Hong Kong consumers: informed and open to data sharing

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New research shows that 87% of Hong Kong consumers are more willing to engage with brands that collect data directly. But less than half are open to sharing demographic data.

Trust, transparency, and education emerge as cornerstones of building a sustainable data-sharing ecosystem for digital marketing Hong Kong. While Hongkongers appear to be the most cautious consumers, 72% of Hong Kong respondents are open to sharing data after a breach if a brand is transparent.

Twilio has launched a first-of-its-kind research, The Consumer Data Revolution in Asia Pacific, surveying consumers from Hong Kong and Asia Pacific (APAC) to provide unique insights into their mindset around major shifts in data privacy and the evolution of digital marketing, including the industry’s imminent shift away from third-party cookies. 

The research showcases how consumers embrace personalised experiences while prioritising data privacy, highlighting the importance of trust, transparency, and education in building a sustainable data-sharing ecosystem. It explores consumers’ preferences, attitudes, and expectations around data sharing amid the sunsetting of third-party cookies and highlights opportunities for brands to strengthen consumer trust. The report includes findings from a total of 1,500 consumers in APAC across Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Hong Kong consumers are informed yet cautious

In a landscape where practically all businesses and organisations leverage consumer data at various levels, the study reveals that 51% of the respondents in Hong Kong have some understanding of how their data is used.

The research also uncovers a correlation between comfort levels in sharing personal data and knowledge about how organisations utilise this data. An informed consumer base is key to fostering a sustainable data-sharing ecosystem.
While the majority of Hong Kong respondents appreciate the benefits of personalised experiences, with 69% acknowledging that personal data usage enhances their interaction with brand websites, they appear to be the most cautious consumers in APAC, with over half (55%) uncomfortable with social media platforms sharing their personal data with other brands or businesses.

A silver lining

A silver lining is that Hong Kong consumers (70%) are generally more willing to share personal data if they trust the brand. To elevate trust, 58% of Hong Kong respondents expect clear and comprehensible information about data usage, emphasising the importance of transparency in building consumer confidence. Privacy preservation is another necessity, as 60% of Hongkongers expect assurances that personal data will stay within the organisation and will not be sold to third parties; the ratio is the highest among APAC respondents.

The survey also suggests that education is key to strengthening trust. Among respondents in APAC who are unsure of how their data is being used by businesses, only 15% were comfortable with all their data being shared with another brand. This figure more than doubled to 34% among those who were generally aware of how their data is being used, rising to 46% for those who had full knowledge of how organisations use their data.

Hong Kong consumers

Striking a balance: consumer scepticism and usage of cookies

Most Hong Kong respondents (77%) know that websites track their online activity using cookies. At the same time, Hong Kong has the highest proportion of users who reject all cookies (24%), despite acknowledging that cookies are widely used to provide personalised experiences on a website or app. It indicates a greater concern for privacy or a lack of trust in websites compared to 76% of APAC respondents who either accept all cookies or allow selected cookies.

Among Hong Kong respondents who are inclined to accept cookies, over half (59%) are willing to share necessary cookies, and 33% of respondents are willing to share cookies that help the site remember their preferences.

With that being said, an overwhelming 90% of respondents agree that site owners must disclose their use of cookies and provide the option to opt-out or risk losing consumer trust. These findings underscore the need for brands to balance personalised experiences and consumer privacy, maintaining trust while offering tailored engagements.

Cyberattacks, transparency, and brand loyalty

Following a data breach, 18% of Hong Kong respondents would continue to share personal data with their favourite brand, and half would be less keen and very selective about what kind of data they share. However, 72% of them would be more willing to share personal data if the brand is transparent about the breach and took necessary steps to address the situation.

These insights emphasise the critical role of clear communication and prompt action in mitigating cyberattack damages, highlighting the importance of trust and transparency in today’s digital environment.

Zero-Party Data: a mutual benefit for brands and consumers

As third-party cookies phase out, consumers have higher data privacy expectations. Regionally, 72% believe in avoiding websites that collect cookies, reflecting an aversion to third-party data collection. The study also reveals that 87% of respondents in Hong Kong would be more inclined to engage with brands if they obtained data directly from consumers.

While over half of the consumers in APAC (52%) agree that personalised ads offer more options after making a purchase, 27% of Hong Kong respondents do not find personalised ads useful, and 36% feel uncomfortable receiving the advertisement based on their online activity. Compared to other APAC regions, Hong Kong consumers are the most willing to share their purchase history (54%), but the least comfortable sharing demographics-related data like gender/sex and age (43%). The most effective incentive for Hong Kong residents to share personal data is the chance to win a prize, with 38% saying it would increase their willingness.

Nicholas Kontopoulos, Vice President of Marketing, Asia Pacific & Japan, said, “Today, consumers expect brands to protect their data and be upfront about how their data is being used. The combination of scepticism towards third-party data and the willingness to share data with trusted brands is fueling new opportunities and forging the pathway to a healthy and sustainable data-sharing ecosystem across the region.”

The Consumer Data Revolution in Asia Pacific report can be downloaded here.

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