China Business

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Chinese Consumers

international lawyer

I’m an international lawyer, not a marketer, but I know enough about marketing to know that this article, Brand Preference of the Chinese Affluent, [link no longer exists] is chock full of helpful information and — by extension — great insight into the Chinese consumer.

If you are selling a product or service in China or thinking of doing so, I urge you to read this report.

My main takeaways from the report are the following:

1. Affluent Chinese consumers prefer foreign brands because they see them as an assurance of quality.

2. Affluent Chinese consumers will buy Chinese brands with good reputations (e.g. Haier, Lenovo).

3. Affluent Chinese consumers are “surprisingly” free of nationalist sentiment when it comes to choosing their favorite brands.

4. Affluent Chinese consumers rank their favorite wines in the following order: French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Australian, German.

Noticeably absent are American wines, which reinforces what my law firm’s international lawyers have seen among our own winery clients (which is a mix of American, European and Australian producers): American wineries are too reticent about going into China and are on the verge of missing out on China’s rising wine consumption.

What are you seeing out there?

6 responses to “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Chinese Consumers”

  1. My experience is that the people who are more overtly nationalistic are, how to say, not too sharp?
    People who have traveled more and thought more know that different peoples have their own cultures, religions and characteristics which deserve treatment with respect. Being too loudly nationalistic about one’s own country and people can be taken the wrong way, as a back-handed put down of other countries, cultures and peoples.
    The world doesn’t need more of that…

  2. American wineries are too reticent? They’re doing a lot better than New Zealand wineries! When I browse the wine section of a large supermarket or a liquor store, I almost always walk out wishing I could grab NZ’s wine makers by their collective necks and physically beat some business sense into them.

  3. I think one has to be careful about asserting a non-linkage between nationalism and branding. The question I think that most nationalistic Chinese do ask themselves is “how does buying a local brand help China become a rich and powerful country?” and the answer is “it doesn’t.”
    If you look at the brands that do well, they all have extensive factories in China, and one can make a strong argument that by buying a good foreign brand, one is increasing China’s technological edge as these foreign companies do technology transfers to local companies.

  4. Most of the best California wines never make it out of California – because the wines are from small wineries (e.g. J Fritz, V Sattui) that sell all they make without advertising, and aren’t interested in becoming huge.
    Of course, if the large US wineries aren’t advertising, then they need to get their act together – then again, one of the largest (Beringer) is owned by an Australian company (Bass)

  5. @MAJ – Is that where you bought this stuff?.
    Myself? I’m surprised to see France top of the list. Whilst you can get some great wine over there, you can also get some of the worst vin de gasol in the world – French wine can be a bit of a crap shoot due to the small size of a lot of the vineyards. South African, Californian, Chilean and a lot of other new world wines are a lot more reliable.
    Chinese wine? Maybe one of these days, but it’s going to take a lot of expertise from places with a greater tradition of making wine to get it into the top twenty.

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