Monday, December 24, 2012

A collection of some of my writings, and that of others about me...which you may or not find of any interest.

Here you will find some of my mass media coverage (some are articles I submitted while others were written by journalists), as well as some of my most recent papers published in "peer-reviewed" academic journals which, as you may know, is a long and difficult process to publication. Getting published in an academic journal could take 9 months to 2 (or even 3 or 4) years, and often takes several rounds of edits and reviews (or even rejects). Due to copyright laws, I can't post full journal articles here, so I posted just the first page. Let me know if you want the full paper. To date (early 2017), my own published academic papers have been cited by 271 other academic papers! Not bad! My most cited paper is at 58. Nice!

About Me:
I'm a marketing research practitioner based in Hong Kong, but I work on worldwide projects. I completed my doctorate degree (Ph.D in Marketing) and in the process I published a few new papers in academic journals. Born and raised in South Africa, I lived in Canada before moving to Hong Kong in 1996. I'm particularly interested in advancing research design; analytics in the areas of brand and advertising research, customer satisfaction, loyalty measurement, service recovery, customer advocacy, and digital media & marketing measurement. Also love teaching at post-graduate level or tutoring of researchers and practicing execs. Also serves on several editorial boards of reviewers for academic journals, mainly in the USA and Europe. Been to 118 countries (published ten photography books and a series of magazines) and still counting, which continues to enrich my understanding of international marketing and consumer behaviour.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Journal of Financial Services Marketing (10 pages)


Friday, March 18, 2011

International Journal of Advertising (29 pages)


Monday, February 7, 2011

Journal of Services Marketing (10 pages)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Journal of Brand Management (10 pages)


Monday, October 11, 2010

Ambush marketing research wins best paper prize

Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, CANADA
October 5, 2010

Research from SFU Business professors Leyland Pitt and Michael Parent on the implications of ambush marketing at global-scale sporting events has garnered a notable award from the journal Business Horizons (Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, USA). Entitled "Event Sponsorship and Ambush Marketing: Lessons from the Beijing Olympics," the research has won the Business Horizons/Elsevier Publishing Prize for the journal’s "Best Article" published in 2010.

The article was co-written with Pierre Berthon of Bentley University in Boston, and Peter Steyn of Sweden’s LuleĆ„ University of Technology.

Their research shows that the persistent effectiveness of ambush marketers leaves sporting event sponsors particularly vulnerable – costing them not only their financial investment, but ultimately their customers.

The study’s authors examined data from the 2008 "Li Ning affair", which saw Olympic sponsor Adidas ambushed by lesser-known Chinese sportswear company Li Ning at the Beijing Summer Olympics. The Chinese company's namesake founder, Li Ning, was China’s most decorated Olympian and it was he who lit the Olympic flame at the 2008 opening ceremony.

Data collected after the closing of the Beijing Games isolated what the researchers called the "Li Ning effect" – which describes being incorrectly identified as an official sponsor, and the positive effects accrued to a company's brand as a result. In the footwear category at least, Li Ning was the clear brand winner of the 2008 Olympics, in spite of the millions spent by Adidas to secure a sponsorship.

"Amidst the background noise of multiple sponsorships," said the study’s authors, "this highly poignant event stuck in people’s memory such that when they were asked to recall who the official sponsor of athletic footwear was for the Beijing Games, more of our respondents thought it was Li Ning than Adidas."

The researchers offer important advice for marketers trying to see through successful sponsorship investments in events such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. "Don’t naively put yourself in a position to be ambushed; remember, large sporting events provide optimal venues and occasions for this to happen," they suggest. "This does not mean that firms should abstain from sponsorship; large global events can provide superlative opportunities for marketing communication. “However, walking into sponsorships and blithely ignoring the lessons from the Li Ning affair would be asking for trouble. If you do decide to sponsor a major event, anticipate and behave as though an ambush will happen."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best Article Award

Media coverage of this award winning paper can be found HERE

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

African Journal of Business Management (11 pages)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services (19 pages)


Sunday, March 14, 2010

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communications (11 pages)


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Business Horizons (10 pages)


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Public Relations Review


Monday, September 14, 2009

Journal of Sponsorship


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sponsorship measurement needs to go deeper

15 April 2009 4:28pm

The importance of digital media in marketing and promoting brands means sponsors need far deeper measures of effectiveness than the traditional metrics such as brand awareness and recognition, according to specialist research company Aha! Research.

Aha! Research Managing Director, Peter Steyn, told Sponsorship News that consumer generated media, such as blogs, YouTube, and Twitter were now having such an impact they could make or break a brand in a matter of months.

He says that Aha!’s research following the last Olympics showed that while traditional metrics couldn’t be ignored, there was a need to measure consumers’ online engagement with the brands.

Steyn said a range of research showed that positive online brand recommendation correlated with a company’s growth, so monitoring consumer media engagement was crucial.

The research showed that sponsorship has an influence on whether a brand will be recommended through online consumer generated media. It also showed that marketers have to get on the front foot to ensure their position as official sponsor is recognised, as this has an impact in social media.

"The distinction between an official sponsor and a non-sponsor is becoming much more important and measuring the likelihood that consumers will promote, or demote, your brand online, is critical," Steyn said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Talking Customer Satisfaction with "Asian Hotel & Catering Times"

In an April 2009 interview with "Asian Hotel & Catering Times", Peter Steyn of Aha! Research talked with Zara Horner about Customer Satisfaction in the Asian hospitality industry.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beijing Olympics Sponsors Bring Home Gold: Both Brand Attitude and Brand Recommendation Score Higher for Sponsors - Sponsorship Awareness is Crucial

Hong Kong (PRWEB) September 13, 2008 -- A survey conducted by Aha! Research has found that the 2008 Beijing Olympics official sponsors have enjoyed significant benefits as a result of their involvement. Sponsor brands were shown to have experienced higher brand recommendation and brand attitudes compared with non-sponsor brands.

According to estimates, each of the top 12 sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics spent about US$70 million to have their brand associated with this truly global event. Although watched by up to four billion people worldwide, it remains difficult for marketers to assess the impact of sponsorship on their business.

Measuring the effectiveness of sponsorship within the marketing mix has always been challenging, and as such its high costs can be difficult to justify. In this online survey conducted among 1,330 Chinese respondents randomly selected from an online consumer panel provided by GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), Aha! Research employed the crucial measures of brand recommendation and brand attitude to assess the marketing effectiveness of the brands that sponsored the event against those that did not. Awareness of sponsorship is a strong determinant on the scores of both these measurements, which also underlines the value of so-called ambush marketing.

"This research is groundbreaking in terms of understanding the effect of sponsorship, consumer awareness of it, and the importance of the two critical measures of brand recommendation and brand attitude," explains Peter Steyn, managing director of Aha! Research based in Hong Kong. "Research in most industries has found that high levels of brand recommendation and positive attitudes toward a brand are the most effective measures in determining brand loyalty and predicting future growth and profitability. This survey found that not only sponsorship itself, but more importantly, sponsorship awareness (whether accurate or not), differentiates brands on these two crucial measurements. Both measures exert a significant influence on consumer decision-making, as people often simplify buying decisions by opting for familiar brands."

Brand Recognition

The survey covered 29 official Beijing Olympic sponsors and partner brands. Ranked on recognition of brand being an official sponsor, the top five were Coca Cola, China Mobile, Lenovo, Bank of China and PICC. Those sponsors that achieved less than 20 percent recognition included Manulife, Atos Origin, Johnson & Johnson and BHP Billiton. Among the 41 non-sponsor brands mentioned in the survey, those with high levels of incorrect brand sponsorship recognition were Li Ning (67 percent), China Life Insurance Company (54 percent), Nike (50 percent) and Sina (41 percent).

Brand Recommendation

In the analysis of the survey data, 25 comparisons were made between a sponsor and a non-sponsoring competitor, for instance Air China compared to non-sponsor United Airlines, and Budweiser compared to non-sponsor Heineken. In all but 11 comparisons, the sponsor brand scored significantly higher on respondent's likelihood to recommend the brand to friends and family than the non-sponsor brands.

However, the survey data suggests that recognition of a brand being a sponsor is more crucial. All nine sponsor brands tested on brand recommendation showed a significantly higher score among respondents aware of their sponsorship than those who were not aware. This is also true for non-sponsor brands. Eleven of the 15 non-sponsor brands measured on brand recommendation also scored higher among those who incorrectly identified the non-sponsor brand as a sponsor. These findings clearly show the importance of sponsorship awareness among consumers.

Brand Attitude

The survey measured consumer attitude towards five brand sponsors - Air China, Bank of China, Tsingtao, Samsung and Adidas - against their five non-sponsor counterparts - United Airlines, ICBC, Heineken, Nokia and Nike. All sponsors, except Samsung and Adidas, scored significantly higher for brand attitude than their competitors. However, among all the sponsor brands, scores were significantly higher among respondents who correctly recognized the sponsor brand. Similarly, among the non-sponsor brands, scores were significantly higher among respondents who incorrectly identified the non-sponsor brand as a sponsor - except for Nokia.

As with the brand recommendation measure, the survey showed that where respondents correctly recognized a sponsor brand, or incorrectly identified non-sponsoring brands as sponsors, they had a more positive attitude towards the brand. Clearly for sponsoring brands, it is crucial to ensure high consumer awareness of their sponsorship to maximise their return on investment.

"Survey results suggest that the investment brands made in sponsoring the 2008 Beijing Olympics are possibly justified for most, but likely not all," concludes Steyn. "Millions of dollars were spent this year by the sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Our research indicates that most of these brands are enjoying improved recognition, attitudes towards their brand and brand recommendation. But there's a sting in the tail - it is not enough to be a sponsor - brands must take the initiative before, during, and after the event to communicate their leading role to consumers to make the most of the significant sums they have invested."

For further information, please contact:
Peter Steyn, Managing Director, Aha! Research

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Olympic ambushers end up winners

Olympic ambushers end up winners

We've all heard about the successful "ambush marketing" of companies like Li Ning (2331), which were able to create huge brand awareness during the Olympics despite not being official Olympic sponsors. But how many people were fooled?

Thursday, September 11, 2008
We've all heard about the successful "ambush marketing" of companies like Li Ning (2331), which were able to create huge brand awareness during the Olympics despite not being official Olympic sponsors. But how many people were fooled?

A lot more than you might think, according to Peter Steyn at Aha! Research. Aha! conducted a survey among 1,330 Chinese consumers randomly selected by an online consumer panel provided by Global Market Insite.

More than two-thirds of people surveyed thought Li Ning was an Olympic sponsor.

Companies didn't have to give jerseys to CCTV reporters in order to be winners at the Olympic marketing game.

China Life (2628) was successful, with 54 percent of Chinese consumers surveyed wrongly thinking it's an Olympic sponsor.

Fifty percent mistakenly thought Nike - which made Liu Xiang's iconic golden shoes - was a sponsor, and 41 percent said online portal was. wasn't, but rival Sohu was - a fact only realized by 46 percent.

So how much did Sohu have to pay for those 5 extra percentage points?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Grow your brand with only one measurement tool

Peter Steyn
Managing Director, Aha! Research
Hong Kong, September 6, 2008


Market researchers have been measuring the impact of word-of-mouth for ages by asking consumers a simple question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand X or company Y] to your friends, family or colleagues?” We have always known that this is an important measure, but now in the era of Online Buzz, it may very well be the most important measurement tool you need to grow your brand.

“Buzzmeister” - the master of their domain

Ty Braswell, former V.P. New Media at Virgin Records who managed online campaigns for artists including Lenny Kravitz and Janet Jackson, says “Developing an online buzz requires capturing the attention of folks I call ‘Key Multipliers. Their social status is connected to finding something really cool and passing the buzz on to their friends. They find new stuff, bring it to their not-so-online friends, and this role as ‘buzzmeister’ keeps them popular in their peer group. They are defined by what they hunt.”

Buzzmeisters are masters of their domains, or fields of expertise. The ‘gadget guru’, the ‘travel teamster’, the ‘high-quality hunter’ and the ‘value finder’ all declare with pride and joy that “I love it – and so will you”. Online Buzz is digital word-of-mouth and it is flourishing in online social media.

Social Media

Wikipedia defines Social Media as “...the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and ‘building’ of common meaning among communities, as people share their stories, and understandings.”

Word-of-mouth is no longer limited to gossip around the water-cooler or over the fence with neighbours. At the press of a button, Online Buzz via Social Media is global and brings with it both huge opportunities and major pitfalls for public relations, brand management, advertising and research professionals.

Bloggers are blogging and consumers are… advertising managers

A recent survey (May 2008) by Hong Kong-based Aha! Research and PR Consultancy firm, Text100, conducted among corporate news and technology bloggers across eight countries in Asia Pacific, found that 84% welcome information from PR firms and corporations. These bloggers prefer email and comments on their blog over other forms of contact. They want “opinionated responses by corporations to their blog posts“. It’s all about informal buzz rather than traditional marketing communications.

Informal online buzz can extend to consumers creating ads of their favoured or despised brands. These can generate a lot of media coverage for their innovation, creativity and audacity.

A recent California Management Review article, by Berthon P. et al, explores the factors that drive consumers to generate their own advertisements and the strategies available to companies to respond. The authors contend that the consumer is starting to run the show for marketers and the consequences are significant. Consumers are empowered with Online Buzz to make or break brands.

Good and bad Online Buzz

Happy consumers who truly own, nurture and promote a brand represent “good profits”. “Bad profits” are earned from customers who continue to purchase but who generate a negative and damaging buzz.

It is assumed that loyal customers keep purchasing a brand in the long term. Marketers have traditionally focused on loyalty and been satisfied with high scores of customer retention and continued purchasing as indicators. The problem is that various exit barriers such as price and marketing incentives may induce customers to continue purchasing even though they are unhappy with the brand. On the other hand, consumers who discontinue purchasing may not be unhappy with the brand but responding to other circumstances in their lives. Clearly, regular customers may not necessarily be solid drivers of growth.

If loyalty and customer retention are not good predictors of future growth or profitability what is?

A loyalist who is willing to put their own reputation on the line in recommending a brand to their friends, family and colleagues.

“Buzzmeisters” as “net brand promoters”

We need “promoters” who can drive positive buzz to take charge of our brands. Research by Reichheld FF, in the Harvard Business Review, shows a strong correlation between a brand’s growth rate and the percentage of its customers who are “promoters” of that brand. These “buzzmeisters” may be the most cost effective marketing managers for our brands.

Reichheld’s validated scale is a zero-to-ten semantic differential scale with “Extremely likely to recommend” at the one end and “Not at all likely to recommend” at the other end. Respondent answers are classified in the “promoters” of the brand, those who are “passively satisfied”, and those who are “detractors”. Subtracting the percentage of “detractors” from the “promoters” produces a “net promoter score”. It has been found that in most industries, this is the most important measurement and the one number you need to drive growth and profitability.

Calculating the one most important measure

Maintain a high level of reliability and reduce non-response bias by keeping your survey short and simple.
  1. Select a statistically valid sample of your customers, and ask them the all important question: “How likely is it that you would recommend [brand x or company y] to your friends, family or colleagues?”
  2. Subtract the percentage of “detractors” from the percentage of “promoters” to determine your “net promoter score”.
  3. Benchmark this score against your other brands, other branches, sales representatives, customer segments or whatever other factors make sense such as your competitors’ brands.
  4. Focus your marketing initiatives on improving your “net promoter score”.
Customer equity drives brand equity. Building brand “promoters” and converting “detractors” are key strategies for achieving sustainable brand growth. Monitoring and managing this one important number, in the era of Online Buzz, is now more important than ever.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Online research firm chooses China gateway

Online research firm chooses China gateway (01/08/2008)

Peter Steyn

Peter Steyn, co-founder of Aha! Research, says Hong Kong makes the ideal place for new business
In corporate speak, a sudden flash of clarity is referred to as an "aha! moment." Three business partners who shared such enlightenment decided to name their company after it, and in November 2007, Aha! Research was born.

Peter Steyn, Managing Director of the boutique online market research consultancy, brings to the business 20 years of industry experience in Canada, Hong Kong and his native South Africa. Having identified a niche for specialised research services, he knew Hong Kong was the place to launch. "We intend to grow Aha! Research into a regional and global company, and there is no better place to start up a new business than Hong Kong," he said.

Mr Steyn, who spent 16 years with ACNielsen, explained how a start-up can compete with an established global brand. "There are pros and cons of working with a global leader with offices in almost every country in the world. However, as I gained more experience with clients in different industries, I identified that often, client needs were not properly met by the large research firms: needs such as flexibility of research designs and executions, fast turn-around times and catering to clients in niche markets. These motivated me to set up a boutique-size research firm that has the flexibility to respond to our fast-changing markets and client needs.

Targeting new media

"I also identified a need in the Asian market for a boutique-size firm specialising in creative online research techniques to not only measure new media, but also to effectively employ new media to conduct high quality market research."

The name Aha! Research was conceived by one of the company's co-founders, Douglas Khoo. "Like all internet startups, having a name that would differentiate us from the traditional research firms was crucial," Mr Khoo said. "But just having a name that was different is not enough. It had to convey the core of what our research solutions would lead to, and this was the ‘moment of enlightenment - the aha! moment.' We also thought that most research agencies were viewed as stuffy, monolithic, and slow to adopt new methodologies and technology. We wanted to project ourselves as more creative, progressive and exciting, given the new medium - the Internet- that we would be employing to conduct research."

Aha! Research's service retains the fundamental principles of sound market research, but uses modern technology to expedite the gathering of consumer feedback and providing creative analysis. The technology platform is home-grown and can easily accommodate most languages around the world. One area of specialisation is the niche consumer panels that will be developed over time.

"Our business objective is to develop Aha! Research into the online research agency that is known for its creative, flexible and sound research solutions," Mr Steyn said. "With our strong background and experience in three areas - market research, advertising research and information technology - we aim to develop, improve and apply creative online methodologies to gain consumer insight for our clients. Aha! Research will be known as a leader in advanced online research solutions. Our growth plans include the expansion of our current, proprietary consumer panels in Hong Kong, to the rest of Asia, most importantly, China."

State-of-the-art services

The firm's services, from its proprietary online advertising effectiveness measurement methodology and loyalty modelling, to standard brand tracking or market segmentation studies, can easily be applied to a variety of industries. Some of its clients, to date, include global HR firm Aquent, Toys'R'Us, and PR firm Text 100.

Mr Steyn said Hong Kong makes the ideal base for the business for a number of reasons, including the city's low corporate and personal taxes, personal freedoms and free economy, economic and political stability, transparent government and its world-class infrastructure.

"As expansion into China is part of our growth plans, Hong Kong serves very effectively as a gateway to mainland China. There is simply no better place in Asia which would attract me to set up a new business."

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Lure of Local Intelligence

Hong Kong, Europe, British Airways. This triangle represents an innovative online marketing strategy of marketing to consumers in their local language.

According to PhoCusWright, local language websites and booking engines are expected to be key growth drivers of the Asia Pacific online travel market, a market predicted to grow more than threefold in five years, from $4.8 billion in 2002 to $16 billion (with more than 500 million internet users) in 2006.

As one of the first airlines to have adopted online advertising, British Airways (BA) relies on the online channel to create awareness of its brand and to drive sales. BA has a proven track record of launching interactive out-of-the-box campaigns. In 2000, BA was profiled in Advertising Age due to its use of online skyscraper-sized advertisements. In 2001, BA launched a $1 million online and direct response print effort to attract business-class passengers to its flights. Ads began running on such sites as,,, CBS Marketwatch, and other financial sites where the airline is likely to find frequent business travelers. In 2002, BA was first to advertise on the new Yahoo! UK and Ireland home pages. In 2003, BA launched cinematic presentations on premiere online business and financial news touting the core benefits of British Airways' business class.

Recently, BA has embarked on yet another innovative project to meet its growing need to reach out to Hong Kong users in their local language. BA teamed up with one of Hong Kong’s largest Chinese news portals,, for an online sponsorship to position itself as "the preferred airline to Europe." With the joint efforts of M&C Saatchi and Pixel Media, GoEurope -- a travel site exclusively focusing on European destinations to the Hong Kong market -- was born. The objective is to go beyond the usual banner and button ads in order to create a content-rich travel destination guide for Hong Kong travelers in an environment that is customized for BA. As part of this new initiative, British Airways has launched a variety of ad formats on ZUJI Hong Kong, MSN Hong Kong,, and to drive traffic to the site.

According to Thierry Halbroth, M&C’s Director of Integrated Services, China, “We wanted to show that British Airways isn’t just about flying to London, but that is has one of the biggest networks in Europe.” The travel site features archived content for 20 European destinations, and plans to increase it to 50 shortly. Additionally, the site also includes practical information regarding weather, visas and a calendar of events for each country.

“Lonely Planet is no longer the bible for the adventurous traveler, as it is now more mass market. We needed to make this service about offering local intelligence on the ground as written by a local person,” says Halbroth.

Kevin Huang, Chief Executive Officer of Pixel Media Hong Kong and Malaysia, says, “British Airways has launched a first of its kind online initiative in Hong Kong that combines a depth of rich content packaged in a customized environment. GoEurope is a European Traveler’s indispensable guide to everything you need to know about Europe, and presents reviews of major European destinations as well as country facts and information that are useful for visitors. Great Deals and Special Offers from British Airways to major European cities are also featured on the site. New articles and features are updated on a weekly basis.”

With the Go Europe site, BA can now touch users at every touch point. For example, users can chat all about their experience and exchange ideas on’s Traveling Community Forum, which is also sponsored by BA. Additionally, BA has started eCRM campaigns by building an email database of interested users. And of course, there's a convergence of offline and online marketing efforts. According to Halbroth, “The need to integrate online with offline into one big idea became clearer once companies realized we were all living in the real world and not in a constant online, virtual fantasy.”

British Airways chose to partner with due to its ability to attract business class passengers. Atnext brings to the partnership options of a better online promotional avenue and the creative means for attracting more users, as Atnext is known to have one of the highest reaches in the Hong Kong internet market. boasts a readership base of 1.5 million unique users and is considered to be the most effective website to reach an at-work audience. According to Peter Steyn, Managing Director of Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong, “A significant proportion of users are accessing the site from locations outside the home. The majority of these users are likely at the office as the website is reaching out to a high concentration of at-work users with its news content.”

All marketers wishing to delve into international should learn from BA. The airline's approach towards reaching its audience by displaying its advertising message in a contextually relevant and custom-built environment proves the power of getting local market specific.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Ranking a Stream of News - University of Pisa

In the last year there has been a surge of interest about
news engines, i.e. software tools for gathering, indexing,
searching, clustering and delivering personalized news information to Web users.

According to a recent survey made by Nielsen NetRatings, news browsing and searching is one of the most important Internet activity with more than 26 millions of active U.S. users in July 2004. For instance, Yahoo! News has an audience which is roughly the half of Yahoo! Web Search, a third of Google Web Search and a bit more than AOL Web Search, according to NetRatings. This is surprising enough if we consider that, for instance, Yahoo News had an audience of about 13 millions of users in the 2002.

“The Internet complements television for news coverage as it provides a different perspective and greater depth of information - statistics, pictures, interactive maps, streaming video, and analyst comments,” said Peter Steyn of Nielsen/NetRatings. Certainly, recent events such as SARS, War in Iraq, Terrorism Alerts and other similar dramatic events contributed to diffuse the use of on line news search engines.

The huge amount of news available on line reflects the users’ need for a plurality of information and opinions. News engines are, then, a direct link to fresh and unfiltered information.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Online Shopping Takes Off in HK, Says Nielsen//NetRatings

October 12, 2004 (HONG KONG) -- Nielsen//NetRatings reported that the most popular Hong Kong shopping websites received 20% more visitors in the quarter ending August 2004 compared with the corresponding period a year ago.

An audience of 1.6 million people, representing 50% of all at home Internet users in Hong Kong, hit the shops from behind their computer, bringing visitor growth to online shopping sites beyond the overall at home Internet traffic surge level of 14%.

Figures released from Nielsen//NetRatings' Global Internet Trends survey show users are not just visiting the sites, but they are also buying items. The number of Internet users who have purchased something online grew from 5% a year ago to 14% today.

Yahoo! Auctions is the top ranking online shopping Website and saw its audience increase from 325,000 unique visitors during the quarter ending August 2003 to 753,000 in the same period of 2004. takes second position and earns itself the most popular mass merchandising site with a 16.5% reach among active Internet users between June and August 2004. Its monthly visitor numbers increased from 91,000 users in August 2002, to 110,000 last year, to 237,000 at the end of August 2004.

Peter Steyn, managing director, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong, said, "Yahoo! Auctions, and eBay have all experienced phenomenal growth. This shows that Internet users have more faith in Internet security for online payments. They have started to realize how convenient and practical online shopping can be."

Possibly unlike its offline counterpart, online shopping is very popular among men, with 57% of the shoppers being male. Interestingly, figures released suggest the younger the user the more likely they are to visit a shopping Website. 66.5% of Internet users in the 12 to 17 year old age bracket visited a shopping site, compared with 60.5% of those aged between 18 to 34 and just 38% of those aged 35+.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A Global Audience for a Global Medium - A look at the online news and information audience

Presentation by Peter Steyn, Nielsen//NetRatings

The Internet has changed the way we communicate en masse as well as how we communicate one-on-one. People are increasingly flocking to the Internet, and spending a substantial part of their day online, surfing. The average Internet user in developed countries spends slightly more than 11 hours a month surfing the Internet from home — with Asians known to be substantially heavier users of the medium.

When events of major international significance occur, both locally and around the world, people are turning increasingly to the Internet as the most up to date and comprehensive news source. While television remains an important medium as a source for news, viewers are increasingly relying on the Internet to complement their television coverage — providing more in-depth analysis, statistics, and other interactive features such as chat rooms, instant messaging, streaming videos, pictures, and 3D rotation animations. Most often, television and the Internet are consumed simultaneously. This "dual" and "simultaneous" usage, in particularly during breaking news events, is more prevalent among the younger generation, who are spending much of their free time on the Internet, and not all of them just for the fun of it. The recent Iraq war and outbreak of SARS attracted a significant number of young Internet users to current affairs and news sites.

As an interactive medium, the Internet offers a plethora of opportunities to engage the reader and communicate news in a creative way.

Over the past three or four years, a number of news sites have faded into oblivion, while others have flourished and are now considered leaders in their respected fields. A key ingredient for the successful ones has been access to timely, accurate and comprehensive data that has given them a thorough understanding of their target audience and provided a measure of how successful they have been in reaching them. In addition, collecting competitor intelligence on the Internet has proved easy, accurate and comprehensive.

Data has been available for media such as television, print and radio for many years. In contrast, Internet audience measurement is still in its early phases. The Internet allows for several measurement approaches, including survey research, panel data, server log data, ISP data, and ad-network data, to name a few. This presentation will address some approaches to Internet audience measurement, with the focus on audience panel data. A global "status report" on the internet around the world in major markets will be presented, including the growth of online audiences to news sites with a specific focus on Hong Kong. And as technology allows us to collect comprehensive data about Internet usage, we can now more accurately track ad exposure and interactivity. The final part of the presentation will address ad tracking and online campaign planning through the use of panel data.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Battle for offering better content and package deals heats up in travel sector:

Hong Kong, August 18, 2004 – Hong Kong Internet users are increasingly turning online to plan that perfect vacation or hassle-free business trip, according to the latest information from Nielsen//NetRatings.

During the second quarter ending June 2004, most of the top five travel websites showed an impressive increase in Hong Kong at-home users compared with a year ago. The fastest growing site, China Travel Net Hong Kong* ( increased by 103% to reach 158,000 users. Yahoo! Travel remains the most popular online travel site among Hong Kong's at-home surfers, attracting more than 271,000 unique visitors, a growth rate of 20%.

However, there is no clear answer as to whether increased surfing on popular websites is translating into a significant increase in tickets purchased over the Internet, or whether consumers are simply conducting research online before purchasing offline from their favourite travel agent.

"Hong Kong's travel industry boom in the post-SARS period presents an excellent opportunity for the development of e-commerce in Hong Kong, just as online ticketing has been driving recent Internet business growth in the US," said Peter Steyn Managing Director, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong. "For this to happen, travel industry players must continue to improve their online service in order to encourage more local surfers to take advantage of the convenience of the Internet – not just to browse but also to purchase goods and services".

Citing the convenience of face-to-face shopping in Hong Kong and the continuing reluctance of people to trust the Internet with their credit card number, Steyn added: "E-commerce faces some additional challenges to building momentum among local consumers, however the latest report shows that traditional travel agencies are boosting their efforts online with positive results"

The Nielsen//NetRatings quarterly review of Hong Kong's at-home Internet users showed that Cathay Pacific clinched the top ranking airline spot with its site receiving 157,000 unique users, an 8% increase compared to the same period last year. China Travel Net Hong Kong (CTN) was ranked number one among travel agencies followed by Wing On Travel and Hong Thai Travel. Hong Thai Travel, which ranked in sixth place, increased its audience by a healthy 19% over the past year. Zuji, the increasingly popular online travel-booking site that didn't even exist a year ago, now has an audience of 149,000 unique for the quarter ending June 2004. Other travel websites that have performed well over the past year include Cathay Pacific Holidays,, Dragon Air, Evergloss Tours, and Morning Star Travel.

Among the top ranking local transportation sites were Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB), MTR Corporation, Citybus, Hong Kong International Airport, KCRC, and New World First Bus.

In addition Steyn pointed out that the number of at-home Internet users increased by 34% over the past 3 years while the amount of time people spent online almost doubled during this period. On average, at-home Internet users now spend 35 and half hours online per month.

"Internet audiences have reached significantly higher levels after the travel sector was badly affected early last year," said Steyn. "The question now is whether these gains will be sustained in the longer term and convert shoppers into purchasers.

Qtr Ending June 04Unique AudienceQtr Ending June 03 Unique AudienceChange
TOTAL TRAVEL1,281,0001,170,0009%
Yahoo! Travel271,000226,00020%
China Travel Net Hong Kong158,00078,000103%
Cathay Pacific Airlines157,000146,0008%
Wing On Travel136,000100,00036

Information provided by Nielsen//NetRatings

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Use of Digital Marketing Is On the Rise

Hong Kong, July 23, 2004 - According to a survey conducted by the Asia Digital Marketing Association (ADMA) with the support of MEDIA Magazine, and recent data released by DoubleClick and Nielsen//NetRatings, use of digital marketing is on the rise in Asia Pacific and online activity by users and businesses remains at all time high levels. However, it is clear that businesses still have not tapped the medium's full potential, and it underscores the need for marketers to follow responsible guidelines for online behavior to protect privacy and the ongoing effectiveness of the medium.

77% of the ADMA survey respondents say they utilize digital marketing, 20% spent at least 15% of their total marketing budgets online, and 4 in 10 respondents indicate they have increased their budgets over last year. It's clear that businesses are a long way away from tapping the medium's full potential, with most companies focusing on their websites (80%), e-newsletters (66%) and e-mail marketing (66%), while making less use of search engine marketing (26%) and online advertising (38%). Companies also underutilize their customer databases as a marketing resource: 94% maintain databases, but 50% communicate with their customers only on an occasional basis. 20% of businesses don't seek permission or offer an opt out option for their e-mail marketing, which raises privacy concerns.

"The ADMA survey paints a picture of a medium in development," said Douglas Khoo, who led the ADMA research effort. "There is a large gap in the activity level between the most enthusiastic users of digital marketing, and those companies that are just getting started or are underutilizing their online marketing resources. The growth is strong, but the real potential is for companies to make more sophisticated and comprehensive use of this developing medium."

"It is very encouraging that more and more traditional advertisers are adopting online advertising to reach their targeted audience," said DoubleClick's Managing Director Asia Pacific, Ralf Hirt. "Internet media consumption is up and therefore advertisers want to reach consumers where they actually are. Smart tools and reports make this extremely effective. Online ads are becoming both larger and richer. Online advertising is an important part of every integrated advertising strategy and in fact it is significantly increasing as the advantages are so obvious."

Over the past three years, the number of Hong Kong people using the Internet at home has increased by 34%, while the amount of time spent surfing has almost doubled from an average of 11 hours 46 minutes per person in June 2001 to 22 hours and 38 minutes in June of this year. When time spent using Internet applications such as Instant Messaging or Media Players is included, the average time spent in June 2004 was a phenomenal 35 hours and 26 minutes.

"While some advertisers remain hesitant to utilize digital marketing, in particular search engine marketing and online advertising, the Internet is undisputedly the best medium to reach audiences below the age of 35 living in above average income households," said Peter Steyn, Managing Director, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong/Singapore. "The latest figures also indicate that eight out of ten people use a search engine, which can prove to be a very effective marketing tool."

"The fact that digital marketing has earned a place in the collection of integrated marketing tools is exciting," said David Ketchum, Chairman of the ADMA. "However, continued growth without responsible use of the medium can potentially impinge on consumers privacy and ultimately cause a decline in its effectiveness. The ADMA urges all marketers to follow industry guidelines for responsible online marketing."

The ADMA guidelines for marketers, as well as anti-spam tips for consumers can be found at

The survey's purpose was to establish the state of digital marketing in the Asia Pacific region and was conducted amongst marketers from varied industries. Questionnaires were emailed to a pre-qualified list of respondents who had opted-in to receive communications. The sample size of the survey is 111 respondents and the survey was conducted in June 2004.

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Asian broadband : Is there a business out there yet?

Whatever the future of broadband might be, Asia is the place it’s surely being written. From near-saturation of Korea to the fast growth of China, it has markets in every stage of evolution.

The one common thread is that operators in all these markets are looking for applications beyond connectivity: Wi-Fi roaming, IP TV, VoIP, games and security packages are all part of the mix.

But in a tough and often over-competitive business, the new services are not necessarily bringing home the bacon.

Research house Ovum points out that DSL deployment can reverse the long-term decline in ARPU “but [carriers] should not expect high margins.”

The plus for telcos is that the mass takeup of broadband is changing the way people behave online.

Hong Kong users – of whom 60% have access to broadband – are spending 21 hours per month online, according to Peter Steyn of Nielsen//Netratings. A year ago, that was 16 hours. “Broadband has a huge impact on customers’ behavior,” he says. P2P downloads, video and audio streaming and Internet radio are the big improvers.

The problem with broadband, though, is that it is flexible, scalable and highly efficient: 111 times more efficient than private network options, per megabit per second, according to the ITU.

So while large carriers are focusing on residential customers and apps, smaller competitors are chasing the business market. The combination of IP and DSL could be a lethal one yet for incumbents.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Internet shopping surges in popularity in Hong Kong

Oct 7, 2003 -HONG KONG: Internet shopping in Hong Kong has surged in popularity in the past year but most people appear to be only window-shopping, a survey published Friday found.

The most popular shopping sites, such as Yahoo and Amazon, have seen a 47% rise in visits by Hong Kong people, according to Internet market research company Nielsen/NetRatings.

A total of 823,000 Hong Kong people visited the top 100 shopping sites this year compared with 562,000 this year, researchers found.

The number of people using the Internet in the territory has risen from 1.7 million to 2.1 million over the same period.

Nielsen/NetRatings director Peter Steyn told Friday's South China Morning Post that despite the rise in visits to shopping sites, Hong Kong people were using the Internet to compare products and prices.

Hong Kong consumers are wary about spending money online, thinking the technology unsafe, and prefer to browse the Internet for price comparisons before buying in shops. - dpa

Saturday, October 4, 2003

E-government shows steady gains in Hong Kong

E-government in the HKSAR is showing signs of life with the number of people visiting domains from home growing 46 percent year on year, compared to only 24 percent growth in the total number of people using the Internet in Hong Kong over the same period, according to latest information from Nielsen//NetRatings. "Year on year, the growth of audiences to each of the top 10 domains outstripped overall Internet user growth in Hong Kong. In August 2002, no less than 34 percent of at-home surfers visited a site," stated Peter Steyn, sales and marketing director, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong in a press release.

The general Hong Kong government information at made it the top-ranking domain within the property, recording a total of 407,592 unique visitors in August. The site contains comprehensive information about the Hong Kong SAR, including government services and news, and attracts a heavy 18 to 34 year old following.

"The second and third ranked -- and -- have consistently recorded increases in audience numbers since they were launched in Hong Kong. provides information on leisure and cultural services, museums, performing arts, recreation and sports., the Hong Kong public libraries site, is an increasingly popular site in Hong Kong and offers the convenience of online library browsing, as well as reserving and renewing of library books," noted Steyn.

The fourth ranked and seventh ranked, both directing to the Hong Kong Observatory site, had a combined unique audience (unduplicated) of 190,000, which would place them at rank number two. The site carries comprehensive information about the current weather and forecasts, up-to-date tracking of cyclones, and a wealth of statistics and weather related information and news.

The fifth ranking domain,, had the second highest year on year growth among the top 10 domains, with unemployment in Hong Kong currently sitting well above seven per cent

" now ranks number one in the overall job search category in Hong Kong, up from number three a year ago. While audiences to the site grew by 154 percent, page views on the site more than tripled, to make it the top ranking site based on page views. Its August 2002 audience is slightly lower than its all-time high audience in May, June, and July 2002," added Steyn.

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Meer internetters door Sars-crisis

Gepubliceerd door Godius op woensdag 6 augustus 2003 12:48

Het internetgebruik in Hong Kong blijft ook na de Sars-crisis stijgen. Steeg het gebruik van met name sites met medische informatie, nieuws, webwinkels en banken gedurende de Sars-epidemie van eind maart tot en met mei van dit jaar fors, ook na het sein 'all-clear' blijft het gebruik van online-diensten toenemen. Dat meldt onderzoeksbureau Nielsen/NetRatings. Tijdens de 'crisisperiode' zetten veel inwoners van Hong Kong hun activiteiten buitenshuis op een lager pitje. Veel zaken, zoals boodschappen en bankzaken, werden in die periode online geregeld. In april steeg het aantal internetgebruikers met maar liefst 13 procent ten opzichte van de maand ervoor. Gemiddeld waren zij die maand 22,5 uur online, tegen zestien uur in de maanden voordat de Sars-epidemie uitbrak.

In juni, de eerste 'Sars-vrije' maand na de uitbraak, daalde het internetgebruik weliswaar licht ten opzichte van de twee voorgaande maanden, maar het schommelt nog altijd aanzienlijk boven het niveau van voor de crisis. Zo lag het aantal surfers naar sites van banken in juni 26 procent hoger dan in de maand februari. "Het is de vraag of deze groei op de lange termijn vastgehouden kan worden", zegt Peter Steyn van Nielsen/Netratings.

Friday, August 1, 2003

HK cybersurfers stay online

Posted:9:39 PM (Manila Time) | Aug. 01, 2003
Agence France-Presse

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong residents who turned to the Internet for entertainment during the devastating SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak have continued surfing in cyberspace more than a month after the crisis passed, a survey found Thursday.

Peter Steyn, sales and marketing director for Nielsen//Netratings, said the outbreak of SARS had a profound effect on Internet audiences between late-March to May.

"Traffic to Internet sites for shopping, banking, news, medical information and education grew to record highs as people stayed at home and looked for ways to continue with their lives online," said Steyn.

At the height of the crisis in April, numbers of active Internet users rose 13 percent from the previous month, the fastest month-on-month increase in over two years, with Hong Kong users spending on average 22.5 hours online compared with about 16 hours a month in the six months prior to SARS.

Steyn noted that while Internet usage after the SARS crisis had decreased slightly from their peak, figures for June still showed a significant increase over February, the month before SARS struck.

"For example, websites in the banking sector saw a huge 26 percent increase in users in June over February, translating into an increase in audience reach of three percentage points," he said.

Not all websites benefited from the increased Internet usage during the crisis with users avoiding travel sites, as they put off vacations for fear of contracting the deadly virus on board airplanes.

"However, with the all-clear signal in June, audiences to travel sites increased by 37 percent compared with April, as people took advantage of a variety of travel deals," he said.

"There is little doubt that Internet audiences post-SARS have reached significantly higher levels than before the epidemic," said Steyn. "The question now is whether these gains will be sustained in the longer term."

Hong Kong was the world's second worst hit SARS region with at least 297 deaths from nearly 1,800 infections. It was removed from the World Health Organization's list of SARS-affected areas on June 23.

The 13-week outbreak battered Hong Kong's retail and restaurant businesses as many of the city's 6.8 million residents donned surgical masks and steered clear of crowded shopping malls to avoid contracting the deadly pneumonia-like virus.

SARS stimulates ongoing growth in Internet usage in Hong Kong

IE Asia Team , 1-Aug-2003

Hong Kong residents cut back on their outdoor activities during the critical months of the recent SARS crisis, preferring to head to the Internet for essential medical information, news, as well as for online shopping, banking and education. What's more, they appear to have continued to enjoy these online services even after the all-clear, according to the latest information from Nielsen/NetRatings Hong Kong.

"The SARS crisis had a profound effect on Internet audiences in Hong Kong over the period from late March through to May. Traffic to Internet sites for shopping, banking, news, medical information and education grew to record highs," said Peter Steyn, Sales and Marketing Director, Nielsen//NetRatings Hong Kong.

At the height of the crisis in April, the number of active Internet users increased by 13% compared with the previous month - the fastest month-on-month growth in more than two years.

Usage levels also spiked in April, when Hong Kong people spent, on average, 22.5 hours online, compared to an average of just under 16 hours per month during the six months preceding SARS. Pages viewed increased by 44% in April compared with February, while the average number of domains accessed per person increased from 61 to 73.

"While Internet usage declined slightly post-SARS following their peak levels during the outbreak, our June figures still show significant increases over February,” Steyn said.

For example, he pointed out that Web sites in the banking sector saw a huge 26% increase in users in June over February, translating into an increase in audience reach of three percentage points.

Understandably, the travel category suffered during the crisis. However, with the all-clear signal in June, audiences to travel sites increased by 37% compared with April, as people took advantage of a variety of travel deals.

Among the categories analysed by Nielsen//NetRatings, online news sites experienced the highest growth (40%) in unique audience during April compared with February; followed by Education sites (36%); Bank sites (27%) and Shopping (15%).

Growth of the Shopping category was offset by a marked decline in movie/event ticket booking sites, and a drop in traffic to some travel sites. Several online shopping sites have, however, continued to increase their audience in June.

"There is little doubt that Internet audiences post-SARS have reached significantly higher levels than before the epidemic," said Steyn. "The question now is whether these gains will be sustained in the longer term."