05 Aug Demand For Global Brands Increasing In China
Posted at 07:38h
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by Andy Polk
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) released results of a survey showing that mainland China’s emerging middle class overwhelmingly favors international brands, even if they know they are made on the mainland.
The “Mainland Middle-Class Consumer Survey” was conducted by the HKTDC from December 2012 to January 2013 in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Shenyang, Nanjing and Changzhou. In all, 1,600 consumers were interviewed to understand how middle-class consumption and city lifestyles among different tiers are affected by social changes such as improved transportation and accelerated urbanisation.
HKTDC Deputy Director of Research (Greater China) Pansy Yau says that the mainland middle class is increasingly concerned with product and service quality. They are seeking more online shopping options and are pursuing products that will help them express their personal style.
The survey, which focused on opportunities for Hong Kong exporters, showed that 81 per cent of respondents have bought international brands in the past year, and 76 per cent agreed with the statement “I give first priority to quality.” In addition, 80 per cent have indicated that in the past year, they have made excursions to neighbouring cities and as many as 85 per cent have shopped online.
The middle class remains enthusiastic about international brand-name products. Among respondents, 85 per cent have bought international branded products in the past year, with garments topping the category (74 per cent). They are also inclined to buy branded products, with more than half (52 per cent) of respondents agreeing with the statement “I prefer using well-known branded products even though they are more expensive.” Among branded products, middle-class consumers generally prefer imported brands and J-V brands, with 60 per cent agreeing that “I prefer joint-venture products to domestic products even though both are produced on the mainland.”
Emphasis on quality growing
Mainland middle-class consumers are also paying more attention to quality, with 76 per cent of respondents agreeing that “I give first priority to quality,” indicating that consumers are becoming more sophisticated regarding “authenticity” and “quality of after-sale service.” Of respondents, 68 per cent agree that “sales staff knowledge about the product/service is very important to me in making my buying decision”. Furthermore, their frequency of buying organic products has increased significantly as 76 per cent of respondents agree that “I am willing to pay more for green products.”
Social networks are key influencers
Where marketing is concerned, the Internet and social networks have a definite influence on middle-class consumption. In addition to the fact that the majority of respondents (83 per cent) have shopped online, more than half (58 per cent) agree that “I would make use of instant-messaging software or social networks to share my good or not-so-good experience in consumption.” Though TV is the channel through which most respondents obtain information, “sharing among relatives/friends/colleagues” is the most effective, thus, creating word-of-mouth publicity will be a key marketing strategy.
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