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HKTVmall biz continues to surge despite manpower shortages

HKTVmall biz continues to surge despite manpower shortages

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HKTVmall's business continued to surge as many Hong Kong customers used its platform to shop amid the fifth wave of the pandemic. The eCommerce company said its gross merchandise value (GMV) on order intake increased by 87.3% year-on-year in February 2022, while its average daily order number was up about 80% in the same month too.

In a statement, the company said its GMV on order intake reached HK$854.0 million, representing a substantial growth of 87.3% versus February 2021 and 22.2% versus January 2022. The average daily GMV on order intake reached HK$30.5 million, also representing a year-on-year growth of 87.1% and a 35.6% monthly growth when compared to January 2022.

The average daily order number reached 59,300. It increased by 77% year-on-year and 25.1% when compared to January 2022 respectively. Moreover, subsequent to Chinese New Year holiday, HKTVmall even received approximately 100,000 orders on each VIP day.

HKTVmall chairman Paul Cheung said the group believed that the increasing online momentum will drive some of its customers shifting their shopping behaviour from offline to online on a permanent basis.

"Given the serious deterioration of COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong with tens of thousands of COVID-19 tested positive cases recorded daily, there are increasing retail or consumer product operators which either shorten their operating hours or suspend their store operation. Under this condition, we have over 20% of our frontline employees under quarantine due to them or their close contact having been tested positive for COVID-19," said Cheung.

"Some of our business partners including merchants, suppliers and third-party logistics operators also face serious shortages in manpower or products, causing difficulty in fulfilling customer ordered product items," he added.

As a result, the overall order cancellation rate reached approximately 2.5%. The company said if the pandemic continues to deteriorate, it will further affect HKTVmall and its business partners’ operation. It expects the ratio will further increase.

However, the company was not overly optimistic about the near future of the business. Cheung said, "Considering the continuous severity of the fifth wave of the pandemic, even though various measures are adopted by us, unavoidably, we still do not expect we can resume our frontline manpower to a normal level in a short period of time. Our business partners are still facing challenges to improve the current difficult conditions, let alone the impact from the possible implementation of Compulsory Universal Testing scheme and lock down measures in Hong Kong."

Looking ahead, HKTVmall has decided to postpone its plan to achieve the goal set at the outset of 2022. In particular, the Phase 1 of the plan, which was originally targeted to launch in or around March 2022, aiming to enhance the capacity to enable 90% to 95% delivery orders to meet the “two-day delivery” target, will need to postpone. HKTVmall added that they will review the plan and the timeline after its fulfilment capacity and business partners’ operation resume to normal.

HKTVmall's service was seriously affected lately due to staff shortages. It saw angry comments flood its Facebook, as orders remained undelivered or failed to reach consumers on time. In response to the overwhelming amount of complaints and orders, HKTVmall turned to social media to explain the reasons for the delay. It said that many of its staff have tested positive and as such are unable to work. Vendors and logistics partners of HKTVmall are also suffering staff shortages, leading to the lengthened time of order delivery.

HKTVmall is known to deliver products within two days of the product order. However, the eCommerce platform admitted that they need at least two weeks or even more to deliver. The company also apologised for the delayed services. It added that it has been recruiting couriers to help deliver the orders and working with restaurants in Hong Kong to roll out more temporary self pick-up stations.

The post then ended with a plea that as Hongkongers "have not encountered something like this before, [they] desperately need to help each other."

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