Most HK CEOs miss out on social media

Most Hong Kong CEOs do not unleash the potential of social platforms, with only about a quarter using social media for consumer engagement, and only one-tenth used social media and messaging platforms as a sales channel for their omni-channel strategies.

These are from results of the 2016 CEO Pulse Survey, jointly initiated in the third quarter of 2016 by GS1 Hong Kong and KPMG China, provides an outlook for e-commerce development in Hong Kong. The two companies commissioned YouGov to study views from 225 CEOs as well as a 1,000 consumers half-and-half Hong Kong and China citizens.

In the coming 12 months, the survey predicted that slightly more than 10% of CEOs plan to develop structural social media platforms for consumers to search for product opinions and feedback.

“In the age of digital disruption, building omni-channel platforms is a key business driver for today’s companies,” said Anna Lin, Chief Executive of GS1 Hong Kong. “However, only a very few CEOs use social platforms as a sales channel, either because they are unaware of the potential or they do not have the tools to capitalise on these platforms to give their sales a boost.”

Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG in Hong Kong said that to be in the forefront, retailers, FMCG companies and their supply chain partners need to take steps to transform their companies into digital-first, customer centric and fully integrated omni businesses.

“However, our survey shows that Hong Kong and mainland China online shoppers have significant concerns around trust and consistency which companies must address going forward,” said Bailey.

Trust and consistency issues are among the top challenges of consumers of online shopping. About half of respondents (HK, 47%; mainland China, 56%) expressed concerns about potential discrepancy of size and colour.

About one-third (HK, 35%; mainland, 30%) said insufficient product information is a challenge, and about one-fifth (HK, 20%, mainland, 31%) said inconsistent search results for information about products is a concern.

Consumer insights as uncovered in this survey report further confirm the rise of e-commerce and omni-channel as the key business drivers in the coming years. Three-fifths (61%) of shoppers said that they intend to make more online purchase and research for brands and products via the internet.

The survey also investigated the prospects of 10 product categories, from which Hong Kong consumers plan to increasingly use e-commerce and mobile apps across all categories over the next year, combining with the steadily holding strong intention to buy from physical stores, resulting in an overall rise of omni-channel commerce.