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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Tony Chua, Hong Kong
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Hong Kong people spend US$1.9bnn on online shopping in 2011

PayPal study said figure expected to grow to US$2.5bn by 2015.

With the holiday shopping season in full force, PayPal on Wednesday unveils results from its first ever ”Online and Mobile Shopping Insights Study” for the Greater China region, revealing some interesting trends about the increasing popularity of online shopping in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan. According to PayPal’s research, the size of the Hong Kong online shopping market has reached USD $1.9 billion in 2011 and is forecasted to reach USD $2.5 billion by 2015, underscoring the status of tech-savvy Hong Kong as the shopper’s paradise of Asia both online and offline. The survey results also showed that there are nearly 2 million online shoppers in Hong Kong within the past year (above the age of 18 years old) with an average spend per head of USD $991.

As a global leader in online payments powering e-commerce, PayPal set out to gather intelligence about the attitudes and behaviors of consumers across the Greater China region when buying products and services online and on mobile devices to help merchants better understand and meet the needs of target customers. The PayPal study revealed that shoppers across the region find convenience the most important incentive for shopping online, followed by variety of choice and bargain deals. As online shopping becomes increasingly prevalent in the local domestic markets as well as cross border trading, consumers are still looking for a simpler check-out process, more transactional security, and multiple incentives such as discounts or loyalty points to sustain their online shopping behavior.

“Hong Kong netizens are no doubt embracing the benefits of shopping online and via mobile like never before, and in turn, creating enormous opportunities in e-commerce for local businesses,” said Kerry Wong, General Manager of PayPal Hong Kong and Taiwan. “In order to capture these growing e-commerce opportunities, it will be important for merchants to understand the unique needs of target customers and offer goods and services to match those needs. With the insight gathered from this consumer study, PayPal hopes to help sellers more effectively set-up their businesses to meet consumer demand.”

Additionally, the PayPal study revealed the most sought-after items by online shoppers from Hong Kong, Mainland and Taiwan as well as the key drivers that motivate shoppers to buy online. With apparel taking the top spot across the region, the PayPal study revealed notable differences in the top-ten items for online shoppers from Hong Kong, Mainland and Taiwan, reflecting the unique consumer needs for each market. Top items shared across the region include financial products and services such as insurance, books, computer hardware and personal electronics, according to a Paypal report.

Specifically for Hong Kong, some additional key findings for online shopping include:

  • Hong Kong online shoppers spend nearly three times as much on clothing compared to travel packages. The top five online shopping categories are “apparel” which accounts for 14% of online spend, “Financial products/ services/ insurances” which accounts for 8% of online spend, “Airline tickets” which accounts for 7% of online spend, “Computer hardware (PC/ laptop)” which accounts for 5% of online spend, and “Travel packages” which accounts for 5% of online spend.
  • Enhancing security can boost online spending. 51% of online shoppers say that they would increase or use more of online transactions if it is safer to transact online than the current credit card and bank cards.
  • Hong Kong consumers like to shop on both domestic and overseas websites. Shopping from domestic websites accounts for 56% of online spend while shopping from overseas websites accounts for 44% of online spend. Apparel is the leading category for both domestic and cross border online shopping in Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong consumers shop on overseas websites for greater variety, not lower prices. Despite the growing popularity of “online deals,” “lower prices” (22%) is not the primary reason for Hong Kong online shoppers to buy from overseas websites. Instead “more variety” (31%), which is just as important as “greater convenience” (34%), is a stronger motivation for shopping on overseas websites.

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