Nielsen study confirms Hongkongers will buy online

Four out of five Hong Kong consumers said they will use the internet to research non-consumable products, or even make the transactions online, in the next six months.

The findings, from a global e-commerce study by Nielsen, shows compared to three years ago, Hong Kong consumers want a good product at a good price and are willing to buy it online.

“The lightning-fast pace of change in digital has ushered in a consumer mind-set that is adventurous and exploratory, especially on e-commerce,” said Eva Leung, managing director of Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau.

“Hong Kong consumers want a good product at a good price, and the seemingly limitless options available in a virtual environment provide new opportunities for both merchants and consumers. The market for fast-moving consumer goods is no exception.”

In Hong Kong, the key three items that consumers will shop and purchase online for the next six months are airline tickets reservations (32% shop online vs. 57% purchase online), hotel reservations (32% vs. 56%) and event tickets (30% vs. 53%).

The online market for buying groceries—while not as strong as non-consumable categories—is starting to show promise. Since 2011, there is a 7-percentage-point growth in terms of Hong Kong consumers purchasing food and beverages online, from 18 percent to 25 percent.

The higher percentages of online buying versus browsing in Hong Kong suggest that more respondents are going online to make the actual transaction rather than using the internet for research purposes only.

Not surprising, China exceeds the global average in all categories, while online purchase intentions around the world have doubled in 14 of 22 categories over the past three years.

The Nielsen Global Survey of e-commerce polled more than 30,000 internet respondents in 60 countries. The survey sample size for Hong Kong was 501.

The Tipping Point for Hong Kong Online Shoppers

Knowing what drives the behaviour of Hong Kong consumers is vital to increased engagement, and of course not all shoppers want the same things.

According to the survey, Hong Kong consumers tend to be researchers when engaging in e-commerce.

Three-out-of-five respondents will check out products in the store before purchasing them online (61%), or they will often look at products online before purchasing them in the store (60%).

Fifty-eight percent of the respondents will read online reviews prior to purchasing a product, and nearly half (49%) will spend considerable time researching products online prior to buying. Nevertheless, most of the Hong Kong respondents (63%) will think of convenience when talking about shopping or purchasing online for consumable products like personal care, health and beauty, food and beverage, pet food and baby supplies.

“While these categories are still in the early stages of online adoption in Hong Kong, the increase in online browse-to-buy conversion rates for fast-moving consumer goods is good news,” said Leung.

“For retailers, now is the time to create omni-channel experiences for consumers who are actively using both digital and physical platforms to research and purchase, as consumers increasingly don’t make a distinction between the two.”