The use of social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat has risen sharply in Hong Kong as the popularity of highly-visual channels continues to grow, according to Connected Life, the latest study of over 70,000 consumers from global research consultancy Kantar TNS. Developments in mobile technology are a clear driver, with the number of smartphones users across the Asia Pacific region now numbering over a billion – 5 million of them in Hong Kong - and increasingly powerful smartphone cameras giving connected users the opportunity to take and share photos instantly.

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Across the region, Snapchat has gained the most traction in Hong Kong, as the number of users has more than doubled from 19% to 46% in the past year. New Zealand and Malaysia are not far behind, where Snapchat users are at 39% and 37% respectively.

Hong Kong has the second highest penetration figures for Instagram in the region after Malaysia, with 70% of internet users on the platform. Across Asia Pacific, it is clear that connected consumers are expanding their use of social media beyond Facebook and testing newer, more visual channels.

While young people are the biggest social media users across all platforms, the rise of the ‘Insta-Gran’ is also gaining momentum; Almost half (44 %) of internet users in Hong Kong aged 55 – 65 now use Instagram.

The rise of these platforms provides brands with new opportunities to target and engage consumers. However, brands need to be mindful of evolving consumer attitudes as they look to take advantage of the diversifying social media landscape. The Connected Life results reveal that one in five (20%) connected consumers in Hong Kong ‘actively ignore’ social posts or content from brands. Businesses need to avoid being invasive as a third (30%) already feel ‘constantly followed’ by online advertising.

In addition, the Kantar TNS study found that influencers and celebrities hold the key to connecting with consumers. Almost half (42%) of online 16 – 24 year olds in Hong Kong say they trust what people say online about brands more than ‘official’ sources, such as newspapers, brands’ own websites or TV adverts. Again, younger people are the more influencer-oriented group, trusting bloggers and peers rather than information from brands. The older generation’s ‘influencer network’ is still primarily friends and family. However, considering this group’s adoption of other trends, they may soon refer to social media influencers for inspiration and information.

William Choi, Associate Director, Hong Kong at Kantar TNS, said:

“People in Hong Kong are very open and quick to adopt new trends, regardless of their age, and the study confirms that this is also true for new social media platforms. In the same way, we’ve seen the rise of Pokemon Go, and witnessed many of the older generation catching Pokemon on the street. It’s clear that the digital divide between generations is closing, and brands need to be conscious of these changes when considering how they target demographics. In this new connected era of multiple channels, we need to look beyond age to target the audiences’ emotional mindset on that channel in order to create campaigns that resonate.”

Zoë Lawrence, APAC Digital Director at Kantar TNS, said:

“The rise of Instagram and Snapchat highlight how consumers are eagerly adopting visual ways of expressing themselves, as they embrace the ability to capture and share moments. Importantly, the adoption of these new platforms is incremental – people are using them in addition to Facebook, WhatsApp and other social channels. This provides brands with multiple new channels to engage with consumers in a deeper and more effective way.

“What’s crucial is that brands no longer look at social channels as blank media space for advertising. The results show that consumers are demanding content that is integrated seamlessly into the platform, enhancing rather than interrupting the use of it. To do this successfully, it’s essential to maintain the brand values of the platform being used. Instagram is a place for highly-curated, enhanced images, whereas Snapchat is raw, in-the-moment and humorous. Brands need to approach each platform individually to ensure the content created mixes seamlessly into the user-generated feed and maintains their own integrity.”

About Connected Life

Connected Life is a leading global study of the digital attitudes and behaviours of 70,000 internet users across 57 countries. It uses comprehensive analysis of how connectivity changes people’s behaviour to address the big challenges for marketers. It does so by looking in detail at consumers, connections, content and commerce, providing the strategic guidance needed to keep, engage and influence the people that matter.

The fieldwork was undertaken in all markets between June and September 2016. Instagram and Snapchat usage measured by those who identified as using platform at all (daily, weekly, monthly or less often).

For further information, visit the Connected Life page.

About Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies with experts in over 80 countries. We provide actionable insights to help companies make impactful decisions and drive growth.

With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer relationships we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business.

We are part of Kantar, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies.

Find out more at Kantar TNS

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies. Working together across the whole spectrum of research and consulting disciplines, its specialist brands, employing 30,000 people, provide inspirational insights and business strategies for clients in 100 countries. Kantar is part of WPP and its services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.

 


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