Press Room



Survey Found More Hong Kong Consumers Intend to Purchase Groceries Online than Three Years Ago
Hong Kong Consumers Say Online Shopping for Consumable Products Is Convenient

HONG KONG – August 28, 2014 – Four out of five Hong Kong consumers said they will use the Internet to research non-consumable products, or even make the transactions online, in the next six months, according to a new study conducted online by Nielsen. For online shopping and purchasing (see note 1), China exceeds the global average in all categories, while online purchase intentions around the world have doubled in 14 of 22 categories over the past three years.

“The lightning-fast pace of change in digital has ushered in a consumer mind-set that is adventurous and exploratory, especially on e-commerce,” said Eva Leung, Managing Director of Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau. “Hong Kong consumers want a good product at a good price, and the seemingly limitless options available in a virtual environment provide new opportunities for both merchants and consumers. The market for fast-moving consumer goods is no exception.”

The Nielsen Global Survey of e-commerce polled more than 30,000 Internet respondents (see note 2) in 60 countries to examine the online shopping and purchasing intentions of consumers worldwide. The study provides clarity about global consumers’ buying intentions for both consumable and non-consumable categories in the growing e-commerce landscape. Sample size for Hong Kong is 501.

Categories with Room to Grow

In Hong Kong, the key three items that consumers will shop and purchase online for the next six months are airline tickets reservations (32% shop online vs. 57% purchase online), hotel reservations (32% vs. 56%) and event tickets (30% vs. 53%). The higher percentages of online buying versus browsing in Hong Kong suggest that more respondents are going online to make the actual transaction rather than using the Internet for research purposes only.

The online market for buying groceries—while not as strong as non-consumable categories—is starting to show promise. Since 2011, there is a 7-percentage-point growth in terms of Hong Kong consumers purchasing food and beverages online, from 18 percent to 25 percent.

“While these categories are still in the early stages of online adoption in Hong Kong, the increase in online browse-to-buy conversion rates for fast-moving consumer goods is good news,” said Leung. “For retailers, now is the time to create omni-channel experiences for consumers who are actively using both digital and physical platforms to research and purchase, as consumers increasingly don’t make a distinction between the two.”

Catching-up Purchase Intent for Consumable Goods

Apart from groceries, the online purchase intent for other consumable products are also gaining traction quickly. One-fifth of Hong Kong consumers (21%) said they will purchase personal care products (deodorant, shampoo, lotions, etc.) or baby supplies in the next six months. In fact, since 2011, the online purchase intentions for baby supplies jumped 17 percentage points to 21 percent. Online purchase intention for cosmetics also increased 9 percentage points to 23 percent. 

Items with the lowest e-commerce shop/purchase intention percentages among Hong Kong respondents include: flowers (77% will not shop or purchase online), car/ motorcycle and accessory (75%) and alcoholic drinks (74%).

The Tipping Point for Hong Kong Online Shoppers

Knowing what drives the behaviour of Hong Kong consumers is vital to increased engagement, and of course not all shoppers want the same things. According to the survey, Hong Kong consumers tend to be researchers when engaging in e-commerce. Three-out-of-five respondents will check out products in the store before purchasing them online (61%), or they will often look at products online before purchasing them in the store (60%). Fifty-eight percent of the respondents will read online reviews prior to purchasing a product, and nearly half (49%) will spend considerable time researching products online prior to buying. Nevertheless, most of the Hong Kong respondents (63%) will think of convenience when talking about shopping or purchasing online for consumable products like personal care, health and beauty, food and beverage, pet food and baby supplies.

“Regardless of shopper clarification, when it comes to shopping online for consumable products, the experience must be convenient, cost-effective and safe. Companies that address these critical components will be best-positioned for online success.” Leung concluded.

About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of E-commerce was conducted between Feb. 17 and March 7, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6 percent. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen
Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

Note 1:
“Online shopping’ refers to seeking any type of information about products, stores or deals/coupons using a computer, tablet or mobile phone. “Online purchase” means consumers actually pay for an item through a website or mobile application, in which a transaction is made online.
Note 2:
While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration is still growing, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population. In addition, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.