Mobile shopping continues to rise in popularity among consumers in Hong Kong and has now become a vital part of local consumers’ online purchasing habits, with more than four in 10 having made purchases via their mobile device in the last three months.
Meanwhile, well over three quarters (79.8 percent) regarded security of payment facility as a key consideration when shopping online, according to the latest Mastercard Online Shopping Survey.
The survey revealed that 44.3 percent of local consumers made a purchase through their mobile phones in the three months preceding the survey, up from 42.9 percent in 2015 and 38.2 percent in 2014, when the survey was first launched. An additional 13.7 percent did not make any purchases but intend to do so in the first half of 2017.
Convenience (54.6 percent) continues to be the key driver for mobile shopping, followed by the growing prevalence of apps (41.8 percent) that make it easier to shop and the ability to shop on the go (25.7 percent).
Regarding their mobile shopping habits, almost half (49.6 percent) of local consumers said they had downloaded a shopping app on a mobile device in the last six months. Clothing/accessories (33.6 percent) remain the key category purchased through mobile phones, followed by cinema tickets (26.2 percent).
Purchase of airline tickets shot up to 21.0 percent in 2016, compared to 10.0 percent in 2015, while transactions on hotel accommodations (20.6 percent) and personal care/beauty-care products (19.6 percent) remained relatively stable.
In terms of tools, group buying (29.0 percent) is increasingly used in Hong Kong, followed by digital wallets (16.6 percent) and financial investment apps/ in-social network marketplace apps (15.2 percent each).
The majority of consumers in Hong Kong (88 percent) made at least one purchase online in the three months preceding the survey, representing a 3.8 percent increase from 84.2 percent in 2015. Eight in 10 local consumers revealed plans to shop online in the first half of 2017.
The survey also revealed consumers’ perception of online shopping, which has improved as compared to 2014 and 2015.
While 73.8 percent of local consumers perceive online shopping as convenient, 69.8 percent regard online shopping as a fun way to pass time and 68.6 percent tend to go to the same sites again.
Meanwhile, security of payment facility (79.8 percent), reputation of website or merchant/seller (77.8 percent) and price or value of items (76.6 percent) are found to be the top three considerations of consumers for online shopping.
Social media channels are also growing in importance as they offer a critical source of information about new products.
On the most common spending categories online, clothing/accessories (41.7 percent) continues to top the charts in terms of the relative share of online spending, closely followed by supermarkets (37.5 percent), airlines (36.7 percent), travel (36.2 percent) and hotels (36.0 percent).
Home appliances/electronic products (30.2 percent) and online gaming (29.3 percent) are also salient categories.
Room for improvement
When asked about the major improvement areas for online shopping, local consumers reveal that security of transactions (57.5 percent) continues to be most important, followed by free/minimal delivery charges (54.3 percent) and the elimination of additional service charges (43.2 percent).
Compared to 2015, fewer Hongkongers cited real-time transactions (23.6 percent) and guarantee by financial transaction companies (19.1 percent) as improvement areas in 2016.
"We are delighted to see that Hongkongers continue to embrace mobile and online payments,” says Hiang Choong, division president of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at MasterCard.
“Hongkongers are highly security-conscious and want their shopping experiences to be convenient and payment-secure. Mastercard recognizes this, and is committed to finding new and innovative ways to make payments safer, more convenient and more secure, be it in-store, in-app or online.”
Mobile and online shopping in Asia Pacific
In Asia Pacific, nine in 10 consumers made an online purchase in the three months preceding the survey, led by those in South Korea (96.7 percent), India (95.8 percent), Japan (95.0 percent), Vietnam (92.0 percent) and China (91.8 percent), while eight in 10 consumers across Asia Pacific who have shopped online last year intend to make at least one online purchase in the first half of 2017, led by those in emerging markets including China (97.3 percent), Vietnam (96.2 percent) and India (92.9 percent).
A majority of consumers in Asia Pacific (53.9 percent) feel secure when shopping online. This sentiment is felt especially in India (72.1 percent), Indonesia (66.4 percent), China (63.5 percent), Australia (62.2 percent) and New Zealand (59.8 percent).
On the other hand, consumers in Vietnam (34.0 percent), South Korea (34.6 percent), Japan (36.6 percent) and Hong Kong (37.4 percent) are more wary of online shopping security.