Apple Becomes Second Biggest Brand in Asia

Campaign Asia-Pacific has just published its 2012 Asia’s Top Brands report – a list of the most popular brands in Asia based on a survey of 4,800 consumers across the continent. Campaign Asia-Pacific has produced the report for the last nine years in conjunction with Nielsen, charting the top 1000 most popular brands among Asian consumers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 11, 2012. Apple has recently overtaken Sony as Asia's #2 brand. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

This year’s report has seen Apple climb to the number two spot for the first time – although it is still behind competitor Samsung which has taken the top spot from Sony. Sony has now dropped down to third place, followed by Nestlé in fourth and Panasonic in fifth. Apart from Nestlé, the top five spots are all held by electronics firms.

This is the third consecutive year that electronics firms have dominated the rankings. Nielsen’s Therese Glennon has suggested that this demonstrates the high involvement Asian consumers have with handheld devices and entertainment electronics. The rankings have also seen an increase in luxury brands, suggesting that Asian consumers increasingly have more disposable income to hand as Asian economies boom.

Regarding Samsung’s top spot, Zayn Khan, CEO Asia-Pacific of FutureBrand, told Campaign Asia-Pacific, “Samsung has a product almost everywhere you look, from mobile to appliances to cameras. They spend heavily on media, which helps the brand be even more pervasive.”

Nielsen, who co-conducted the study, estimates that Samsung spent $866 million on advertising in Asia in 2011 alone. By comparison, Apple is only just beginning to penetrate many Asian markets, most notably China. Apple is rumoured to be planning to invest much more heavily in the Chinese market in the coming year, and has plans to include support for China Mobile’s proprietary TD-SCDMA 3G network in the upcoming iPhone 5.

Apple has also just agreed to pay $60 million to Proview for the iPad trademark in China to help expand its tablet range in Asia. The rise of Apple to the second most popular brand in Asia suggests that many Asian consumers are turning away from local brands in favour of global brands. It is also an indication that many global electronics companies are looking to Asia to expand their businesses as existing markets become saturated.

The report is based on a survey of 4800 consumers in 12 key Asian markets, covering 14 different product categories and 73 subcategories. Respondents were asked to name the most important brand for each category, with results weighted to account for age, gender and household income.