“Our goal is to accelerate the digital transformation in Hong Kong!” said Leonie Valentine, Managing Director of Sales & Operations of Google Hong Kong.
When compared to other digital cities around the world, Hong Kong is still in the early stages of digital transformation. With 81% of its population connected to the internet, Hong Kong should rank amongst the highest in digital integration. However, a 2016 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Hong Kong fourth among eleven Asian markets in digital transformation and third among regional peers in smart city attributes.
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On 12 September 2017, at the newly opened Kerry Hotel, Leonie Valentine spokesperson for the presentation of the joint study “Smarter Digital City” conducted by Google and Nielsen provided insights into the phenomenon of digital transformation in Hong Kong.
The aim of the study was to identify the most pressing questions and answers surrounding Hong Kong’s digital transformation.
Together, Nielsen and Google have conducted primary research into Hong Kong’s digital usage with deep dive analysis into four key sectors (retail, travel, finance and lifestyle) which collectively contribute approximately half of Hong Kong’s GDP.
The study points and offers both strategic and tactical recommendations for transforming Hong Kong into a “smarter digital city.”
From a resident consumer perspective, digital transformation has largely focused on lower levels of digital savviness such as communication, free entertainment, and information searches. Higher levels include digital activities such as online collaboration, mobile banking, e-business, even VR and AR immersive experience. In Hong Kong, a huge gap was found between “perceived” and “actual” digital savviness. Consumers perceived themselves to be much more savvy than they actually are.
From a corporate point of view, most companies realize that satisfying the consumer during their “time of need” is the key to success. However, the research found that with respect to their digital experience, only 20% of Hong Kong consumers are currently “highly satisfied.”
The data indicates that currently just 20% of all consumers are “highly satisfied” with their digital experience.
Whereas, highly engaged consumers (18%) are three times more likely to be “highly satisfied” with digital transformation than those who are less engaged. Companies that best understand local behaviors and intent, particularly for products and services provided locally can win consumer hearts with relevant personalization and incentives.
For companies and brands eager to improve trust with their users, education on security features can help ease fears and allow key demographic groups to quickly recognize the great conveniences of digital integration. Companies should also remove obstacles from the digitization process to improve utilization.
For example, digital verifications are sometimes more secured than creating and storing physical paper copies of personal information. Eliminating wasteful activities streamlines the process and helps consumers increase usage and trust.
Against this background, smart retail focuses on personalization and customization.
Today, mobile shopping in Hong Kong is still in its early stages. Using grocery shopping as an example, unlike other smart cities, Hong Kong exhibits low adoption rates and digital integration in the purchase journey, stemming from policies that prohibit global sites like Amazon from delivering grocery goods into Hong Kong. However, some Chinese e-tailers like Taobao have done extremely well, with pick-up from convenience stores indicating strong potential for growth.
In this digital age in which buyers have so many choices and have become fickle, retailers who deliver great mobile experiences build trust, stickiness, and ultimately their bottom line.
Meanwhile, mobile shoppers expect the digital store to be more than just a sales outlet, they want personalized experiences and customized shopping capabilities. As consumer individualization grows, retailers must crunch the numbers to provide their marketers with the most relevant information from which to devise loyalty strategies.
The end message behind Google and Nielsen is that Hong Kong represents a fertile terrain in the area of digitization, it is still at its infancy stage, but with a great potential for future development.
As for retail, is it all about mobile payment and easing transactions?
Results and recommendations coming soon directly from the whitepaper presented by Google and Nielsen and the Q&A.