Chinese brands can crack US

11 June 2012

BEIJING: Brand owners in China are better placed to crack the American market than they were five years ago, as positive perceptions about their products have greatly increased, new figures show.

Li-Ning, one of China's premier sportswear brands, commissioned a poll of over 2,000 shoppers in America to gauge their receptiveness when it came to buying Chinese brands.

In all, it found that 92% of the panel were now "likely" to buy products from companies based in the world's most populous nation.

Furthermore, 62% of contributors agreed there was a higher probability of their purchasing such goods than was the case five years ago, suggesting that attitudes towards these organisations are improving.

In keeping with this trend, 74% of interviewees revealed that their opinion of offerings from China had either strengthened or stayed the same during this period.

This total rose to 80% for 18-25 year olds, and hit 92% where respondents had a household income of more than $225,000, according to the analysis.

"The openness among Millennials and upper income levels is a key part of our strategy, as it provides an opportunity for us to tap into these markets and tailor our products to fit their needs," said Craig Heisner, Li-Ning's VP for sales, marketing and merchandising.

Over 50% of the survey sample also predicted the best brands belonging to Chinese companies would "measure up" to their American equivalent in five years' time.

Indeed, two-thirds of American shoppers thought products from China were already "comparable" to those made in other countries outside the US.

By category, consumer electronics was the sector in which American consumers were most likely to buy from Chinese firms, with appliances, toys, footwear and athletic apparel also performing well.

Indeed, while nearly a quarter of participants were actually "unaware" if they had previously acquired a Chinese brand, measured against more than half who could name at least some Chinese companies and products.

Lenovo, the information technology group which purchased IBM's personal computing arm, and Haier, the appliances and electronics firm, enjoyed the highest levels of awareness overall.

Data sourced from Li-Ning; additional content by Warc staff