech-savvy millennials are a key driver of online spending and retailers need to adapt their e-commerce strategies in order to attract share-of-wallet from this increasingly important consumer segment. It is vital for brands to keep abreast of ever-changing technologies, consumer purchasing behavior and expectations. Their brand marketing strategies also need to continuously evolve in order to stay ahead of the game,” adds Cindy Chan, Head of Greater China, YouGov.
Overall, social media is being used more by consumers to engage with their favourite brands, as well as to make purchases. The results show that Facebook is the top social media platform used by Hong Kong consumers to engage with brands (57 percent) and make purchases (48 percent). WeChat is the most popular platform for mainland China consumers, with 65 percent and 60 percent of surveyed respondents selecting the popular app for engagement and purchases, respectively.
Many businesses are responding to this by actively using a range of social media platforms to engage with and sell to their customers, while nearly nine-in-ten CEOs expect product and service customisation and a personalised purchase experience to benefit their companies.
GS1 Hong Kong’s Lin concludes: “The consumer’s desire for personalisation and customisation from retail brands will result in new players in the retail and consumer space. The winners are going to be those that are able to recognise the importance of ensuring an improved customer experience and creating a consistent brand experience across channels.”
Founded by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce in 1989, GS1 Hong Kong is the local chapter of GS1®, a not-for-profit, standards organisation that develops and drives adoption of easy-to-implement global standards for business to uniquely identify, accurately capture and automatically share vital information about products, locations and assets. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, GS1 has over 110 national chapters in 150 countries.
GS1 Hong Kong’s mission is to enable Hong Kong enterprises to improve the efficiency, safety, and visibility of supply chains across multiple sectors and facilitates commerce connectivity through the provision of global standards and a full spectrum of standards-based solutions and services. GS1 Hong Kong engages with communities of trading partners, industry organisations, government, and technology providers to understand and respond to their business needs through the adoption and implementation of global standards.
Currently, GS1 Hong Kong has over 7,000 corporate members covering close to 20 industries including retail consumer goods, food and food services, healthcare, apparel, logistics as well as information and technology. GS1 Hong Kong continually enhances and rolls out new services and solutions to help our corporate members to embrace new realities, new challenges, and new opportunities. For more information about GS1 Hong Kong, please visit www.gs1hk.org
KPMG China operates in 16 cities across China, with around 10,000 partners and staff in Beijing, Beijing Zhongguancun, Chengdu, Chongqing, Foshan, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Xiamen, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR. With a single management structure across all these offices, KPMG China can deploy experienced professionals efficiently, wherever our client is located.
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and regions, and have 189,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
In 1992, KPMG became the first international accounting network to be granted a joint venture licence in mainland China. KPMG China was also the first among the Big Four in mainland China to convert from a joint venture to a special general partnership, as of 1 August 2012. Additionally, the Hong Kong office can trace its origins to 1945. This early commitment to the China market, together with an unwavering focus on quality, has been the foundation for accumulated industry experience, and is reflected in the Chinese member firm’s appointment by some of China’s most prestigious companies.
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