14 September 2010
The Internet has transformed many aspects of life, but perhaps none more so than how we shop for goods and services. While it’s still nice to stop by a store to touch and see products, the convenience of online shopping can’t be beat. According to Nielsen’s global online survey, Hong Kong consumers are more likely to purchase air tickets, make tour/hotel reservations and buy clothing/ accessories/ shoes online. Yet, word-of-mouth from friends and family is still the key to consumers’ shopping decision.
The Nielsen Company conducted a survey in March 2010 and polled over 27,000 Internet users in 55 markets globally to look at how consumers shop online, the impact of social media and the other factors that come into play when they are trying to decide how to spend their money.
Vacations are High Priority for Planned Online Purchases
Hong Kong online consumers say that purchasing airline tickets and booking tours / hotel reservation are the most engaging online purchase products and services. A respective of 35 percent and 29 percent of consumers said they planned to do this online in the next months. Other online engaging products and services include Clothing / Accessories / Shoes (25%), books (25%) and event tickets (20%).
Globally speaking, books (44%) and clothing / accessories / shoes (36%) are on top of the list for planned online purchases in the next six months. However, it is also worth-noting that the strong intent to purchase airline tickets (32%) and to book tours / hotel reservation (26%) show signs that the economy is improving.
On a FMCG perspective, 12 percent of Hong Kong consumers say they will purchase groceries online, compared to 18 percent globally.
“The Internet is no longer a niche technology—it is mass media and an integral part of modern life. Almost no aspect of life remains untouched by online media. As our lives become more fragmented and cluttered, it isn’t surprising that consumers turn to the unrivalled convenience of the Internet when it comes to researching and buying products,” said Mr Oliver Rust, Managing Director, The Nielsen Company Hong Kong.
Online-only Shops Have Greatest Global Site Appeal
In Hong Kong, as many as half of the online consumers said they prefer sites that allow them to select products from many different online stores, as a result, giving them more choices for selection at a time when they make any purchase online. Yet, the case is different from a global perspective. One-third of global online consumers (34%) say they primarily do their Internet shopping at retailers that have only an online presence (such as Amazon.com), followed by an equal 20 percent of respondents who prefer sites that also have traditional “brick and mortar” stores and those that allow you to select products from many different online stores.
One of the great benefits of online shopping is the ability to read others’ reviews of a product, be they experts or simply fellow shoppers. The survey result reveals that a respective of 73 percent and 52 percent of Hong Kong consumers said they trust their friends and family most when they make any purchase decision. With the ever-emerging trends of the Internet, almost half (47%) of Hong Kong consumers claimed that they trust the online product reviews when making their purchase decision. Globally speaking, shoppers still trust the recommendations of friends (59%) and family (52%) most.
“Recommendations from fellow consumers play an enormous role in the decision-making process. The explosion in Consumer Generated Media such as forums over the last year means that this reliance on word of mouth, over other forms of referral, looks only set to increase,” said Mr. Rust.
These opinions are most important when it comes to purchasing consumer electronics: 57 percent of global online respondents consider reviews prior to buying. Reviews on cars (45%) and software (37%) rounded out the top three most important online influences when making a purchase. In Hong Kong, buying consumer electronics (52%), personal care products (34%) and telecommunications services / cosmetics (33%) topped the list for heavy reliance on online reviews and opinions. The figures also indicate that Hong Kong consumers are concerned about the quality of the personal products thus relying very much on the first person experience of the users who posted their opinions online.
As many as 39 percent of Hong Kong online consumers also said they will not buy a consumer electronic products without consulting online reviews. Online reviews of car (27%), medication (23%) and software (22%) are also vital for purchasing.
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related assets. The privately held company is active in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.
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