Boom in online commerce will continue in 2021, finds Carousell
Online consumer demographic changes, traditional offline services are sought-after in the digital world
Hong Kong, 17 Dec 2020 – Online commerce has strengthened its foothold in Hong Kong with the stricter social distancing. Today, Carousell, one of the world‘s largest and fastest growing classifieds, grew monthly active users by more than 40% since November last year, and more than 1 in 7 Hong Kongers use Carousell every month.
Online consumer demographic is changing
The 25-34 year-old demographic holds strong with the largest numerical growth by 4.5 fold, continuing to be the main purchasing power on Carousell. It is interesting that the age group with the biggest percentage growth are shoppers aged above 45, growing almost sixfold over the past year. Electronics and Luxury remain in the top two most popular categories for the older age group this year, with Health & Beauty climbing four ranks to second place. These users are looking for variety, convenience and most importantly, better deals as they become more budget-conscious facing the continued uncertainties.
The high penetration of smartphones in Hong Kong and the social distancing restrictions fostered the big take-off of mobile shopping among older consumers. This trend will likely continue in the post-pandemic world as digital platforms like Carousell have made the process easy and efficient, and users get accustomed to the convenience.
Local consumers look for services that are typically available offline
Health & Beauty products were most sought-after by consumers when the pandemic first hit Hong Kong, growing by 54% in category active users compared to 2019. Electronics, Toys & Games, Home & Furniture, Women’s Fashion, as well as Luxury items are the most popular and resilient categories this year on Carousell, growing an average of 30% in category active users, withstanding market changes and fluctuations.
The unprecedented event has prompted Hongkongers to further utilise online platforms by discovering and adopting services due to social distancing. Home services merchants, in particular, began to enhance their online presence to capture sales opportunities, and related categories on Carousell have seen organic growth this year, a two-fold YoY increase in the number of category active users. The top four service categories are Home Services, Electronics & Gadget Repairs, Beauty Services and Tuition.
People who spend more time at home due to social distancing want to pursue a higher quality of living environment. The interest for Cleaning Services increased by over 110%, while Air Conditioning Services spiked by over 90%. Renovation and Electrical & Lighting services also spiked due to the pandemic with about 80% increase in active users. The number of active users who are either looking for movers and relocators increased by 50% on Carousell in November. @millennialmovingcompany joined Carousell this year, and has since made more than 30% of total business through Carousell. “We tried different online platforms since the pandemic hit our business. However, they either don’t have a friendly user interface or cost a lot per lead. Carousell came recommended by a friend. The platform is easy to use and there are powerful tools to increase visibility for more leads. Within two months, we got about 130 leads,” said Mr Fong Pak Hay, co-founder, Millennial Moving Company.
While people have fewer opportunities to visit physical shops, the preference to choose the right service provider through referrals and track records do not change. Fortunately, merchants can still build trust and reputation only with customer reviews and visual portfolios. Local renovation service company CoDeco (@codeco) joined Carousell in August this year as a partner to list their services. “We reached a lot of younger customers through Carousell. Showcasing photo, video and reviews of our real renovation cases on the platform helps to boost our brand image and is also generally good for the user experience. Our mission is to free homeowners from the lengthy renovation process with one-stop services, and this is complementary with Carousell’s focus of providing a one-stop marketplace which is convenient and efficient. “ said Woody Tong, co-founder and CEO, CoDeco.
William Ip, Managing Director of Carousell said, “The pandemic has been the catalyst for people embracing digital tools for shopping. As consumers become more aware of how they would like to use online platforms, merchants must be tactical in managing their online business to stand out. Two learning points for 2021 stand out from the data. Firstly, industries that provide traditional offline services should seize the opportunity to make their services accessible online. We have seen more home services merchants on our platform this year to combat lower footfall, engage with a new and larger customer base at the virtual frontier and open up new revenue streams. Secondly, small businesses in resilient categories should go digital if they haven’t, as it can buffer potential loss from the physical outlets with diversified revenue streams from an always-open platform. ”
Carousell is a classifieds marketplace that makes selling as easy as taking a photo, buying as simple as chatting. Launched in August 2012, Carousell began in Singapore and now has a presence in eight markets across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Carousell is backed by Telenor Group, Rakuten Ventures, Naver, and Sequoia Capital. The Carousell marketplace has a diverse range of products across a variety of categories, including cars, lifestyle, gadgets and fashion accessories. Download the app for iOS or Android, and visit www.carousell.com for more information.
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 All data comparisons below refer to the period of Jan 2020 – Nov 2020