David Blecken
Jun 12, 2017

How Japanese brands are faring in Asia

As part of our Asia’s Top 1000 Brands 2017 coverage, here’s a look at the positioning of major Japanese brands in a regional context, based on consumer perception across 13 markets.

How Japanese brands are faring in Asia

As part of our Asia’s Top 1000 Brands 2017 coverage, here’s a look at the positioning of major Japanese brands in a regional context, based on consumer perception across 13 markets.

The past few years have seen Japanese companies step up marketing activities in Asia with mixed success. Much has been made of the challenges these companies face and the need to change their structure to be more global, rather than Japanese, in their approach.

Yet in big picture terms, Japanese brands are in pretty good shape, according to Campaign’s Asia’s Top 1000 Brands study. Nielsen conducts the research annually on Campaign’s behalf to gauge Asian consumers’ perception of brands across all major sectors. Among the top 100 regional brands, nearly a quarter are Japanese. In the top 10, while Canon has fallen out, Sony and Panasonic have occupied third and fifth place respectively for the past two years.

At the same time, most have slipped slightly, which indicates companies are right to fight against complacency. Nikon fell the most, from 24 to 91. Brands that have risen within the top 100 include, Sharp, the Nintendo Wii, 7-Eleven and Kao (see below).

Japanese brands in Asia’s top 100 ranking:

Brand 2017 rank 2016 rank
Sony 3 3
Panasonic 5 5
Canon 12 8
Toshiba 18 17
Sony PS 23 19
Meiji 21 18
Sharp 25 29
Honda 32 28
Hitachi 34 31
Shiseido 35 32
Yamaha 44 44
Nintendo Wii 45 48
Mitsubishi Motors 52 50
7-Eleven 55 56
Bridgestone 64 57
Epson 78 65
Toyota 70 68
Nissin 81 76
SK-II 82 80
Kao 89 101
Nikon 91 24
Morinaga 95 104

As the world’s biggest car company, Toyota is the strongest brand in its individual sector, above BMW and Mercedes. Honda and Nissan are also among the top 10 car brands. Yet the overall regional ranking (not limited to car brands) shows a big discrepancy between these three Japanese carmakers. Honda is in fact the highest-ranked automotive brand, at 32. Toyota is ranked at 70, while Nissan is a distant 464.

Despite all its recent woes, Samsung continues to dominate the consumer electronics category, but Sony and Panasonic are close behind in second and third place. Sharp, Toshiba and Hitachi also make the category’s top 10. In the overall ranking by market (not limited to consumer electronics brands), Samsung and Apple are on top. Samsung is the leading brand overall in Korea, Singapore, Australia, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Apple comes top in China, Hong Kong and even Taiwan, where it has at last toppled Sony from a long period in the lead.

Japan is of course also known for its convenience stores, and 7-Eleven and FamilyMart dominate the sector regionally as one might expect. In the overall Top 1000 ranking (not limited to convenience store brands), 7-Eleven is at 55 and FamilyMart at 176, both slight increases on last year.

Finally, Japanese Airline carriers also rose slightly. In the overall ranking, Japan Airlines is at 258, up from 270; and ANA is at 363, up from 385. In the airline category specifically, they rank fourth and sixth respectively. Singapore Airlines is still the brand to beat, followed by Emirates and Cathay Pacific.

Read about the performance of brands in the Japan market here.

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