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HK consumers willing to pay more for trusted digital services, Microsoft study reveals

As an increasing number of organisations go through digital transformation, establishing a trusted platform seems to be paramount in a digital services strategy, as – according to the latest Microsoft-IDC study – only 4% of consumers prefer to transact with an organisation that offers a cheaper but less trusted digital platform, 

Microsoft and IDC released the latest study – “Understanding Consumer Trust in Digital Services in Asia Pacific”, which surveyed 456 consumers in Hong Kong. It aims to understand consumer expectations of trust,  uncover their experiences with digital services, and provide tangible insights to organizations trying to bridge the gap by earning and sustaining the trust of consumers in a digital world.

The study reveals that nearly half of the respondents were willing to pay more to a digital platform with higher trust. In addition, 50% of the consumers highlighted that they would recommend a trusted digital service to others even if the cost was higher.

These results show that consumers are becoming more aware of cybersecurity risks and the risks to the privacy of their personal data, not just from cybercriminals but also from organisations holding on to their personal data.

The top three trust elements that caused consumers to stop using digital services are privacy (69%), security(61%), and reliability(49%).

“Trust is critical for organisations to succeed in this digital world as consumers overwhelmingly prefer to transact with organisations with a trusted digital platform,” said Nigel Parsons, research director, IDC Asia/Pacific. “As competition between digital services becomes more intense and global in nature, advocacy through word of mouth can be a strong differentiator for the organisation and a shot in the arm for the brand.”

The study found that consumers will take action if they have a negative trust experience. Nearly half (47%) of the respondents would either switch to another organization or reduce the usage (48%) of the digital service as the result of such an instance. Close to one-third (30%) of consumers would stop using the digital service altogether.

The study also reveals that only 21% of Hong Kong consumers distrust organisations offering digital services. Consumers have the highest expectations of trust from the government, followed by financial services institutions and healthcare organisations.

“The upside for organisations with a trusted digital platform is tremendous as Hong Kong is one of the most digitally active markets in Asia-Pacific and almost all of the transactions and interactions here would be digital in the near future,” said Alain Crozier, corporate vice president, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region (GCR).

“However, despite consumers’ increasing reliance on digital services, there is certainly more that organisations can do to earn consumer trust. I urge business leaders to better understand what drives consumer trust and focus on how they can build trust and make it a key competitive advantage for their digital services,” Crozier added.

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