HONG KONG: It has been recognised for some time that consumers in Hong Kong respond positively to Japanese products and trends – such as music, movies and games – but new evidence points to a shift in sentiment towards those from Korea.

According to research firm Nielsen, spending on Japanese products in the territory is still 30% more than for Korean products, yet one-third of respondents in a poll of Hong Kong consumers aged 18 to 54 expect to increase their spending on Korean products in the near future.

Although Nielsen did not supply a survey sample for its Japanese and Korean Trends report, it said that – for the first time – more than half of respondents believe Korean trends will continue to be popular in the near future.

This is especially the case among millennials, 80% of whom are open to Korean trends, as well as those on higher incomes of more than HK$25,000, who are more likely to have visited Korea twice within the last year.

According to Nielsen, the key drivers behind the rising popularity of Korean trends are entertainment (76%), followed by fashion and personal care (71%), with millennials being the target customers.

In addition, Hong Kong consumers are reported to be more open to Korean food, which Nielsen says offers up further opportunities for brands.

In its advice to Korean brands seeking to make further inroads in Hong Kong, Nielsen said that consumers there value Korean products that most suit their needs (41%), are trendy (34%), innovative (31%) and are of high product quality (31%).

“With the Korean market slow emerging in Hong Kong, Korean brands can succeed and win Hong Kong customers’ buy-in by being more customer focused, showing emphasis on product quality and charging a premium with innovation,” said Michael Lee, managing director of Nielsen Hong Kong & Macau. “This will certainly open up a new market for opportunities to come.”

Sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff