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Synovate survey shows coffee culture now firmly established in Hong Kong


25 October 2006 - HONG KONG — Coffee culture is thriving in Hong Kong with close to one third of residents now purchasing ready-to-drink coffee outside of the home and cappuccino the leading coffee of choice according to leading global market research company, Synovate.

In a study that sought to illuminate the culture of coffee around the globe, Synovate spoke to 501 respondents in Hong Kong to determine their coffee drinking habits. A further 5,305 people were also surveyed in the markets of Australia, Brazil, France, Morocco, Serbia, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Coffee has firmly established itself as a popular beverage among traditional tea drinking Hong Kong consumers, with 32% of Hong Kong residents now purchasing ready-to-drink coffee outside of the home.

Cappuccino is the coffee of choice, named as the favourite drink for 29% of Hong Kong coffee consumers, followed by mocha (24%) and regular coffee (17%).

Synovate Managing Director Hong Kong, Jill Telford, said the launch of large coffee chains had cemented the development of a coffee culture in Hong Kong.

“The establishment and rapid expansion of large, western coffee chains has helped drive the coffee drinking culture in Hong Kong, supplementing the tea-drinking traditions that are so strong here,” she said.

“Given that many Hong Kong consumers are relative novices to coffee when compared to populations in other countries, drinks like cappuccino and mocha are preferred as they are relatively diluted, sweet coffees that suit local palates and are easily recognisable.”

When it comes to taste, half of Hong Kong coffee drinkers agree that coffee from large international chains is of better quality than coffee from small, independent shops, the second highest number globally after Morocco (74%).

Hong Kong consumers also believe such stores provide further benefits with 78% agreeing that large multinational coffee chains are good because they provide greater choice for consumers.

Only Moroccans (74%) were more likely than Hong Kong consumers to prefer the quality of coffee at international chains, while Americans (14%) and Australians (11%) believe their small local coffee shops serve a better brew.

When asked which coffee shop or café first comes to mind for quality, ready-to-drink coffee, a majority of Hong Kong residents (63%) named the ubiquitous coffee giant Starbucks with Pacific Coffee (6%) and Delifrance (2%) distant alternatives.

Despite claims that these large chains can affect the local culture of a city, only 11% of Hong Kong respondents felt this was an issue compared to 44% of Moroccans and 32% of Australians.

Supporting this finding, a modest 20% of Hong Kong residents said that they can’t face the day without a morning cup of coffee, compared to the average of 56% across all countries surveyed, while only 12% stated that they usually drink coffee throughout the day (global average 55%).

Ms Telford said local residents generally welcome big business and that this had helped the coffee culture that these large chains foster find its own place alongside Hong Kong traditions.

“Asians are much more accepting and tolerant of big companies, supporting their investment dollars and job creation, and don’t have the almost automatic negative reaction to big business that respondents in the west seem to have,” she said.

"Coffee consumption in Hong Kong has certainly grown rapidly, especially as an afternoon pick-me-up, but it has found its own place alongside the popular milk tea morning drink and the many varieties of traditional Chinese tea that so many residents still drink throughout the day.

“Furthermore, with 58% of coffee consumers in Hong Kong agreeing that the main reason they go to a chain coffee shop or café is to hang out with friends and not for the actual coffee itself, it’s clear that for this intrinsically social population, coffee is not just a drink but an overall experience whose culture is thriving.”

About Synovate

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 5,500 staff in 108 cities across 50 countries.

For more information on Synovate visit


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