ONLY CONNECT

Hong Kong has the world’s “most connected” consumers

Which country has the world’s most connected consumers? The answer is Hong Kong, according to market research firm GfK. This week (May 10) the German firm released its latest Connected Consumer Index, an annual report launched in 2010. The study aims to measure how much, and on which devices, consumers in 78 countries and eight world regions connect with each other and with digital content. The forecast for this year has Hong Kong on top, followed by North America (the US, Canada, and Mexico) and then the United Arab Emirates.

Hong Kong and North America also held the top two positions last year. The UAE is more of a surprise, jumping to third from eighth place in 2015.

Globally, the smartphone is the primary device for consumers to connect to data services. For high-growth markets including the Middle East, Africa, and emerging Asia-Pacific countries, the smartphone will be the major growth driver in the next two to three years, as “over one billion consumers will be able to afford to connect with a personal device for the first time” thanks to falling prices, said Kevin Walsh, GfK’s director of trends and forecasting, in a statement.

As for developed markets, consumers are now embracing wearables, connected cars, and smart home technology, Walsh noted. The trend is obvious in Hong Kong, where the usage of wearables grew 155% in 2015, with a further 82% growth expected this year.

Hong Kongers enjoy some of the world’s fastest and cheapest internet connections. Nearly all commercial and residential buildings are covered with broadband networks, which contributes to the high digital connectivity.

There could be downside, though: A 2015 survey from Herbalife suggested that Hong Kongers are suffering from memory loss in their daily life and at work due to the frequent use of digital devices.

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