Hong Kong advertising spending hits record on second-half rebound

Cautious mood in the first half makes way for a strong comeback, with the industry booking 9pc growth for last year with HK$43.1b take

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 1:35am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 1:35am

Advertising spending in Hong Kong reached a record high HK$43.1 billion last year, with campaigns roaring back to steady growth from July to December.

Banking and investment services topped all industry categories in expenditure over the past 12 months, while Procter & Gamble (P&G) was the city's leading advertiser, according to data published yesterday by media monitoring company admanGo.

Total advertising in the city last year advanced 9 per cent from HK$39.6 billion in 2012, which reflected the modest annual increase predicted in February last year by the Hong Kong Advertising Association.

The association had cited lingering concerns in the economy, which became apparent in the first half of last year when many major companies slashed their marketing budgets.

Samsung Electronics, for example, cut its advertising budget in most media outlets, according to admanGo. The most significant cuts made by the Korean consumer electronics giant were in newspapers and television, which decreased by 21 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

Despite its conservative outlook, the association said marketers remained positive on China's economy, including a steady influx of mainland visitors to Hong Kong and the yuan's appreciation.

Jennifer Ma, the director of sales and marketing at admanGo, pointed out that advertising revenue grew in all traditional media outlets. Campaigns in television, newspapers, magazines, outdoor billboards and radio comprised 91 per cent of all advertising spending last year.

Growth in online and mobile advertising, however, rose significantly, Ma said. For example, advertisers in the top-10 industry categories last year invested about HK$351 million in mobile campaigns.

"Banking and investment services spent the most in mobile," Ma said. This industry category initiated campaigns worth HK$75 million, up 235 per cent from a year ago.

HSBC, Promise Finance and Citibank led overall advertising spending in the banking and investment services category, which grew 16 per cent year on year to HK$4.2 billion.

The cosmetics and skincare industry recorded the second-largest amount of advertising expenditure last year. This group's spending climbed 10 per cent year on year to HK$3.6 billion, with L'Oreal Group and Estée Lauder among its most prominent advertisers.

The pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry posted a 12 per cent increase in campaigns to HK$3.3 billion, led by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

P&G, the US multinational consumer goods manufacturer, was Hong Kong's No 1 advertiser for the third consecutive year. Its total campaigns rose 11 per cent year on year to HK$955 million.