Consumers worldwide improve perception of Chinese brands
Innovation rises as quality concerns linger
Consumer perception of Chinese brands is changing worldwide from a presumption of lower quality to an expectation of technological innovation. We measured this change of perception – and the speed with which it is happening – by comparing the 2013 and 2015 results for the US and UK, India, South Africa, Russia, and Brazil in our BrandZÔ China National Image Global Survey.
When we asked about the quality of Chinese products in 2013, about two-thirds of consumers said it was a concern. Just two years later, the proportion of consumers expressing concern had declined to just over half. Similarly, only about a third of consumers said they trusted Chinese products in 2013, but 38 percent expressed trust two years later. These results indicate that the perception of Brand China is still problematic, but the negative connotations are rapidly changing.
Conversely, positive impressions are also improving rapidly. In 2013, 46 percent of consumers said that products made in China are more technological, but 54 percent of consumers had that impression by 2015. In 2013, 66 percent of consumers already viewed China as good at innovation. Just two years later, 72 percent of consumers had that perception.
Factors driving this change in perception include: the improvement in Chinese product quality over the past decade; the global expansion of several leading Chinese technology brands; and the emergence of a generation of young people who are more positively predisposed toward Chinese brands than their parents or grandparents.
There is no going back. The rebalancing of China’s economy requires higher quality products to satisfy consumer expectations in both the domestic Chinese market and overseas markets where the competitive set includes both global and local brands. Chinese brands face a clear challenge, however. In a study of nine product categories across seven countries, our recent BrandZ™ Top 30 Chinese Global Brand Builders 2017 report found that only 15 percent of consumers were aware of Chinese brands, while 60 percent of consumers were aware of local or global brands. Chinese brands need to raise awareness, which varies by country, and continue to improve in quality and innovation. They also need to effectively communicate those improvements. There is no single way to expand overseas. In fact, the development of brand presence outside of China is not necessarily dependent on the brand’s position within China. It is possible for a Chinese company to establish its brand outside of China first and eventually enter China – or not.
Growing perception of quality improves trust…
As perception of product quality improves, consumer trust in Chinese brands rises.
… And consumer hold positive view of Chinese products
Increasingly, consumers view Chinese products as technological and innovative.