Chinese, Indian consumers favour brands

30 April 2009

BOSTON: Consumers in India and China are more likely to continue buying branded goods than their counterparts in the US and Europe, but are also planning to reduce their spending levels overall, the Boston Consulting Group reports.

Chinese consumers have been argued to display a distinctive attitude towards brands, while establishing the appropriate market positioning in India is equally often seen as presenting a unique challenge.

Based on a survey of 21,800 consumers worldwide, BCG found that the majority of respondents are lowering their expenditure, looking for discounts, buying more value brands and going out less.

However, 79% of Chinese participants argued they would still pay more for a product purely on the basis of what brand it was, a figure that also reached 71% in India.

By contrast, just over a quarter of consumers in the US agreed with this statement, while only 17% of Europeans said the same.

Despite their higher level of favourability towards brands, more than half of those surveyed in China, and three quarters of Indians, are aiming to rein in their spending on "nonessential items."

Similarly, over 50% of Brazilians, Americans and Mexicans intend to trade down in an effort to reduce their overall outlay.

Catherine Roche, a partner at BCG, suggested that people "are going back to basics," including "avoiding visible logos on their bags and clothes" as they "don't want to be as conspicuous as in the past."

Russian consumers, however, are exhibiting a greater willingness to invest in larger durable goods, such as household appliances.

This attitude, according to BCG, is influenced by the "rising inflation and a devalued ruble," which means shoppers are increasingly of the opinion that "they might just as well 'spend it while they have it'.”

Further findings in the company's report included the fact that over half of all men in Western countries would consider buying a new car.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff