Firms spend 12pc more on adverts in first quarter

Cosmetics and skincare industry sets pace as marketing drives reach HK$9.6 billion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 April, 2013, 7:23am

Advertising spending in the first quarter rose moderately to reach almost HK$10 billion, led by campaigns from the cosmetics and skincare industry.

Data published yesterday by media-monitoring firm admanGo showed spending grew 12 per cent to HK$9.6 billion in the January-March period, compared with HK$8.6 billion a year earlier.

That performance was in line with the conservative expectations of the market for this year.

A recent survey conducted by the Hong Kong Advertising Association and market-measurement firm Nielsen found that marketers saw a modest increase in advertising expenditure this year, as concerns remained about the lingering economic uncertainty.

Despite that outlook, marketers were positive on the mainland's economy. Opportunities cited in the industry survey, published in February, included the steady influx of mainland visitors to Hong Kong and the yuan's appreciation.

Advertisers in the first quarter spent 93 per cent of their budgets in campaigns over traditional media outlets, including on television, newspapers, magazines, outdoor billboards and radio.

But Jennifer Ma, the director of sales and marketing at admanGo, said spending declined last month "as most advertisers retreated from the aggressive marketing during the [Lunar New Year] holiday".

Expenditure by the cosmetics and skincare industry in the first quarter rose 15 per cent year on year to HK$855 million to lead all advertising categories, according to admanGo.

The banking and investment services industry, once the perennial top advertising category, ranked second with an 11 per cent increase in spending to HK$843 million.

It was followed by the pharmaceuticals and health-care industry, which raised spending by 9 per cent to HK$734 million.

In terms of the biggest year-on-year gain posted by category last quarter, the beverages industry grew 59 per cent to HK$469 million.

Global beverages giant Coca-Cola, for example, boosted spending on local campaigns for its line of carbonated drinks by 85 per cent.

The city's leading advertiser for the first three months of the year was Procter & Gamble (P&G), the American multinational consumer goods company. The company's spending climbed 35 per cent to HK$249 million.

Brands under P&G included Olay, Head & Shoulders, Whisper, Pampers, Gillette and Duracell.

Paris-based L'Oreal Group, the world's largest supplier of cosmetics and beauty products, was the second biggest advertiser, with expenditure 13 per cent higher at HK$200 million.

Its brands included Lancome, Body Shop, Shue Uemura, Kiehl's and Helena Rubinstein.

AS Watson Group, a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, was the city's third-leading advertiser. Spending by the world's largest operator of health and beauty retail stores grew 23 per cent to HK$146 million.