Over the course of 2020, strong growth was registered in e-commerce in Hong Kong, with huge gains seen in both the remote and proximity environments. The main factor behind this strong performance was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which discouraged consumers from shopping in stores due to fears of contagion.
One of the major trends in Hong Kong’s digital consumer market during 2020 was the proliferation of new digital methods. The emergence of numerous new digital payment technologies presents numerous opportunities and challenges to incumbent players.
While digital payments and e-commerce took off during 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, not all major players in the digital consumer market benefited from this. Notable among those that struggled during the year were digital wallets and payment apps of Chinese origin, which in Hong Kong cater mainly to visitors from mainland China.
Big changes were seen in the social messaging apps scene during 2020 and this was largely due to the alterations made to the terms and conditions of some of the leading players in the social messaging space. In particular, widespread and serious privacy concerns emerged among the general public in Hong Kong due to the announcement by the leading social messaging app WhatsApp that it was to make crucial changes to its terms and conditions, raising major concerns about privacy and the use of app users’ data and media.
Public transport, consumer foodservice and online travel agents are among the industries that are poised to benefit the most from the growth being seen in Hong Kong’s digital consumer market. The main reason is that these industries have generally been drivers of innovation in recent years, resulting in them reaping the benefits of the digital transformation of Hong Kong society more than other industries.
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