Matthew Miller
Jul 9, 2018

Hong Kong's Top 100 brands for 2018

The city's consumers appear restless and willing to part with tradition, particularly when it comes to fashion and cosmetics.

Brands with their names in lights.
Brands with their names in lights.

This look at Hong Kong's Top 100 brands is part of Campaign Asia-Pacific's Asia's Top 1000 Brands report. For more on Hong Kong and the status of Hong Kong brands according to our research, see the full Hong Kong market report.

This year's top 100 brands list for Hong Kong shows an unusual amount of volatility. For example, there are four new members of the top 10—a couple of which made double-digit jumps. However, the most interesting and dramatic changes occur further down in the list.

The top 10

  2017 2018
1 Apple Samsung
2 Samsung Apple
3 Panasonic Panasonic
4 Sony Sony
5 Nestle Nestle
6 Meiji Chanel
7 Nike Johnson & Johnson
8 LG Hitachi
9 Coca-Cola Google

Apple and Samsung switched spots, while Panasonic, Sony, Nestle and HSBC maintained their spots.

New joiners: Chanel rose from 19th in 2017, but seems to be an exception amongst luxury and fashion brands (more on that later). Johnson & Johnson (11th in 2017) is one of several personal care brands that rose, while Hitachi (21) is increasingly popular for its home appliances, including the all-important air conditioners. Google's rise from 15 mirrors its performance among consumers Asia-wide.

Departing the top 10: Nike (16) tumbled despite Hong Kong being a strong NBA market. Coca-Cola (14) and Meiji (11) saw modest drops. LG (49), in opposition to Hitachi, is apparently not getting much traction with its small appliances or electronics and didn't have an impactful phone release; it fell 41 places.  

What are you wearing?

The clearest signal to emerge in this year's top 100, given Hong Kong's well-known affinity for western fashion brands in the past, is a loss of enthusiasm for several stalwarts of the sector.

Gucci (87) endured a painful 71-spot slide, Burberry (65) slipped 13 spots, and both Christian Dior (down 52 spots to 108th) and Louis Vuitton (down 14 spots to 106th) crashed out of the top 100. Though not a luxury label, Calvin Klein also fell a precipitous 78 slots to 109th. You can probably throw Nike (see above) and Adidas (35), which dropped 23 spots, into this collection of falling fashion labels.

The top 100 research is mute on where Hong Kongers are putting their fashion fandom, unless you count the incredible rise of Uniqlo (28), which rocketed upward an impressive 109 spots. More likely, luxury and fashion affinity is being split among a greater profusion of brands rather than concentrated in a few powerhouses.

Top-tier western jewellery brands appear to be maintaining their appeal, though. Cartier (76) rose 18 spots and Rolex (43) improved by 18. They were joined in the top 100 by a local entrant, Chow Tai Fook (71), which rose 50 spots.

Who makes the makeup?

Hong Kong has long been looking to its Asian neighbors for cosmetics, and the trend seemed to accelerate this year, with two major western brands disappearing from the top 100: Lancome (121) fell 55 spots and Olay (127) by 64. Again, this brand equity does not seem to be moving to any brands in particular: Shiseido (25) and SK-II (75) only moved by one notch each from 2017. Japanese brand Kao (17) rose 39 spots, but the survey can't tell us whether that's due to the company's self-named brand or its many other brands, which include Biore, Ascience and Sofina.

Thirst quenchers

The Coca-Cola Company can drown its sorrows about the drop for its flagship name (see above) with bottled water—specifically, its Bonaqua brand (81), which rose 36 spots.

When it comes to the most important drink of the day, coffee, local(ish) brand Pacific Coffee (38) rose six spots and gained some ground(s) on Starbucks (22), which fell by nine positions. But the surprise winner was Nescafe, which joins the top 100 at 83rd, having risen 61 spots.

A proliferation of whisky-education shops in the city may have impacted perennially popular cognac Hennessy (129), which departs the top 100 after losing 58 spots.

The most astonishing change among things one drinks? Lucozade (79), which rocketed up by an astonishing 285 spots. Whether this indicates a growing love of sporting activities or a particularly nasty cold and flu season is not a question the data can answer.

Oddly, considering that drinking beverages remains a popular activity, the two places Hong Kong people visit most often to buy said beverages both suffered greatly in this year's rankings: 7-Eleven (56) slipped 28 places, while Circle K (98) fell 48 spots.

Drinks for cars

The petrol sector proved explosive. Caltex (30) sprinted forward by 71 places, leaving Shell (116), which fell 72 spots, in its rearview mirror. Also-ran Esso (128) left the top 100 after falling 49 spots.

But what about the ferris wheel?

In insurance, Manulife (94) has clearly made more of an impression on Hong Kongers than rival AIA (120), despite the latter's sponsorship of an annual carnival and Hong Kong's big waterfront ferris wheel. The former brand gained 35 spots, while the latter dropped 43, leaving the top 100.

Buying online

Though not yet an official player in the market, Amazon (37) made an impressive gain of 41 spots, while Taobao (49) rose by 27.

Meanwhile, WeChat (101) is knocking on the door of the top 100, having risen 25 spots. Long a favourite for its local-language content, Yahoo (26) saw its rank decline by nine spots.

Conspicuously absent from not just the top 100 but from the entire Hong Kong ranking is Netflix, which despite a solid attempt apparently can't make inroads against existing services and illegal boxes, which are reportedly used by a quarter of the population.

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