Brand names matter in China

30 March 2012

BEIJING: Affluent consumers in China consider brands to be the most important sign of quality when buying new products, research has revealed.

The Industrial Bank, the financial services group, and the Hurun Research Institute, the insights provider, stated there are 2.7m high net worth individuals with assets topping RMB6m in China.

More specifically, there are 63,500 "ultra high net worth individuals" in the country boasting assets of RMB100m or more, a figure that should rise as the economy continues to expand

The two firms also polled 878 affluent shoppers, 46% of which favoured "moderate consumption". Another 36% liked buying green products, 30% based purchases around personal interests and 23% linked their buying habits to "self-improvement".

A further 51% of respondents agreed "brands are a guarantee of quality" and 14% gave price the same status. An additional 35% asserted that quality mattered more than the manufacturer or how much it cost.

Some 61% of the panel said the web was their main source of information about consumer products, hitting 51% for TV, 50% for magazines and 49% for word of mouth. Newspapers were next on 43%.

When discussing media usage as a whole, 67% of the sample regularly went online, with Sina, Sohu and Tencent their favoured sites. Exactly 40% had also signed up to weibo, or microblogging, platforms.

Elsewhere, 62% of participants named television as one of their most widely-used media channels, beating newspapers on 57% and magazines on 44%.

Overall, the average high net worth individual spent 3% of their personal wealth annually, with travel, daily luxuries and education for children the three leading categories of expenditure.

"That represents a very high spending power," Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, said. "That's the target for all the luxury brands, domestically and internationally."

Indeed, a 60% majority of interviewees bought a luxury watch last year, while over 40% acquired high-end jewellery, clothes and automobiles.

"High quality" was regarded as the most important characteristic of premium goods on 69%, ahead of "good brand reputation" on 66% and having a "long history" on 39%, the study added.

Data sourced from Hurun Research Institute; additional content by Warc staff