Carol Huang
Aug 3, 2020

Hong Kong consumers' preferences mostly steady in an unsettled year

ASIA's TOP 1000 BRANDS: Maxim's and Standard Chartered made the biggest moves in Hong Kong's top 100 brands, while social-media apps took on increasing importance.

A Maxims restaurant damaged during the protests in 2019.
A Maxims restaurant damaged during the protests in 2019.


For such a dynamic metropolis, Hong Kong has a tendency to stick with what works. The city's culture remains remarkably consistent over the decades, and Hong Kong consumers have a taste for the classics when it comes to the brands they choose. They run after the latest fads less than you might think, and they refuse to give up quality.

Due to the above reasons, people in Hong Kong seem relatively consistent about the top brands they prefer. In this year's top 100 Hong Kong brands ranking, part of our Asia's Top 1000 Brands report, the top 10 remains almost unchanged.

Samsung is once again the top brand, as it is across the whole region, while Apple rose to second, swapping with Panasonic. Watsons—the only local brand that made to top 10—improved by one spot to eighth. Electronics and appliance maker Philips slid from eighth to ninth.

Although the research period (February 21 to March 19) only overlapped with the start of the pandemic, personal care and convenience-food brands saw a notable bump. Two Japanese brands both moved up three slots on the list. Personal care brand Kao, the 19th favourite among Hong Kong consumers last year, rose to 16th this year as people became more aware of taking care of themselves. And Nissin made its way into the top 20 at 19th as more people are stockpiling easy and durable food at home. Nissin is also actively supporting local athletes and became the sponsor for Hong Kong's Olympic team in early 2020.

The biggest moves on the upper part of the list were made by social-media brands, perhaps due to the social unrest in the city and the pandemic. WeChat made a jump of 60 to reach 38th. Instagram also moved up 32 spots to 93rd. WhatsApp, which appears for the first time because we added a category for messaging apps, is the most popular app of all, ranking 25th among Hong Kong consumers.

Within the top 100 list, those that lifted 10 places or more include, in descending order:

Heinz (31st) up 13
LG (33rd) up 16
Pocari Sweat (37th) up 10
UNIQLO (40th) up 10
Park n Shop (47th) up 12
FedEx (48th) up 113
DHL (52nd) up 16
Dove (57th) up 10
Nescafe (59th) up 21
Extra (60th) up 10
Pampers (65th) up 12
Circle K (69th) up 32
Sunkist (74th) up 26
CSL (76th) up 48
Shell (79th) up 18
Virgin (80th) up 24
Avis (81st) up 30
Huggies (83rd) up 23
Honda (87th) up 35
Tao Ti (89th) up 13
Standard Chartered Bank (91st) up 70
Instagram (93th) up 32

The rise of e-commerce drove up brand awareness of couriers to the benefit of FedEx, which had the most dramatic move upward. 

Standard Chartered’s notable rise is in accordance with expectations. Apart from the continuous support on the city’s annual marathon race, the bank also formed a partnership with The University of Hong Kong to cultivate talent in the region and formed a joint venture to offer 'virtual' banking in Hong Kong. As old-fashioned bricks-and-mortar banks still take the majority of the financial services in the city, this is quite an adventurous move and made an impression among young consumers.

Within the top 100 list, those that fell 10 places or more include, in descending order:

Kraft (26th) down 10
Starbucks (30th) down 12
Yahoo (54th) down 25
Toshiba (62nd) down 14
Taobao (68th) down 17
Siemens (71st) down 14
English Premier League (75th) down 10
Lion (77th) down 16
BMW (78th) down 45
Cathay Pacific (86th) down 22
Maxims (92nd) down 57
Lotte (94th) down 15
Hang Seng Bank (96th) down 11
Armani (97th) down 26
H&M (99th) down 27
Bonaqua (100th) down 24

Among the brands that lost ground, the most dramatic downfall is that of Maxims, the local restaurant, cakeshop and catering brand. The longtime local institution got caught up in the city’s social unrest when a member of the founding family made political comments, causing the brand to lose favour.

BMW dropped 45 spots, the second biggest descent among the top 100 brands. This is perhaps not surprising as the automaker is putting more focus on the mainland market.

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