Cappuccino is the most popular coffee bought by Hong Kong consumers, finds the research by Synovate. The firm spoke to 501 respondents in Hong Kong as part of a survey that also included consumers from Australia, Brazil, France, Morocco, Serbia, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Cappuccino, named as the favourite drink for 29 per cent of Hong Kong coffee consumers, is followed by mocha (24 per cent) ahead of regular coffee, preferred by 17 per cent of people surveyed.
"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 recognizable," said Synovate's managing director in Hong Kong, Jill Telford.
Although people in Hong Kong traditionally prefer tea, the launch of large coffee chains has created an established coffee culture in the city. And consumer opinion suggest the chains will continue to do well. According to the research, half of Hong Kong coffee drinkers say that coffee from large international chains is of better quality than coffee from small, independent shops, the second highest number globally, according to the research.
Hong Kong consumers also believe that the large multinational coffee chains provide greater choice. Only Moroccans (74 per cent) were more likely than Hong Kong consumers to prefer the quality of coffee at international chains, while Americans (14 per cent) and Australians (11 per cent) believe their small local coffee shops serve a better brew.
More than 60 per cent of Hong Kong residents said coffee giant Starbucks had the best quality coffee, with Pacific Coffee and Delifrance distant alternatives.
And despite claims that these large chains can affect the local culture of a city, only 11 per cent of Hong Kong respondents felt this was an issue compared to 44 per cent of Moroccans and 32 per cent of Australians.
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.
She added that many consumers adopt coffee-drinking 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," explained Telford.