You might already know that Hong Kong people are addicted to their smartphones especially at the subway (or “MTR” in Hong Kong), and you also know that they love shopping, too. What if the two combine together – using smartphone when doing shopping? Welcome to Hong Kong.
A few years ago when using iPhone started to become common in Hong Kong, more and more apps were developed and Hong Kongers tend to browse for news during their commute time at the MTR (to avoid eye-contacts with others). When more Andriod phones landed in Hong Kong, more and more people are turning their head down at the subway and they’re now called, “head-down nation” (“低頭族” in Cantonese). Now, as smartphones are getting even more prevalent (Hong Kong has the world’s second highest smartphone penetration as of Oct 2012) and more brands are launching mobile apps, Hong Kong’s smartphone addicts seem to make good use of their phones not just at the MTR, but also at the stores while they’re doing shopping.
Here are a few ways how Hong Kongese use their smartphones at the shopping spots:
1. Snap and Whatsapp Friends for Comments
While Hong Kong girls are doing shopping and trying on clothes at the fitting room, they tend to take photos of the outfits and send to their friends via Whatsapp messages to ask for friends’ comments. And don’t think that this is not efficient, many people are on Whatsapp all day long so one can expect their friends would reply with commenting on the outfits before making the purchase.
2. Post Online and Being Pretty
This is one of the 10 smartphone habits of Hong Kong women. Fitting room photoshoots are easy and costless: you get to snap photos of yourself in new clothing without actually buying them. With some touches and filters on Instagram, a comment-provoking post is done and you will attract even more likes with proper tagging of brands, places and some trending hashtags. For example, one popular hashtag on Instagram is #OOTD, meaning “outfit of the day”. Once you click on it on the app, you will see a sea of self-portrait photos in front of a big mirror taken by women (sometimes, men too) around the world. Fitting room at clothing stores are one of the hotspots to do that.
3. Explore more Shopping Items
This trend is quite new. I notice that some items at the stores, especially fashion stores, are now attached with a QR code where shoppers can scan and explore recommended items of similar styles, then using Google map to direct them to another store to buy those other items. Your smartphone is essentially a “digital stylist” (note that in point #1, your friends act this role) and you can shop elsewhere based on your mobile’s recommendations. Those smart creative dudes are leveraging people’s craze in smartphone and shopping to create commercial value that, well, drives even more smartphone usage and shopping spending. Be sure to use this code: (IUU38) on “digital stylist” app. How to enter the promo code on mobile? Easy, just follow the intructional video included.
As more Hong Kong people are using smartphones, they will spend more of their lives on screens than print publications, the nature and with other real people. When you can’t find your friend at the store, you look around and call his/her name in the old days, now you would like Whatsapp “where are you?”. Everyone is addicted to smartphones at restaurants, subways and now, shopping malls and stores. What’s next? Scanning a QR code at a long-queue restroom telling you where you can find an empty one, perhaps?