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Hongkongers are Shopping on Smartphones More than Ever: Mastercard Survey

April 26, 2017 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Mobile shopping continues to rise in popularity among consumers in Hong Kong and has now become a vital part of local consumers’ online purchasing habits, with more than four in 10 having made purchases via their mobile device in the last three months. Meanwhile, well over three quarters (79.8 percent) regarded security of payment facility as a key consideration when shopping online, according to the latest Mastercard Online Shopping Survey.

Mobile Shopping

The survey revealed that 44.3 percent of local consumers made a purchase through their mobile phones in the three months preceding the survey, up from 42.9 percent in 2015 and 38.2 percent in 2014, when the survey was first launched. An additional 13.7 percent did not make any purchases but intend to do so in the first half of 2017.

Convenience (54.6 percent) continues to be the key driver for mobile shopping, followed by the growing prevalence of apps (41.8 percent) that make it easier to shop and the ability to shop on the go (25.7 percent).

Regarding their mobile shopping habits, almost half (49.6 percent) of local consumers said they had downloaded a shopping app on a mobile device in the last six months. Clothing/accessories (33.6 percent) remain the key category purchased through mobile phones, followed by cinema tickets (26.2 percent). Purchase of airline tickets shot up to 21.0 percent in 2016, compared to 10.0 percent in 2015, while transactions on hotel accommodations (20.6 percent) and personal care/beauty-care products (19.6 percent) remained relatively stable.

In terms of tools, group buying (29.0 percent) is increasingly used in Hong Kong, followed by digital wallets (16.6 percent) and financial investment apps/ in-social network marketplace apps (15.2 percent each).

Online Shopping

The majority of consumers in Hong Kong (88 percent) made at least one purchase online in the three months preceding the survey, representing a 3.8 percent increase from 84.2 percent in 2015. Eight in 10 local consumers revealed plans to shop online in the first half of 2017.

The survey also revealed consumers’ perception of online shopping, which has improved as compared to 2014 and 2015. While 73.8 percent of local consumers perceive online shopping as convenient, 69.8 percent regard online shopping as a fun way to pass time and 68.6 percent tend to go to the same sites again.  Meanwhile, security of payment facility (79.8 percent), reputation of website or merchant/seller (77.8 percent) and price or value of items (76.6 percent) are found to be the top three considerations  of consumers for online shopping.  Social media channels are also growing in importance as they offer a critical source of information about new products.

On the most common spending categories online, clothing/accessories (41.7 percent) continues to top the charts in terms of the relative share of online spending, closely followed by supermarkets (37.5 percent), airlines (36.7 percent), travel (36.2 percent) and hotels (36.0 percent).  Home appliances/electronic products (30.2 percent) and online gaming (29.3 percent) are also salient categories.

When asked about the major improvement areas for online shopping, local consumers reveal that security of transactions (57.5 percent) continues to be most important, followed by free/minimal delivery charges (54.3 percent) and the elimination of additional service charges (43.2 percent). Compared to 2015, fewer Hongkongers cited real-time transactions (23.6 percent) and guarantee by financial transaction companies (19.1 percent) as improvement areas in 2016.

Hiang Choong, division president of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at Mastercard, said, “We are delighted to see that Hongkongers continue to embrace mobile and online payments. Hongkongers are highly security-conscious and want their shopping experiences to be convenient and payment-secure. Mastercard recognizes this, and is committed to finding new and innovative ways to make payments safer, more convenient and more secure, be it in-store, in-app or online.”

Mobile and Online Shopping in Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, nine in 10 consumers made an online purchase in the three months preceding the survey, led by those in South Korea (96.7 percent), India (95.8 percent), Japan (95.0 percent), Vietnam (92.0 percent) and China (91.8 percent), while eight in 10 consumers across Asia Pacific who have shopped online last year intend to make at least one online purchase in the first half of 2017, led by those in emerging markets including China (97.3 percent), Vietnam (96.2 percent) and India (92.9 percent).

A majority of consumers in Asia Pacific (53.9 percent) feel secure when shopping online. This sentiment is felt especially in India (72.1 percent), Indonesia (66.4 percent), China (63.5 percent), Australia (62.2 percent) and New Zealand (59.8 percent). On the other hand, consumers in Vietnam (34.0 percent), South Korea (34.6 percent), Japan (36.6 percent) and Hong Kong (37.4 percent) are more wary of online shopping security.

Percentage of respondents who have made at least one online purchase in the past three months in Asia Pacific
Market Percentage
1 South Korea 96.7
2 India 95.8
3 Japan 95
4 Vietnam 92
5 China 91.8
6 Singapore 91.7
7 Australia 89.7
8 Taiwan 89.5
9 Malaysia 89.4
10 Hong Kong 88
11 New Zealand 87.1
12 Thailand 86.9
13 Philippines 86.2
14 Indonesia 76.7
Percentage of respondents who have made at least one mobile purchase in the past three months in Asia Pacific
Market Percentage
1 India 75.8
2 China 71.4
3 Thailand 64.9
4 South Korea 60.9
5 Indonesia 58.5
6 Vietnam 56.4
7 Malaysia 55.6
8 Philippines 53.5
9 Taiwan 51.2
10 Singapore 46.4
11 Hong Kong 44.3
12 Japan 30.8
13 Australia 26.1
14 New Zealand 26


The Mastercard Online Shopping Survey was carried out across fourteen markets in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam). A total of 8,738 consumers were polled online in November 2016 on questions relating to the online shopping landscape, experience with e-commerce and m-commerce, reasons for shopping online versus brick and mortar stores, safety and security payment concerns, as well as views on ethical shopping, among others.

Mastercard and its Suite of Research Properties

The Mastercard Index suite in Asia Pacific includes the long-running Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the Mastercard Index of Women’s Advancement, Mastercard Index of Financial Literacy, and the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the indices, Mastercard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Online Shopping, Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

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