Research: Use of mobile wallets to keep rising even after pandemic

The use of mobile wallets in Hong Kong has grown steadily amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while Hongkongers have delayed buying expensive products, according to a GroupM Hong Kong online survey.

The agency conducted the online survey about mobile wallet consumption and e-commerce trends in May 2020, interviewing a total of 600 Hong Kong residents aged 16 to 64 who had used smartphones in the past 12 months.

Hong Kong mobile wallet users have been growing steadily in recent years. In the survey, 91% of respondents aged 18 to 54 said they had used mobile wallets in the past 12 months, up from 88% in the last year's survey.

More than half (51%) of the respondents said they had spent more than before on mobile wallets. More than one-third mentioned that they would increase spending on mobile wallet even after the pandemic is over.

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As for mobile wallet service providers, AlipayHK continued to lead the sector as 67% of respondents said they had used it, followed by PayMe (64%) and WeChat Pay (43%).

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Due to the current situation, many respondents decided to delay buying non-daily items such as international travel products (61%), air tickets or hotels (52%), local travel products (32%), luxury fashion and accessories (22%), personal technology gadgets (21%), and luxury watches and jewellery.

In contrast, people were buying more necessities amid the pandemic, leading to an increase in online shopping due to reduced mobility. Close to 80% of consumers had bought more household cleaning products and two-thirds have ordered more grocery shopping from the internet. Just under half (49%) of them bought more health and beauty supplements.

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Asked what they have bought for the first time online during the pandemic, one-fourths claimed that they had purchased medicine and medical supplies online, such as face masks, for the first time, while one-fifths of Hongkongers had patronised online food delivery platforms, and 14% had purchased groceries online.

When it comes to influential touchpoints offering brand and product info, two-thirds of respondents went to product comparison websites, followed by search engines and brands' official websites.

A total of 33% went for livestreaming hosted by bloggers and experts to learn more about products and services, with skincare products and personal technology gadgets attracting more potential customers.

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“Entertainment via live steaming has been widely experienced and half of the consumers surveyed would expect to purchase and consume in an innovative and entertaining way. To make the purchase experience more entertaining is the trend for advertisers to keep an eye on," said Melanie Lo, the CEO of GroupM Hong Kong.

“It's important for businesses to stay nimble in response to the changes and plan for the growth that will eventually return. Some consumers have already shifted their purchase behaviours and are now buying from the new channels and promotions that have arisen in times of crisis. It's a must for brands to embrace the omnichannel approach with greater visibility and ingenuity," she added.


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