“KOL” and Live Commerce, the New Commercial Trend in Hong Kong
The COVID-19 situation in the world has changed people’s consumer behavior. Internet and online shopping are becoming part of our daily life, and e-commerce is developing as an important part of business.
VS MEDIA in Hong Kong has conducted a survey on Hong Kong citizens’ consumer behavior under the COVID-19 situation. 75% of the interviewees answered that they would believe in services and products which are recommended by “KOL”.
They see “KOL” to be powerful influencers even in the post-COVID-19 era, bringing “social commerce” and “live commerce” as a new trend of commercial trend to the market.
What is “KOL”? What is “Social Commerce” and “Live Commerce”?
“KOL” is an abbreviation which is commonly used in Hong Kong meaning “Key Opinion Leader”. It is also be called as “網紅(Wanghong)” in Chinese and “インフルエンサー(Influencers)” in Japanese.
Specialists of particular fields such as athletes, entertainers and fashion models would be good examples of KOL, but there are more of YouTubers, bloggers and ordinary people who have significant influence becoming KOL nowadays.
“Social commerce” is a mix of social media and e-commerce. It means the influencing technique of sending consumers from social media posts to product’s online shopping page through just clicking on the posts.
“Live commerce” is one kind of social commerce where KOL would introduce products by showing on hands or even demonstrations, which is believed as a more trustable sales method compared to the others. On 20 October 2021, the Chinese Online Mall Taobao’s top KOL made as much as 10.65 billion RMB (about 1.65 billion USD) sales in only a single day. This shows how powerful has live commerce grown nowadays.
Rapid Growth of Hong Kong’s Usage Rate of Smartphones and Internet
Both social commerce and live commerce requires consumers to use internet services. So how is the usage rate of IT related products in Hong Kong nowadays?
Referring to the “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2021 Edition)” published by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), among Hong Kong citizens who aged 10 or above, 79.8% answered that they have used computer in the past 12 months, while 92.1% answered that they have smartphones. It shows that smartphones would probably become Hong Kong citizens’ mainstream in the future due to the more affordable price and simplicity of use.
There is also a rapid growth in the internet’s usage rate. With the same interviewee groups, 92.4% answered that they have used the internet in the past 12 months, which shows a significant growth compared with the year 2001 (43.3%).
Among Hong Kong citizens’ aged 15 or above, the percentage of having online shopping for personal use has grown 8 times, from 5.6% to 43.1%, in the past 20 years (2001-2020).
Also according to the data of NielsenIQ, comparing 2019 to 2020 when the COVID-19 broke out in Hong Kong, the online consumption amount per family increased by 46%. Consumers’ online shopping frequency increased by 75% while the amount spent increased by 52%, which is 2.5 times compared to the amount spent at physical stores in the same period.
Online Shopping and KOL Trend in Hong Kong Market
VS MEDIA conducted an online survey in July 2021, on “consumers’ online shopping habit and KOL’s influences”, to Hong Kong interviewees aging 18-45. It showed that Hong Kong citizens are on average spending about 2,673 HKD (about 340 USD) every month on online shopping, and they are becoming more concerned about the comment of the product and online shop compared to the past.
Above 90% of the interviewees showed interest in products and services that KOL recommended, with “restaurant and gourmet” being the most popular topic. “Cosmetics and beauty” is the top category for women, while “electronics product” is the top category for men.
Above 80% of the interviewees said they have experience of watching a live commerce stream, and pointed out the attraction points of it as bellows:
・Discounts and campaigns only available during streams
・Knowing more about the products through demonstrations
・Quantity limited items only available during streams
・Sales point of the products being accurately mentioned
・Useful information about the items
78% of the interviewees said they would not mind the streams having indirect advertising as long as the content is funny. 73% even said they would trust the recommendations and experience sharing of KOL even if they know there is advertising or commercial collaboration in the content. Also, 77% of the interviewees show they would more believe in the recommendation of KOL rather than that of idols and entertainers, and they feel more willing to purchase the recommendations of KOL as they think those would become a key item of the trend or fashion.
On the other hand, 65% of the interviewees showed an aspiration of becoming a KOL by using their own hobbies and skills, mainly because of the highly flexible working style with high income. However, about 70% do not know about the requirements and equipment of being a KOL, and 75% said they hope there would be companies providing one-stop supporting service from shooting to production.
As the usage rate of IT related items increases nowadays, the efficiency of advertising on paper media and TV has been reducing. It is obvious that the internet would become the main stream of advertising in the future. KOL show their influencing power on affecting the young adult segment’s purchase intention by using social commerce and live commerce skills. It would surely be an advantage if companies take up these strategies to their marketing plans.
MAY Planning provides support on your expansion and promotions to the Hong Kong market. Support for advertising on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, live commerce strategies by KOL are available. Feel free to contact us anytime.