Brick-and-mortar shopping looks set to remain the mainstream purchasing method among Hong Kong consumers, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
The behavioural survey, which was titled “Pandemic and People’s Consumption Behaviours”, was commissioned by Link Asset Management Limited (Link), the manager of Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Hong Kong stock code: 823). It was conducted through telephone interview with 1,005 Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 15 to 75 in June this year. The survey findings were unveiled by Professor Anthony Fung, Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK, at the “Post-COVID Retail Strategy and Innovation” Forum co-organised by Link and The China Chain Store & Franchise Association in Shanghai today (Tuesday).
The survey found that as many as 70.6% of Hong Kong citizens kept shopping at physical stores even under the tough pandemic situation, with 29.3% of respondents never shopped online.
In addition, more than three-fifths (63.7%) of the respondents have opted for traditional shopping more often than online shopping (i.e. the ratio of traditional shopping is 51% or above), while over one-fifth (22.6%) of the respondents have opted for online shopping more often than traditional shopping (i.e. the ratio of online shopping is 51% or above).
“In Hong Kong, brick-and-mortar is still preferred by most consumers as they attach more importance to the shopping experience, which is quite different from the consumption behaviour in Mainland China, where e-commerce dominates. It could be due to the relatively small size of the city, coupled with the well-established transportation infrastructure which allows people to easily access different districts within an hour,” Professor Anthony Fung said.
The survey also asked respondents to anticipate potential changes to the way they shop when the pandemic subsides. While 59% of respondents suggested they would not change their shopping habits, 38.3% suggested they would increase their visits to physical stores and only 2.2% anticipated fewer visits to physical stores. When the pandemic subsides, over half of the respondents who have visited physical stores less frequently during the pandemic indicated a desire to go back to traditional shopping.
When asked about the products they preferred purchasing at physical stores rather than through the internet, over half of the respondents selected “food or beverages” (57.5%) and “clothing or shoes” (53.2%).
When the pandemic subsides, over half of the respondents (55.9%) said their overall consumption would increase. Close to three-fifths of the respondents said they would increase their expenditure on food and catering services (59.9%) and leisure and entertainment services (58.4%).
Contactless payment is seen as an effective way for helping businesses to overcome the ill-effects of the pandemic. However, the survey found that shoppers’ views on this is not universal. While more than two-fifths (46.4%) of the respondents tended to agree that (i.e. giving a score of 4 or 5) “more stores have adopted electronic order and payment after the pandemic, which have made them felt more at ease to consume at physical stores”, there is one-fifth (20.6%) of the respondents expressing disagreement (i.e. giving a score of 1 or 2) with this statement. Around three in ten (31.4%) respondents gave a neutral score of 3. Overall, the mean score of this question is 3.38.
Over one-third (36%) of the respondents suggested that their attitude of consumption had no change after the pandemic. Among those who said their attitude had changed, they have paid more attention to “pricing” (28%), which is followed by “hygiene” (25.6%), “convenience of consumption” (23.8%), “product or service quality” (23.7%) and “shopping experience” (17.3%). Fewer respondents said they have paid more attention to “brand” (7.2%).
The survey also asked shoppers what they would like Hong Kong shopping malls to offer. More respondents would like to see more product choices of “groceries” (43.3%) and “food or beverages” (39.6%). Regarding service and experience offerings, more respondents chose “indoor sports venues, such as those for ice skating, skiing or climbing” (41.6%) and “leisure activities, such as handcraft workshop, or baking centres for parents and children” (34.4%), which were followed by “amusement parks” (25.1%), “cafes or new-style tea drink stores” (20.8%) and “restaurants or bars” (20.1%).
Over half (56.7%) of the respondents indicated they would consider brands' support for environmental protection and corporate social responsibilities when they shop. On the mix of merchant and brand, more (73.2%) respondents would like to see more “local brands”, which is followed by “Asian brands” (30%) and “western brands” (26.4%).
The survey also found that although it has been difficult for people to travel outside amidst the pandemic, 67.9% of the respondents said they had not increased their consumption in Hong Kong, with only three in ten (31.4%) respondents having increased their local consumption. Among the latter group of respondents, more people indicated they had bought more “food or beverages” (53.3%) and “groceries” (37.6%).
The survey findings are in line with Link’s efforts to create vibrant and flourishing places for nearby residents by offering a wide range of products and services. Link is committed to creating greater social value by delivering a lasting and positive impact in the communities it serves through undertaking regular asset enhancement, placemaking and well-being initiatives to optimise customer experience.
For the full report of the survey results, please click here.
High-resolution pictures can be downloaded here.
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Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT; Hong Kong stock code: 823) is the largest REIT in Asia. It is managed by Link Asset Management Limited, a leading real estate investor and asset manager in the world. Since its listing in 2005 as the first REIT in Hong Kong, Link REIT has been 100% held by public and institutional investors. It is a constituent of the Hong Kong securities market benchmark Hang Seng Index, as well as a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index, the FTSE4Good Index Series and the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index. From its home in Hong Kong, Link Asset Management Limited owns and manages a diversified portfolio including retail facilities, car parks, offices and logistics assets spanning from China’s Beijing, Greater Bay Area (Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), and Yangtze River Delta centred around Shanghai, to the UK’s London and Australia’s Sydney and Melbourne. Link Asset Management Limited seeks to extend its portfolio growth trajectory and grasp expansion opportunities in different markets in pursuit of sustainable growth.
For details, please visit https://www.linkreit.com.