The State of the Buy & Sell Market in Hong Kong – 2016

Swapit has seen some phenomenal growth in the year 2016 that has just passed. Our community has increased significantly and the activity on our marketplace is growing day-by-day. To ensure, we are addressing the right audience, we keep a close eye on how our users are using Swapit, what’s useful, what can be improved and especially what kind of content they like.

While we already see growing traction across the globe, our core user base is still in Hong Kong. So we have gathered all the products being posted on Swapit in 2016 and looked at their categorization. There is an interesting shift from our previous analysis in March 2016, but please have a look yourself:


So our top 3 product categories are now:

  1. Fashion
  2. Jewelry & Watches
  3. Consumer Electronics

Compared to our previous chart from March 2016 that’s a bit of a shift. In March the top 3 categories were:

  1. Consumer Electronics
  2. Fashion
  3. Home Appliances

I am already excited how 2017 will turn out. We have some serious changes for Swapit in the making and our growth projections are even more exciting. Stay tuned for more on that!

Have you tried Swapit yet? Get it at:


Smartphone Shipments to Grow 5% in 2016 -APAC is Leading the Way

According to Canalys, global Smartphone shipments are set to grow by about 5% in 2016.


The great news about this report are the following growth projections for the APAC region:

  • China: ↗️ 13%
  • India: ↗️ 21%
  • Philippines: ↗️ 26%

Smart phone penetration in these markets remains low, meaning there is a big opportunity for vendors. Growth in established markets is harder to find[…]

Source Canalys Report on August 15, 2016.



swapit_marketing-chart-growSwapit is a true Asian startup. We’re based in Hong Kong – Asia’s World City – and we’ve launched here locally at first. From the onset, we’ve made it very clear that Swapit will go out of Hong Kong and into other markets. Swapit now supports 148 currencies, multi-locations, Android and iPhone and shows phenomenal growth locally in Hong Kong. Yet, we will definitely go out of Hong Kong and into other densely populated markets.

Smartphone growth rates in China, India and the Philippines are extremely encouraging for us. They clearly demonstrate that there is still a lot of growth left in those markets.

MOBILE ONLY … is the Swapit way to success.

swapit-blog_238-mobileFrom the onset, we wanted to build a truly mobile marketplace. We never even considered to have a full blown desktop website to publish your items, browse items and purchase them. We just believe the world is changing. While “web” is still in people’s minds and many people do like browsing website on a desktop computer (myself included), we also believe that the young generation out there will be truly mobile. Hong Kong for example has a smartphone penetration of more than 200%.

Think of it this way: In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Everyone born in the 90’s and 2000’s are now in their teens, 20’s and some are soon reaching their thirties. They have never experienced a day on this world without the Internet.

In many parts of the world like the above mentioned China, India and Philippines, people’s first – and probably only – contact with the Internet will be on their mobile phone. Many will probably won’t never own a proper desktop computer – maybe a laptop at some point, but pretty much all will own a smartphone. They are using it day in and out with extremely high engagement rates on their favorite apps.

We are building Swapit for that future. A future where mobility is everything, where consumers do all their major transactions on and with their phone, where online-to-offline (O2O) transactions are as common as buying a bottle of water at 7-eleven.


Have you tried Swapit yet? Give it a try:


iOS Users stay 4x longer in Swapit than Android Users

We recently updated Swapit for iOS with the feature to sell items through your iPhone. We’ve also updated our Android app too. In fact, we are constantly updating Swapit with workflow improvements, new features to make the live of our users better.

Now, we are also constantly looking at how our users use Swapit. A while ago I mentioned we are using Crashlytics for in-app analytics. After having the iPhone app on the App Store for a while and the Android app on Google Play for about a year, it is time to compare the two. Though, the number of Android users still exceeds by far the number of iPhone users, we have enough to do a meaningful comparison.

Retention Retention Retention

swapit_marketing-chart-growFor everyone, it is hard to acquire users. We are no exception to that. However, it is also hard – if not even harder – to retain them. We believe by providing a great platform from the onset and adding more and more value (i.e. through our constant app updates), we can retain our loyal users.

One metric we like to look at, is Session Length. Session Length means, how long are people in our app and for how long are they using it at each session. I.e. how long is each session in minutes and seconds. That’s rather easy to track, but at the time it’s an important indicator – especially for marketplace apps, like Swapit. If we have enough marketplace liquidity and the content in our marketplace (i.e. the items posted) are of interest to our users, then we can achieve a high session length. Interestingly, Android and iPhone users have a rather different usage pattern.

iPhone users stay 4x longer in Swapit than Android users.

To put that into numbers, yesterday on July 7th, 2016, the Median Session Lengths were:

  • Android: 29 seconds
  • iOS: 1 minute 54 seconds

Even when we’re looking at the whole period of the last 30 days, we can see that those numbers are pretty stable across each platform:

Android Session Length:


iOS Session Length:


We can even see a little uplift on Android over the past two weeks. I believe our core fan base on iOS are the first ones to use our iPhone app right away. I am talking about the great folks who signed up for the iOS beta even before it launched. Those are our most loyal users and they have much stronger relationship with Swapit, which in turn results in longer usage time. At the same time, on iOS we have a lot more of those in terms of overall percentage compared to Android. So therefore, I am assuming that has partly an effect on the higher session length. However, a 4x higher session length is a rather significant number.

swapit-blog-immediacyGlobal Comparison

Besides Crashlytics, we also use Flurry for in-app analytics. In there, we can also compare Swapit to the industry’s benchmark. With 30 seconds of median session length for “Shopping” apps worldwide, Swapit hits exactly the benchmark on Android. On iOS however, Swapit seems to beat the benchmark significantly.

Nature of Swapit Sessions

swapit_marketing-messagingIf you look at traditional shopping apps like eBay, Amazon, Lazada, etc. you will notice that they’re structured differently. They are B2C apps where you go into the app, search what you want, if you find it, you add it to your shopping cart, go to check out, enter your shipping address, check the price and shipping costs again, enter your credit card number and finally confirm the order.

On Swapit, though, the whole experience is different and much more engaging. Let’s say you find this beautiful Armlet and want to buy it from Julia, you’d hit “Chat to buy” and you’re ready to chat with her. You send a message and perhaps leave Swapit. Your session has ended. You leave the app and crush some candy. 20 seconds later Julia replies (she is usually super fast, I can definitely recommend her!), you receive a notification in your Notification Hub (Android) / Notification Center (iOS) and you go back into the app to confirm you’ll meet up with Julia and close the deal.  Thus, you just had a quick short session to send your message. So actually, some of Swapit’s sessions are much shorter due to the nature of the app with built-in chat. That kind of user behavior is not expected with the eBay, Amazon, Lazada kind of apps. Therefore, I am actually surprised we can even hit the shopping industry benchmark on Android.

The Future of Swapit Retention

Is bright 🙂

In fact, we are right working on putting more features in place that allows us to even increase our retention metrics and add more value to our users. There are of course, many other metrics we are looking at and they all have their individual purpose and meaning. It would take a little while to list them all here, but I am sure, I will share some more retention stats in future — especially with all great secret sauce we are currently brewing at the Swapit HQ.

Stay tuned for the next Swapit update. It might actually surprise you!

Have you tried Swapit yet? You can download it at:

iPhone Users: Do you kill apps?

Hey iPhone users, we have a very simple and quick question:


Why we ask

We are currently working on iPhone app and we’ve noticed some issues regarding to PUSH notifications that are sent to apps which have been killed by the user manually. Therefore, we’d like to find out how many of you are actually killing your apps manually. Your feedback will have direct impact on how we integrate our PUSH notification mechanism in Swapit on the iPhone and iPad.


Have you tried Swapit yet? It’s free. You can get it from

The State of the Second-Hand Trading Market in Hong Kong – March 2016

At almost every meeting I take, I am getting asked questions like these:

What are the most popular products on Swapit?

What pre-loved items do people trade?

While there’s not an easy answer to those rather simple questions, we can easily look at the category distribution in Swapit. Remember? We’ve got 18 free and 4 premium categories on Swapit. Usually, my standard answer is:

Our most popular product category is Fashion followed by Mobile Phones & Tablets.


swapit-blog_hkScepticism about Second-Hand Trading

From time to time I also get people telling me that they don’t believe there is a market for trading second hand goods in Hong Kong. Usually, those folks are more affluent clientele who personally would not consider purchasing anything second hand.

Personal View. I for my part have a quite distinct view on pre-loved goods. Certain products I would absolutely and already did purchase second hand. My usual example is my daughter’s car seat and her crib, but also a baby gym, a bouncer, a jumperoo, a play pen, mobile phones & tablets (for testing), furniture, a car and property. Yet, there are certain things I do not consider purchasing second hand: mobile phones & tablets (for personal use), computer hardware and cameras & lenses. That’s mainly due to the fact that I buy the best gadgets I can afford. So they’re either so high-spec that no one has them nor sells them. Furthermore, if you pay a small fortune for the highest spec MacBook Pro with all upgrades you can get, you better make sure you get it with as much warranty as possible.

Hong Kong View. The vast majority of local residents are inherently price sensitive. There is some part of Chinese culture that comes with a very distinct understanding of the value of money and that goes through all social layers. Yes, there are many young folks that go out all night, buy $50,000 bottles of champaign in a club (e.g. Boerl & Kroff Magnum), often spending their parents money, though. However, I reckon even they would haggle with you about $5 if you’d try to overcharge them for some soup noodles.

Quality is important, but price efficiency and a good price-value ratio is very important too. So yes, the majority of our traders on Swapit are local Hong Kong residents. Some of them speak some English, but most communicate in Chinese. Luckily Swapit can separate items by language so it’s easy for us non-Chinese speakers.

So while most of our traders are locals, it appears that trading second-hand goods is popular in Hong Kong. It is so popular, that we were actually able to collect a lot of data in that area and compile a great overview for everyone. Before we get to that, let’s look a little bit at some other aspects of trading.

After Work Trading. Once people leave work, eat dinner and arrive at home, that’s the most popular time when they post new items on Swapit. At the same time, we see a constant stream of communication (chat messages and comments) during the course of the day, from morning to late. Of course, during night time there is quite a low engagement time because most folks are asleep.

Signing Up During The Day. Sign ups of new traders usually happens during the course of the whole “awake” day. There is no particular time when more or less people sign up, so that’s quite interesting actually.

Now let’s take a deep dive look at the popular product categories for second hand goods in Hong Kong.


Most Popular Product Categories on Swapit

For the month of March 2016, we’ve taken a much closer look at that distribution and created a beautiful chart to visualize our most popular categories. Let’s have a look at it:


March 2016 Category Distribution on Swapit (click image to zoom)

So in March 2016 the most popular product category on Swapit was Consumer Electronics followed by Fashion and Home Appliances.

Fashion is particularly popular because we have a lot of fashionable female professionals using Swapit. They have great sense of fashion and like to trade dresses, shoes, hand bags jewellery and accessories. Consumer Electronics on the other hand is always a great product category. Mobile phones and tablets are popular nowadays and require an upgrade pretty much every year. The 1 year old devices usually still work fine and are in a decent condition. So it is just natural that their owners prefer to sell them to recover some of the cost of those devices.

Overall, we’re very excited about the prospects of trading pre-loved goods — especially with people nearby. Swapit is the only app that offers this and we are working on bringing other great benefits to Swapit very soon.


About the Chart Data

The chart above is based on the total number of items posted in March 2016 and put into relation to each other. Please note that the chart does not show the actual value posted in each category, but rather the number of items. We have also seen some people mistakingly posting their items in the wrong category which distorts the data a little bit. It is obvious in the chart above that the “Other” category has been heavily overused by many people even though chances to close a sale are much higher when posting an item in the correct category.

Perhaps in a month’s time, we will look at the same data again and see how preferences for trading pre-loved goods in Hong Kong has changed. For now it seems to be very promising and the number of items on Swapit are rapidly growing every day.


Have you used Swapit yet? It’s free. Download it from:

Research Infographic: Facebook Groups in Hong Kong and their Buy & Sell Activity – Week 1,2,3 Combined

Two weeks ago we published our first research infographic on trading activities in buy and sell groups on Facebook and shortly after the research results of week 2. Today it’s time to look at the results of week #3 and combine all three weeks into one result set. If you have seen our previous infographics, you will find this week’s one to be quite different, but yet similar.


So over this very short period of 3 weeks we saw the number of items that are being traded were stable. There was a continuous influx of new items being posted and the average price was more or less stable. The number of total inquiries increased correlated directly with number of members and items posted in such Facebook groups.

This is a very encouraging of an active trader market of pre-loved items. Since we launched our public beta of swapit about 2 weeks ago, our user base is growing rapidly as well. Our goal is to reach a widespread adoption like the those Facebook groups by providing a much better user experience to buyers and sellers – allowing them to trade easier and quicker.

If you haven’t used swapit yet, you can get it right here at:

The content in this article and its infographic is based on research done by Kevin Hsu of the swapit team.

Research Infographic: Facebook Groups in Hong Kong and their Buy & Sell Activity – Week 2

Last week we published our first research infographic on trading activities in buy and sell groups on Facebook. Today it’s time to look at the results of week #2. If you have seen our last infographic, you will find this week’s one to be very similar.

swapit_trade-stats_fb-2To quickly compare the results to last week we saw:

48 items more being posted (+20%)
$8 less in average item price (-1.5%)
10 more inquiries posted (+3.5%)
499 more members trading (+1%)

So over this very short period of 1 week we already saw an increase in the number of items that are being traded while the average price fell slightly and the number of total inquiries increased moderately at an increasing number of members in such Facebook groups.

These findings look very promising and we are confident our swapit will app will penetrate that market with huge success. Since we launched our public beta a week ago, our user base is growing rapidly as well.

If you haven’t used swapit yet, you can get it right here at:

The content in this article and its infographic is based on research done by Kevin Hsu of the swapit team.

Research Infographic: Facebook Groups in Hong Kong and their Buy & Sell Activity – Week 1

We at swapit believe there is a huge market for buying and selling second hand items in Hong Kong. So we have been talking a lot about how people are buying and selling such items, what their process is and how we can improve it through swapit.

It is also very interesting to look a bit deeper into what people are actually selling on Facebook groups for example. For that, we selected 5 Facebook groups and took a closer look at them. Yet, we know there are several dozen more groups on Facebook as well as Yahoo and there are other websites – some especially dedicated to such classifieds. As we needed to keep it manageable, we chose 5 Facebook groups and analyzed the trading activity that’s happening in such groups.

To make it easier to understand, we put together a nice infographic that visualizes our results. From a very selfish perspective, it helps us to grasp the vast size of this market. Though, we are also happy to share this insights with all of you. Feel free to have a look at the infographic:


The content in this article and its infographic is based on research done by Kevin Hsu of the swapit team.