Frictionless commerce is on the rise but what remains important for retailers is “to look at what triggers the customer to buy, and how they actually buy it”, said Anke Zeller, vice president of group strategy for payment solutions company Wirecard, at the Retail Asia Conference in Hong Kong.

While the Hong Kong market is digitally savvy, “cash is actually still king” for making in-store payments, while credit cards are the top payment method for online transactions.

According to Wirecard’s 2019 Digital Payments Landscape in Hong Kong report, the majority of shoppers in Hong Kong pay using cash (88%) when they shop in-store.

For online purchases, most wield their credit cards (81%) for payment instead. The research was conducted on 1,000 respondents through a survey, including 97% native Hong Konger and 3% mainland Chinese. (For more read WARC’s Eight things to know about Asian shoppers and their payment preferences: Wirecard.)

The study also revealed the Octopus card (85%) as a close second for payment methods most used in-store. Launched in 1997, the stored value card was initially designed to provide ease of travel across different modes of public transport in Hong Kong but has since evolved to include payment services.

It is currently accepted country-wide at over 18,000 service providers across 25,000 or so retail outlets and handles an estimated 15 million daily transactions exceeding US$28m (HK$219m).

According to the Wirecard report, 99% of the Hong Kong population aged 15 to 64 use the Octopus card, testifying to its ubiquity in the market.

While ranking lower in terms of adoption, credit cards (81%) and digital wallets (63%) are also widely adopted for in-store payment in Hong Kong. “Digital wallet usage is pretty high, and that is headed by Alipay in Hong Kong,” said Zeller.

Among the surveyed respondents, 65% use Alipay HK, followed by WeChat Pay (47%), PayPal (41%), PayMe (38%), Apple Pay (30%) and Google Pay (18%).

On the online shopping front, most Hong Kong retailers enable payments using credit cards, but tend to neglect cash-on-delivery and digital wallets. Only one in 20 retailers accept cash-on-delivery as a payment method.

“The Hong Kong retailers offer a range of payments in store, but these should also be extended to the e-commerce side,” said Zeller.

Sourced from WARC