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Hong Kong: Social, Mobile, Photo, Commerce

May 31, 2012

Fourth in the Edelman Digital APAC series of market overviews on the current status of social media across the region, compliments of Hong Kong lead Sue Chan.

For brands in Hong Kong, 2012 marks a year of social media transformation with mobile at center stage with Facebook still as the leading platform for sharing and, often, public and political discourse. More than 50% of the population has a smartphone, and on average 1 person holds 2 mobile phones. However, despite this saturation, mobile shopping is still evolving. We previously did a survey which showed:

  • Despite the high penetration in the community, 35 percent, the direct impact of smartphones on shopping is still developing. Smartphones in Hong Kong are heavily used by a younger demographic (aged 21-29) for researching and on-the-go information gathering of products and services (e.g., places to eat out, finding phone numbers, and reading movie reviews). Comparing prices and sharing pictures of intended purchases (or of meals about to be devoured) is also common.
  • However, on the whole, these smartphone users do not make purchases on their devices, with only a small percentage saying they had done so. Those that do confined those purchases to what they consider low-risk items (cheap and easy to obtain products, generally priced under US$20). Fear of lack of payment security, and possible fraud, increases reluctance of making purchases by smartphones.
  • When probed further, most respondents stated that they preferred to go to a shop and try a product themselves, even if they were relatively sure about its reliability beforehand. In fact, most stated that they find storefronts to be more convenient and fun places to shop when compared to online buying.

Going forward, it will be increasingly important for brands to have solid identities across social media channels and to leverage the real-time intimacy of digital and mobile in areas of customer service, in-context ads, personalized content and community-sourced feedback. Further, niche sites like Pinterest and Instagram are part of Hong Kong’s exploding landscape of mixed media, and are platforms with high potential for innovative brand campaigns in the future.



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