HONG KONG: Although nearly three-quarters (74%) of Hong Kong consumers will search online for potential purchases, only 30% will see the process through to a sale, research from Google has shown.

In the Hong Kong segment of its global Consumer Barometer study, Google found 39% of respondents in the territory encountered difficulties accessing brand websites on mobile, Marketing Interactive reported.

Commonly cited problems included the user experience interfaces of websites, such as search and navigation, and the absence of ecommerce functions like product selection and check-out facilities.

With mobile adoption in Hong Kong now standing at 74%, up from 63% last year, it has become essential for brands to develop a good mobile website, said Dominic Allon, MD of Google Hong Kong.

He said Hong Kong has the strongest bias towards smartphones in the world and has grown a highly mobile consumer base, which meant the business community should be leading mobile too.

"We are seeing the emergence of the mobile-only era. If you don't have a good mobile website, your shop is basically closed to these people," he explained.

This was underlined in further survey findings that 14% of respondents in Hong Kong use only their smartphones to browse the internet, compared to 6% in the UK and just 3% in Japan.

Also, 13% of people in Hong Kong use their mobile devices to browse websites more than they do via PCs.

"Consumers here have evolved and brands and businesses in Hong Kong need to wake up fast. Not having a good mobile site is like closing the blinds on your shop window during opening hours," Allon warned in comments reported by the Standard.

"Businesses should engage with the consumers the moment they start searching, and on the screens where they spend most of their time," he added.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, Standard; additional content by Warc staff