Advertisers find early momentum, but will it continue?

Hong Kong advertisers spent HK$6.4 billion in the first two months of 2014, a 4% jump on the past year.

The strong start to the year follows a robust 2013, which saw full year spending hit $43 billion, driven by the likes of Procter & Gamble and the Dairy Farm Group.

Holiday spending around Chinese New Year was a major contributor ($3.6 billion) this year and media buyers agree the market should not be overly excited.

"It is a good result, but I would say let's look ahead with cautious optimism," Paul Gibbins, Leader at Mindshare Hong Kong, said.

Ray Wong, chief executive officer at PHD, added that if rate cut inflation was taken into consideration, a more accurate picture of the first two months would be a 4% drop.

He said outdoor vendors were finding the early months of 2014 tough, as are main newspaper titles.

"Out-of-home and print have got some issues," he said.

But Wong stressed the FIFA World Cup, which runs from June to July, would signal a return to form.

Despite this, there was still strong spending for various quarters of the Hong Kong economy, with the food industry and the likes of Colgate-Palmolive increasing their spending significantly.

The Dairy Farm Group emerged as the biggest advertiser, increasing spend by 22% to $162.4 million.

Some 55% of that directed to Wellcome supermarkets, a brand which increased its mobile spend 12 times year-on-year.

Mannings, another brand under the Dairy Farm Group, saw its ad budget jump 44%.

Overall, took the lions share of $6.4 billion, but admanGo said mobile adspend "skyrocketed", taking a 2% share of overall spend.

The beauty, slimming and fitness category saw a drastic increase in mobile adspend, jumping to the fourth rank in mobile spenders after its 17th position in 2013.