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Number of online shoppers grows in Hong Kong

The number of online shoppers has grown in Hong Kong, according to a newly released GfK Retail to e-tail survey.

The number of people who use the Web to shop has grown from 218,000 in 2002 to 1.38 million in 2012 and this tremendous growth is attributed to an increase in consumers who use personal computers, smartphones and media tablets in Hong Kong.

Technology and availability of these screens has encouraged more customers to shop online as it saves them from standing in queues and other problems associated with purchasing from brick and mortar shops.

The GfK Retail to e-tail survey was conducted earlier this year via online questionnaire and includes responses from interviewees aged between 18 to 65 years.

Gen Y or people born in the mid-1980's and later have shown the highest level of adoption for using smartphone for online shopping.

"Intensifying migration to 3G / 4G LTE networks of smart mobile devices, added to the increasing adoption of larger screen sized smartphones which facilitate ease of usage have greatly fuelled the growth momentum of mobile commerce, much to the delight of retailers and new startups," said Walter Leung.

Research before purchase

Fifty-four percent of the respondents used at least three platforms to do their research before making a decision to purchase stuff online. Typically, customers turn to search engines, social media and discussion forums to get more information about the product they want to buy.

More than four in five online shoppers used either their laptop or desktop computer; more than half used smartphones; and 40 percent used their media tablets to make online purchases.

Clothing, accessories, and shoes are the top three online shopping categories followed by handbags, facial skincare products and books. Other popular products are hotels, flight tickets, and electronic products.

Research shows that one third of the online shoppers spent around US$25-US$64 during each transaction, and this amount was spent mainly on clothing, accessories and shoes.

More than 80 percent of the total online purchases of local consumers recorded in the survey are for items which cost below US$128.

"To enter into e-tail business, a good e-commerce strategy is needed, but it is not the ticket to success," added Leung. "Marketers need to be more visionary and innovative to capitalise on the opportunity by optimising all the influential touch points in the whole purchase journey and develop a holistic commerce strategy in the digital world."


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