Press Room



Hong Kong – May 15, 2018 – Over the past two decades the growth of ecommerce has been the result of significant advances and transformation in the commercial use of the internet. In Hong Kong, ecommerce has become an indispensable part of consumers’ daily lives and it has become a significant platform for the retail market. So what comes next for ecommerce in Hong Kong?  The Hong Kong Retail Management Association invited Michael Lee, Managing Director, Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau, to moderate a panel discussion at its 2018 Hong Kong Retail Summit and to talk about the importance of “consumer experience”. 

According to Nielsen’s Hong Kong Ecommerce Study 2017, consumers now shop online consistently across different screens. Almost half the respondents (48%, or 8% less than a year ago) said they use home computers to shop online. This drop is reflected in the shift to using mobile phones (25%, or 8% more than a year ago) and tablets (11%, or 2% more than a year ago) for online shopping.  Thirteen percent of respondents said they used office computers to shop online.

Unlike traditional offline shopping, consumers usually spend impulsively online. They are usually triggered to buy online for conditional free shipping/return policy, promotions and discounts as well as easy checkout methods. Among all impulsive purchase categories, the top products are all food-related, the frequently purchased categories being snacks, breakfast cereals, bottled water, instant noodles/pasta/udon as well as ready-to-drink beverages.

Easy and secure purchase is the key to the significant advance of ecommerce in Hong Kong with the availability of eWallet. The survey revealed that almost half of Hong Kong consumers (46%) now use an eWallet and the eWallet accounts in use rose 15.4% in the last quarter of 2017

Compared with a year earlier. The value of eWallet transactions in the last quarter of 2017 rose 27.7% from a year ago, a significant indication of the growth of the ecommerce market.

Despite the advance in online shopping, consumers are still hesitant about shopping online, nursing concerns about delivery logistics for perishable items, their desire to inspect goods before they buy and their need for convenience and the wish to follow habits. It is therefore important for online retailers to remove the barriers to make online shopping more welcoming and promising for shoppers by providing click and collect, return policies, showroom and cash on delivery as well as unique product range, and purchase incentives.

In contrast with just a few years ago, ecommerce is no longer the preserve of the young. The survey revealed that ecommerce is now relevant in all walks of life and to all sections of society. About 80% of males and females have tried online shopping in the past 12 months. Consumers of all age groups have shopped online in the past 12 months too, with those aged 22-29 and 30-39 the most frequent shoppers. The silver-aged group (50-64) also show moderate use of online shopping, 67% of them saying they had shopped online in the past 12 months.

Because no physical product is in hand in the virtual world, there is nothing more important than creating a better customer experience to win over potential customers. It is therefore crucial for marketers to offer an unmatched online shopping experience by creating a sense of value for money, providing a flexible shopping platform and delivery options, informing customers fully about return policies and making information freely available to customers and giving them the chance to talk about their personal experience.  

“Consumer experience is essential,” Mr Lee said. “With online shopping become more popular, it is important for industry players to identify the key ways to win in the ecommerce market in Hong Kong. To stand out in this highly competitive market it is important to provide unique cross-screen experience as well as unique product range for consumers. The beauty of ecommerce is convenience, so easy checkout method via eWallet and flexible pick up and return policies are also key to winning.”

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global measurement and data analytics company that provides the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Our approach marries proprietary Nielsen data with other data sources to help clients around the world understand what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and how to best act on this knowledge. For more than 90 years Nielsen has provided data and analytics based on scientific rigor and innovation, continually developing new ways to answer the most important questions facing the media, advertising, retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries. An S&P 500 company, Nielsen has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

Cheryl Wen,, +886 2 2171 5590, +852 5394 0227 (mobile)