Hong Kong consumers tend to research on a product before purchasing it online or at physical stores. A recent study by the Hong Kong Internet Registration Limited (HKIRC) found that over 80 percent of the respondents will refer to product information online before making purchases in store.

Based on a survey of 2,264 Internet users in Hong Kong conducted in July this year, the HKIRC study aims to unveil the key factors affecting online purchase behaviour. It was revealed that Hong Kong consumers are more likely to purchase an item from a website that clearly states the product details, retailers' contact details and terms of purchase. The site should also contain features that are able to protect consumers' personal data and transaction data.

Another objective of the study was to find out the public perception of .hk websites in terms of brand awareness and safety of online shopping. Generally, the ratings of level of trust, positive impression, and safety of .hk websites are slightly higher than non .hk websites. For instance, respondents ranked .hk websites 8.6 percent higher than non .hk websites in terms of safety, indicating that they feel safer about making a purchase by credit card on .hk shopping sites.

The study also revealed that over 60 percent of the respondents tend to hold off immediate purchase in physical stores and make an online purchase days later. Combining this with the fact that 96 percent of the city's smartphone owners are using mobile Internet service on a daily basis, retailers should look at adopting an omni-channel retail strategy. "Businesses can make use of both online and traditional channels to provide more interactive, efficient and assuring services on their websites," said Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC.