Foreign brands lead in Asia

23 May 2012

HONG KONG: Consumers in Hong Kong display the strongest preference for overseas brands among shoppers across eight Asian markets, but this trend is also prevalent elsewhere, a survey has shown.

Reader's Digest, the publisher, and Ipsos, the research firm, polled 1,000 adults in Hong Kong, and the same number in each of China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

While 72% of interviewees in Hong Kong said purchasing indigenous products helped boost the local economy, only 22% said that they were generally "likely" to do so.

The latter figure was 25% below the average recorded in all the countries assessed, and poses a significant challenge for marketers seeking to engage shoppers.

Indeed, respondents from Singapore registered 27% on this metric, and their counterparts in China posted 32%, suggesting this trend prevails in a diverse range of Asian nations.

By contrast, 73% of participants questioned in Thailand said they would typically prefer to buy domestic lines, well ahead of the norm, Reader's Digest revealed.

In further demonstration of the core results in Hong Kong, the study showed that of the 80 favourite brands named by its sample, 48 were foreign and 32 were local.

Elsewhere, just 61% of the panel from Hong Kong regularly read labels to check product ingredients, the lowest total in any of the geographies analysed.

Similarly, although a 58% majority of those questioned in Hong Kong looked at packaging to determine an item's manufacturer and 68% did so to find out more about nutrition, these were also regional lows.

An equivalent trend was observable for buying "green" goods and services, with just 47% of Hong Kongers interested in doing so, a lower total than those recorded in the other countries.

When considering if products can genuinely be seen as eco-friendly, 80% of the survey community in Hong Kong think minimal packaging is essential, and 58% looked to products with locally-sourced ingredients.

Data sourced Reader's Digest; additional content by Warc staff