The 2021 survey reveals that while websites are still the preferred channel for investors in Hong Kong, apps are growing in popularity. Hong Kong investors expressed the strongest preference towards apps, with 44% of respondents in the territory using them for investing, compared with a global average of 36%.
“The pandemic has prompted a shift in how people invest, with digital channels seeing significant growth. In Hong Kong, the use of apps has become one of the key ways to invest, enabling convenient access for investors to manage and adjust their portfolios,” Leo Chen, head of Asia at Calastone, said in a statement
However, usage varies between age-groups. About 50% of millennial (born between 1981 and 1996) investors and 44% of Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) investors in Hong Kong prefer to invest via apps, whereas 73% of baby boomer (born between 1946 and 1964) investors still prefer to invest via a website.
Globally, millennials showed the greatest appetite for app investing (46%), compared with 36% of Generation X investors.
The increasing popularity of apps is seen in conjunction with growing demand for micro-investment among millennial investors. Almost 90% of millennials and three-quarters of Generation X respondents worldwide , for example, indicated interest in investing incrementally in smaller amounts.
“The appetite for micro-investment was especially high among millennial investors in Hong Kong, as they look for low-cost ways to save and invest money. The asset management industry must make note of this shift to low-cost, digital investment solutions and ensure that it can support changing investor needs,” Chen said.
Calastone also found that investor confidence has rebounded since the onset of the pandemic, with a greater proportion of people actively investing than last year.
Nearly half (43%) of Hong Kong respondents said they were actively investing in response to the current situation regarding the pandemic, by capitalising on market volatility. On the other hand, 71% said that Covid-19 had made them feel worried about their financial security and money management, which was a similar score to the 2020 report findings.
Although the majority of Hong Kong respondents said that Covid-19 has made them more worried about their financial futures, they are still bullish on the market, which may indicate that the shock of the pandemic is starting to pass, according to Chen.
There is also growing trust and acceptance of new investment management market entrants, such as technology companies and online retailers.
A total of 53% of Hong Kong investors feel positively towards financial services organisations and the finance sector overall. Yet, when it comes to purchasing decisions, Hong Kong investors are happy to use services from non-traditional companies and channels, indicating higher levels of confidence in these service providers than the global average.
For instance, as much as 58% trust technology companies such as Apple — which is 11 percentage points higher than the global average — and 48% trust online retailers such as Amazon, and 36% might turn to social media companies for managing their investments.