NEW YORK: The balance between global and local brands is tilting towards the former in many categories, new research from Nielsen indicates.

The Nielsen Global Brand-Origin Report was based on surveys of more than 31,500 online respondents in 63 countries and examined consumers’ preference for and sentiment toward products manufactured by local manufacturers versus large global/multinational brands across 34 categories.

Preference for global brands was strongest in the baby wipes/diapers and baby food/formula categories, it reported, where just 7% and 10% of consumers, respectively, said they prefer to buy brands from local manufacturers.

Other categories where consumers showed low preference for local brands include vitamins/supplements (12% prefer local), pet food (12%), feminine care products (13%), energy drinks/sports drinks (14%), and canned/tinned food products (15%).

Conversely, categories where consumers were more inclined to opt for a locally manufactured product over a global brand included dairy products (54%), biscuits/chips/snacks/cookies (32%), ice-cream (31%) and mineral/bottled water (30%).

Nielsen highlighted several categories which have seen a significant swing in preference away from local brands compared to a previous survey conducted in 2015.

These included mineral/bottled water (down 22 percentage points to 30%), instant noodles (down 21 points to 21%) and oral care products (down 15 points to 18%); another seven categories registered a more-than-ten-points fall.

Part of the reason for the shift in sentiment is that consumers have greater access to global brands than they have in the past, noted Regan Leggett, Head of Foresight and Thought Leadership, Growth Markets, Nielsen, whether that’s via expanded distribution, e-commerce or modern retail outlets.

“Other factors at play include consumer perception around quality, particularly in high involvement categories such as baby care,” he added.

The research also showed that regional preferences can vary depending on the particular category.

“In Southeast Asia, for example, where noodles are a staple in consumers’ diets, local manufacturers have been able to maintain a stronghold on the category,” Leggett explained.

“Similarly in European markets locally sourced dairy products are perceived to be of a higher quality than imported products.”

Separate research, outlined in the International Journal of Market Research (How local/global is your brand? A technique to assess brand categorisation) argues that consumers don’t regard brands in such binary terms and puts forward instead four ways to categorize brands: local, global, glocal and functional.

Sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff