Hong Kong retailers must make the best use of mobile marketing to reach targeted customers before Christmas, said Google recently when releasing results of a study on people and their smartphone usage.

According to Google in a statement, it teamed up with Ipsos Research in a survey that had 30,000 people in 30 countries interviewed.

Google's survey results indicated that Hong Kong has the third highest smartphone penetration in the world, ahead of the US, UK, and Japan. This has been well-known for a long time, but the survey finding that one in three Hong Kong smartphone owners has made a purchase via a smartphone is great news for retailers that are mobility-savvy.

The company also revealed that 34 percent of Hong Kong residents have used smartphones to research their purchases and 56 percent have headed to a retail store to buy something whose information they research with the use of phone.

Survey results also indicate that 38 percent of Hong Kong respondents have used their smartphones in-store to compare prices between competing retailers and one in five people have actually changed their purchase decisions in store as a result of what they found online.

"But at the same time, 80 percent of Google's advertisers don't have a mobile-optimized website," said a Google spokesperson.

According to the company, retailers need a mobile health check to see if their website is optimized for smartphones. In additions, retailers must know their customers to do on their phones, educate themselves about mobile ads, and build mobile advertising strategies.

"Once you've decided what you want your customers to be able to do, it's easier than you probably think to start building your mobile site," said the spokesperson. "For example, studies show that customers often use their smartphones to research, call, and visit physical businesses. That means that for many retailers, the best thing to do is create a mobile-friendly landing page with focus on the basics, like location, hours, and contact information."