Brands matter in Asia

24 June 2011

SINGAPORE: Consumers in India and China are more concerned about brands when buying products like apparel and cosmetics than their counterparts from the US and Europe, a study has found.

Research firm Harris Interactive surveyed 9,222 people across nations including China, Germany, India, Singapore, the UK and US.

In all, 74% of Chinese respondents concurred that labels made a difference in shaping purchases of clothing and accessories, a total hitting 72% in India.

This can be compared with the 36% recorded in Singapore, 29% registered by Spain and 28% posted in Italy.

Ratings declined to 26% for the US and France, the 24% logged by UK shoppers, and 22% yielded from the German sample.

Similarly, 92% of the Chinese community, 89% of their Indian peers and 75% of Singapore's contributors believed well-known brands provided better value due to their superior quality.

This perception was adopted by 65% of Americans and 63% of Italians, and also reached 53% in France, but fell below 50% for the UK, Germany and Spain.

Over 60% of Indian and Chinese consumers liked to be the first among their friends to have the latest collections, an amount not surpassing 30% in any other country.

At least 70% of those polled in the US, China and India preferred acquiring "classic" goods rather than focusing on emerging trends, a view held by a majority of people everywhere except Spain, where scores stood at 40%.

Meanwhile, 77% of Indians and 67% of the Chinese panel "need their fashion to be branded", doubling the numbers delivered elsewhere, which peaked in Singapore, on 30%.

Figures came in at just 16% in the US and Germany and 17% in France. Such an attitude was also shared by approximately a quarter of interviewees from Spain, Italy and the UK.

On average, over 80% of Chinese and Indian participants stated brand names were important in choosing shoes, cosmetics, fragrances, watches and formal wear.

Around 70% of buyers surveyed in these two nations agreed with this opinion concerning bags, jewellery, sunglasses and jeans.

Six out of ten adults in Singapore expressed such a belief regarding shoes, make-up, fragrances and formal wear, standing at 51% for jewellery, but sliding under the 50% mark across the additional categories analysed.

More than a third of Americans were swayed by brands when snapping up shoes, jeans, cosmetics, perfumes and timepieces, but scores failed to top 30% for everything from underwear to bags.

Turning to the European markets assessed, over 60% of French and Italian buyers, and at least 40% of Britons, Spaniards and Germans, asserted cosmetics and fragrances brands were significant influences.

However, few of the other segments generated 50% or more on this metric, suggesting a degree of commodisation overall.

Where shoppers bought branded items on sale, a minimum of 80% argued there was a greater chance of them telling friends about securing a "great deal" than "letting them believe I paid full price."

Two-thirds of individuals questioned in the US, and over 70% of India and Singapore "loved to get a bargain, even if it's not a brand name, as long as it's trendy."

More than 60% of the Spanish, German, Italian and US audience shared this view, decreasing to 44% in France, and 39% in China.

Data sourced from Harris Interactive; additional content by Warc staff