28 June 2007
Hong Kong consumer sentiment is at an all-time high, with confidence levels rebounding to 1997 levels, yet underlying changes have been observed in the minds and lifestyles of the 7-million Hong Kong people over the past decade.
The Nielsen Company today released its latest report “Hong Kong since the Handover” reviewing the changes in HK consumers’ lifestyles and attitudes, and the development of the retailing and media industries over the past decade.
“The past decade has been historic for Hong Kong, not only because 2007 marks 10 years since the sovereignty of Hong Kong was returned to the Chinese government but also because Hong Kong people have experienced a lifestyle roller coaster ride over the same period,” said Kenneth Chan, Associate Director, Customized Research, The Nielsen Company. “Along with a challenging economic environment came the dot.com bubble and burst, and the rapid development of technology which has played a major role in shaping the lifestyles of Hong Kong people.”
The Changing Consumer Lifestyles
As the Nielsen Report reveals, Hong Kong people today are at their most technology-savvy ever, when compared with 10 years ago:
- 95 percent of Hong Kong consumers own at least one mobile phone today, compared with 35 percent back then
- 81 percent owns a desktop computer versus 38 percent in those days
- 18 percent owns a laptop/notebook computer tripling that of 10 years ago…
And in recent years,
- the increasing popularity of digital cameras at 58 percent ownership today, doubling that of four years ago in 2003
- the fast penetration of MP3 from just four percent in 2001 to 41 percent today, and more recently the introduction of the iPod which has simply tripled in ownership from three percent in 2005 to nine percent in 2006.
The Nielsen Report also found two major trends among Hong Kong consumers who have become more health conscious and convenience-driven than ever before. “A global ageing trend, various health scares and the toughest working conditions in the past decade have been wake-up calls for many consumers, who have become more health conscious on the one hand, and more reliant on ready to eat/grab-and-go meals on the other, giving rise to the health, beauty and wellness concept and the rapid development of Convenience stores, chain Drug stores and sales of health-related products,” commented Mr Chan.
Over the past 10 years Hong Kong’s retailing structure has undergone a major shift where Convenience stores have become part of everyone’s life with 143 percent growth in store numbers. Similarly, the number of Drug stores has also recorded an increase of 138 percent. The change in Hong Kong people’s lifestyles is also reflected in the mix of the types of restaurants in Hong Kong. While Chinese and Quick Service Restaurants remain core options for dining out, Japanese restaurants have recoded an increasing importance with the number of outlets growing by 109 percent from 1997 to 2005.
“A more healthy and convenient consumer trend is found in the sales of various food items including the sales of Lingzhi, Throat Drops, Cereal, Nutritional Supplements for health related items and Frozen Dim Sum, and Instant Noodles meeting the convenience needs.”
“It’s worth noting that while many see a closer relationship with mainland China benefiting the business environment of Hong Kong, we have also observed an increasing influence of Chinese brands in HK consumers’ daily lives reflected mainly in the sales of staple items such as diary products and tissue papers,” Mr Chan added.
Changes in HK People’s Attitudes, the Happy Crowd Gets Happier
The Nielsen Report also looked into the change in Hong Kong peoples attitudes, who were found to have experienced major changes in their personal values. In 1997, Family, Money, Health and Love were the most important personal values, whereas today, Health has surpassed Family and Money to become the most important value for 84 percent of Hong Kong people, followed by Family and Money. The importance of ‘love and romance’ now ranks 6th, superseded by ‘Quality of Living’ which now ranks 3rd.
Compared to 10 years ago,
- Over half of Hong Kong people feel happy today (Table 3), led by
- 56 percent of female
- 61 percent of people with a monthly personal income of HK$20,000+
- About half noted an increase in monthly income over the past ten years led by 66 percent of those with a monthly personal income of HK$20,000+
- 68 percent thought their personal financial situation had improved since 1997, led by 77 percent of the $20,000+ monthly income earners.
- 40 percent see a more positive sentiment in the Hong Kong market today led by 45 percent of those who earn a personal monthly income of $20,000 or more.
- Yet, only a third are proud of being a Hong Konger led by 42 percent of youths aged 18-24 and 38 percent of females,
- while about 40 percent had no comments; those in their mid forties and fifties were least proud of being a Hong Konger.
- Less than a third think Hong Kong is more competitive today, with nearly half (49%) thinking it less competitive than before, felt most strongly among those high income earners,
- Looking ahead, 42 percent of Hong Kong people are confident about their home market in the next 10 years, led by 54 percent of those aged 18-24 and 45 percent of females (Table 4).
“The findings clearly shows a stronger and more positive sentiment among the high personal income group and the young generation,” observed Mr Chan. “Not only are the rich getting richer, but they are also the most happiest crowd among all income groups while the low income group continues to struggle for a better quality of life.”
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions and recognized brands in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek), trade shows and the newspaper sector (Scarborough Research). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands and New York, USA. For more information, please visit, www.nielsen.com.
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