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Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 18:46
Survey: More HK shoppers embracing mobile payment
By Luo Weiteng in Hong Kong
Wednesday, December 05, 2018, 18:46 By Luo Weiteng in Hong Kong

A customer is about to make payment via Alipay. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

The unremitting efforts of WeChat Pay and Alipay -- the two dominant cashless payment operators on the Chinese mainland -- to beef up their presence in Hong Kong appear to have paid off. 

A material portion of Hong Kong shoppers are found to view the twin-pillar mobile payment services as adding a splash of color to their in-store shopping experiences. 

According to the study, Hong Kong consumers are among the world’s most avid online grocery shoppers with one in five of them ordering online

This is one of the major findings of a study conducted by global research and advisory firm 451 Research and commissioned by Dutch payments company Adyen.

The survey was carried out among 250 Hong Kong consumers in the second quarter of this year as part of a larger study within the Asia Pacific, the US, the UK and the European Union to get a deeper understanding of shoppers in terms of an ideal shopping experience.

The Asia-Pacific regions surveyed include Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Nearly one-third of Hong Kong shoppers interviewed specifically noted WeChat Pay and Alipay as having enhanced their in-store experience. This highlights the broader findings that the city’s consumers are “faster adopters of new technologies” compared with their global counterparts.

According to the study, Hong Kong consumers are among the world’s most avid online grocery shoppers with one in five of them ordering online, while more than 80 percent of local consumers surveyed said they would increase the use of cashless payment options if they receive better rewards.

READ MORE: HSBC payment app PayMe tops 1m users

Such findings fit in with a cash-burning turf war between WeChat Pay and Alipay, with the two deep-pocketed operators bankrolling big efforts to take their wildly successful mobile payment system to Hong Kong by offering generous coupons for McDonald’s, Maxim’s Cakes, 759 Store, convenience store chain 7-Eleven and supermarkets like ParknShop.

As the survey found, shoppers frustrated by long queues had cost Hong Kong retailers a whopping US$2.35 billion in the past 12 months

“But this is not just Chinese mainland digital wallets. In Singapore, where Adyen's Asia-Pacific headquarters is located, there are 20 different wallets trying to become the next big wallet. We see this as a big trend across the Asia Pacific,” said Warren Hayashi, Adyen's Asia-Pacific president. “Going cashless is not just a Chinese mainland story.”

The study, Hayashi pointed out, dispels the conventional wisdom that in a populous city like Hong Kong where brick-and-mortar stores could be found on almost every corner and are within walking distance, the success of retailers relies on location and inventory. 

“Instead, new technologies are offering new engagement channels or touch points to excite and retain digital-savvy shoppers from Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and abroad,”  he said. 

The cost opportunity for retailers who move slowly to marry technology with offline business could be really huge. As the survey found, shoppers frustrated by long queues had cost Hong Kong retailers a whopping US$2.35 billion in the past 12 months. 

ALSO READ: New payment system keeps HK in forefront

Some 57 percent of Hong Kong shoppers agreed that waiting for five to 10 minutes is acceptable in completing a purchase. Waiting longer than 10 minutes is, essentially, the tipping point for shoppers to decide whether to leave the store without making any purchase or going to another store.

sophia@chinadailyhk.com

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