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Survey: HK shoppers willing to buy through mobile apps

Companies in Hong Kong might want to consider opportunities offered by mobile apps marketing, given 54 percent of brand-related mobile apps users are willing to buy through apps downloaded onto their smartphones, said local researchers Wednesday.

Of all the smartphone owners participating in the survey dubbed Hong Kong Smartphone Advertising and Marketing Study, 56 percent use brand-related mobile apps but only 26 percent of companies have adopted mobile apps for marketing. The majority of marketers, at 57 percent, are still using SMS and/or MMS for mobile marketing.

Conducted jointly by the Hong Kong Wireless Development Center (HKWDC), the Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association (HKWTIA), and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) from June to July 2011, the survey had 323 mobile apps users filled out questionnaires via social networks like Facebook and 68 companies responded to a different set of questions on mobile marketing practices and adoption.

"While mobile apps offer many opportunities for retailers and other firms to get consumers to buy their products, businesses must consider how they can attract consumers to download and keep using their apps given the fast growing number and variety of apps," said Lawrence Cheung, principal consultant (IT Industry Development) at HKPC.

"Mobile apps are pull in nature versus push practices like email and SMS," said Ken Fong, chairman of WTIA. "Thus mobile apps are more popular among smartphone users than other channels."

According to survey results, 90 percent of smartphone users have actually made use of mobile apps, compared to banners on webpages (83 percent), banners in apps (80 percent), and SMSes/MMSes/mobile coupons (74 percent).

In addition, the number of companies planning to up their mobile apps marketing budget by more than 20 percent grow 22 percent year-on-year in 2011.

Fong warned that while mobile marketing presents opportunities, firms must have great products in the first place. "Bad products heavily marketed will extinct faster because negative comments spread quickly on social media," he said.

The study also found out that the most popular types of mobile apps include social networking (81 percent of users), games (80 percent), news and information (80 percent), as well as email and communications (76 percent).

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