“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.
5 Advantages of Digital Transformation
Businesses have been aided by technologies that helped them deliver better, faster, and cheaper products and services. Digital transformation refers to the leveraging of modern, cloud-based technologies to transform a company’s work and IT environments for the betterment of that business. Numerous technological advancements have played crucial roles in transforming businesses over time. COVID-19 Moves the IT Industry into A New Era. Here are 5 advantages and benefits of digital business transformation:
1. Optimizing data for analysis to make better decision
The benefit of collecting data is optimizing it for analysis to drive the business forward. The technology available to handle the big data for analysis in real time.The different functional units within an organization can translate raw data into insights. You can have a better understanding on your customer and their needs and create a business strategy that is even more customer-centric. Data is knowledge, and knowledge leads to better decisions.
Companies in the top third of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.
2. Improved productivity and efficiency
Dealing with physical documents slows down your team, since your employee has to physically access the records storage. If it has been misfiled or lost by human error, you can imagine how much it takes to look for a record.
You could cut down the record retrieval process time by having digital solutions for your company. Everything is stored in an easy-to-find place. Accessing each file is instantaneous. You can free up your employees to do more important things.
Having the right tech. tools that work together can streamline workflow and improve productivity. By automating many manual tasks and integrating data throughout the organization, it empowers team members to work more efficiently.
3. Better Operating Model
A lot of companies with new lines of business open up through the integration of digital strategy. Take brick and mortar businesses, for example. Adding a reliable ERP system that tracks inventory and sales opens the door to better and more reliable eCommerce channels, aiding in the growth and optimization of your company’s reach. Learn more ERP trends for 2021
4. Increased profits
Gartner reports that more than 66% of companies say they are competing mostly on customer experience. Accenture reports that even a single point increase in customer experience (CX) scores can results in millions of dollars in annual growth. Companies that undergo digital transformation improve efficiency and profitability. Consider these results reported by the SAP Center for Business Insights and Oxford Economics:
- 80% of organizations that have completed digital transformation report increased profits.
- 85% say they have increased their market share.
- On average, leaders expect 23% higher revenue growth than competitors.
5. Architect of social distancing
The global health emergency has also made structural changes to cities to make them more functional for eradicating the virus.
According to the Guardian post, touchless technology could come to play a major role since 80% of infectious diseases could be transmitted by touching polluted surfaces. Research carried out by the Electronic Transactions Association shows that, as of April, 27% of small businesses surveyed have seen an increase in payments made using smartphones or contactless cards and, in addition, according to Statista, it is estimated that around 11 million US households will have scanned a QR code in 2020.
Digital transformation has become a buzzword for organizations these days. The world has gone digital. Are your businesses ready to revel in the era of digitization? MAY Planning has strong experience on integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. We will be pleased to provide consulting service for your company in Hong Kong or overseas, please feel free to contact us anytime.
5G network in Hong Kong and How will 5G impact business and the world?
5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard. 5G wireless technology is meant to deliver faster speeds, ultra low latency, more reliability, greater load capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users. Some researchers believe that 5G could deliver 10 – 20 times faster than 4G.
Sending a message at 6pm in Central station will no longer be a problem
In 2019, the Government planned to make available a total of 160 MHz spectrum in the 600/700MHz bands to enhance indoor hotspots and the network capacity of indoor mobile telecommunications services which would help relieve congested traffic indoor mobile hotspots, such as MTR stations. The earliest release date (available for release to the market through auction, tendering or other appropriate) will be in 2021. The decisions will be made in the first quarter of 2021.
The 85 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz and the 850 MHz bands can be deployed in both indoor and outdoor locations for the provision of public mobile services; while the 70 MHz of spectrum in the 600 MHz band is designated for indoor use to enhance the mobile services provided at indoor hotspots, such as shopping malls and confined areas like premises inside the Mass Transit Railway.
5G will change the world
–For business (For example, an enterprise tool)
5G helps to upgrade on the existing system. With 5G, over 1 million devices can operate within the same area which is a 250 times growth in capacity. 5G is nearly 8 times faster in speed and boasts of more than 5 times the bandwidth. 5G is a critical enterprise tool to accelerate digital transformation, particularly in their supply chain management initiatives.
–For our life (For example, autonomous cars will be on our roads)
5G network will offer new application options advancing the development of autonomous cars. Drivers running red lights will become a thing of the past. Traffic jams will be reduced or eliminated as self-driving cars can drive in closer proximity to each other. Also, autonomous cars don’t slow down to rubberneck. Tesla founder Elon Musk says Tesla will release its ‘full self-driving’ feature as a subscription in early 202. Apple’s plans to develop an electric and driverless car featuring its own battery technology are reportedly back on the table, with a new target production date estimated for 2024.
Lots benefits of 5G for our life or for our business that I couldn’t mention in one time.5G allows organization hiring process will not limited to the candidates location. Some organizations are going to have a remote team in their company by hiring top talent outside of their local area. Businesses will rely on mobile networks more and more. They will need to work with IT specialists to redesign and improve their internal work efficiency.
MAY Planning provides professional IT consulting services to meet your expectations. We will be pleased to provide guidance for your company in Hong Kong or overseas, feel free to contact us anytime.
Features and Benefits of WhatsApp Business – An instant messaging platform in Hong Kong
Above is the penetration rate of leading social networks in Hong Kong as of Q3 2019. According to statista.com, WhatsApp is the top instant messaging (IM) platforms in Hong Kong with 79% of users. The number of business using WhatsApp Business to communicate with customers is estimated to grow by 5,400% between 2019 and 2024 in the world. You can reach out over 2 billion people worldwide!
WhatsApp Business suits for small and medium enterprise (SME)
The WhatsApp Business is officially announced in 2018. The App suits for small and medium enterprise (SME). If you company want to interact with your customers 24 hours, 7 days a week. WhatsApp Business would be perfect to you.
Simple to use
You can simply download the app from App store and use a phone number to register it. Then you are ready to start interacting with customers just like you would using the standard WhatsApp app. If you don’t expect to receive a huge volume of messages, or have a small team responding, WhatsApp Business may work really well for you.
WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp look similar and the user interface also looks pretty much the same. However, the logos of both the apps are different. Remember one number can be registered for either one.
Features and Benefits that standard WhatsApp does not have
1. Business Profile
You can create a Business Profile by providing information like:
– Business description
– Business address
– Open & closed hours
– Email address
– Name, profile picture, status, phone number (which are same as standard WhatsApp）
2. Automated Welcome/Away Message
If your customer contacts you but without a quick response, you could be missing out a potential customers. Customer will receive a welcome message or an away message if they contact you out of your business hours. Through automate responses, automate a greeting you can save up to 80% more effort.
3. Quick Replies
Quick Replies are templated messages that Agents can easily search for and use to reply to end users. These messages include greetings, frequently asked questions, signatures, and more. You answer inquiries on average 60% faster than by phone or e-mail (short and without much bla bla)
WhatsApp Business is FREE. You save the costs for expensive call centers and CRM systems. As part of the WhatsApp contact list, you belong to the inner circle of your customers. May Planning will be pleased to provide guidance for your company in Hong Kong or overseas, feel free to contact us at May Planning. We will be happy to assist you.
(Edited in Dec 2020)
What are virtual banks? What benefits do virtual banks offer?
Virtual banking is intensifying the competitive dynamics affecting Hong Kong banking. Competition in Hong Kong is off to a slow start as possible growth prospects are being hindered by economic uncertainties. You have probably heard the term “Virtual Bank” a lot recently, and may have received a referral from a friend. What are virtual banks and what benefits do they offer?
What are virtual banks?
Virtual bank does not have any physical branches. The tool to communicate between the bank and the client is a smartphone or tablet, allowing uninterrupted access to bank representatives anytime, anywhere. Virtual banks must follow the same regulations that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has set out for traditional banks.
Most virtual banks have partnered with ATM payment systems in Hong Kong or even worldwide so you can withdraw money all over the city or the world without any extra charges. You can also transfer money to a traditional bank through the app after you link up the accounts.
However, virtual banks currently do not issue or accept cheques, do not offer brokerage services (cannot buy and sell stocks). You also cannot rent a safe-deposit box to place your valuables in.
What benefits do virtual banks offer?
Digital banking service has moved banking online and does not require any physical branches, this helps to reduce rent and manpower costs. The service can also be accessed anywhere and almost anytime making it very suitable for new generation of consumers.
1. Instant Global payments
Rather than using expensive methods to transfer money internationally, you can pay and accept payments with the use of virtual banks. This means with just a click you can immediately send money to any country. All you need for this luxury is a virtually global account. This single account will help you collect, hold, and send payments in multiple currencies and channels.
2. Greater Flexibility
Every business owner wants to have flexibility while operating their business account. Fortunately, virtual banks have been set up to deal with the needs and issues of customers in a way that suits people the most. With virtual banks, service is available 24/7, and transactions are designed to be made online or using a mobile device. With this development, the banking sector has become faster and more efficient, allowing customers to have real control over their finances.
3. Attractive Promotion Offer and Passive Income
Virtual banks have fewer expenses such as they can save having real branches costs and to allow the customers can earn some passive income. For example, interest rates at virtual banks can be 1,000 times higher than a traditional one.
*The offers are subject to banks’ terms and conditions which may be changing from time to time.
4. No worries when you lose your card
All your purchases and cash withdrawals can be done seamlessly with just one card so you do not have to carry various cards everywhere you go and try to find the right card every time. The card does not print your card number, expiry date, verification code so you don’t have to worry about when you lose your card. Instead, just access private information electronically on the app.
5. Environment friendly
A virtual bank is eco-friendly. No paper statements. No staffing or housing of operations. Also, you do not have to drive to the bank again and again, saving fuel as well.
How do you open an account?
Opening an account at a virtual bank is easier than at physical banks. You will only need to download an app, send your HKID card picture and fill in basic information such as your mobile phone number and a valid email.
*Some banks only allow Hong Kong residences to set up account right now.
May Planning will be pleased to provide guidance for your new start-up company in Hong Kong or overseas, feel free to contact us at May Planning. We will be happy to assist you.