With the pandemic lingering for about two years, Hong Kong SMEs have been pushed out of their comfort zone to find new ways to run their businesses. This has propelled the growth of digital in Hong Kong. In a recent study conducted by PayPal Hong Kong, around 90% of the city’s SMEs now had a digital presence, using their own digital channels to engage customers. The study “PayPal Hong Kong SMB Survey 2021: Hong Kong’s SMBs kiss digitalization to prosper” was conducted between September and October 2021 to study the impact of COVID-19 on Hong Kong SMEs, their responses and their post-plans. COVID-19.
In the midst of the pandemic, 50% of those polled said their business had been negatively affected. Of these respondents, 58% reported a decrease in demand; 46% have had to deal with a loss of offline customers and 40% have had supply chain issues.
However, on the other hand, 30% of those surveyed said their business had no negative impact at all.
Almost a fifth (19%) even said they had a positive experience. Among those surveyed with a positive experience, almost half (48%) saw an increase in demand, while 43% attracted more customers online and 33% saw an increase in the number of overseas customers outside. from Hong Kong.
In response to the pandemic, 87% of SMEs surveyed were already using their own digital channels, such as social media, e-commerce websites, and company-owned platforms, to promote or sell. Of these SMEs, 48% planned to expand their online presence on these platforms.
Of all the online sales channels, social media has been adopted the most by SMEs in Hong Kong, where 70% of respondents either use it or plan to use it for sale and promotion. Next are owned e-commerce websites (64%), company-owned platforms (60%), and third-party e-commerce platforms (43%).
The study also found that 91% of the SMEs surveyed agreed that they had witnessed a change in consumer behavior online. Paypal Hong Kong said that while in-person shopping has always been a source of entertainment and a way to socialize for Hong Kong residents, the pandemic has forced them to go online more often.
According to the study, the SMEs surveyed observed three major changes in their online sales habits, namely the number of local customers (58%), customer spending (51%) and the age range of customers ( 35%). Speaking of age ranges, of those surveyed who witnessed a shift in the age ranges of customers, 73% said they had attracted a younger population of online shoppers throughout the pandemic. . Of those respondents who witnessed a change in their local customer base, 66% reported an increase in local customer base. Meanwhile, more than half (54%) of SMBs surveyed that saw a change in customer spending reported an increase in spending from their existing customer base.
Paypal Hong Kong said this suggested that many SMEs were benefiting from local online shopping even when the city was on lockdown during the pandemic. The study also found the trend that consumers were more open to using digital payment, with 45% of SMEs experiencing a fundamental change in consumer behavior in the form of greater consumer receptivity to options. digital payment. Of those, 31% cited greater consumer reliance on online payments, while 26% said shoppers were more willing to make larger money transactions online.
Additionally, 86% of those surveyed said they wanted to implement suitable digital payment options for a variety of reasons: attracting new customers (67%), improving the customer experience (56%), and increasing sales by line (54%). . Finally, PayPal Hong Kong suggested that since social media is critical to business growth, SMEs should therefore consider establishing a social media presence if they hope to grow their business. Additionally, SMEs are advised to go digital and they need to determine which platform works best for their business.
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