August 24, 2012
Data point: For Chinese brands seeking Western consumers, Millennials are most promising target
Our August trend report, “Remaking ‘Made in China’,” examines the obstacles to international expansion for Chinese brands and how these brands might overcome them. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is overcoming negative perceptions around “Made in China” among Western consumers. For instance, the top six phrases associated with Chinese brands among American and British consumers are all negative, according to a survey of 503 Americans and 503 Britons that we conducted using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. Chinese brands are seen as not only mass-produced and cheap but potentially unsafe.
Millennials, however, are somewhat more forgiving of Chinese brands. This globally minded generation, which knows China as a modernizing, rapidly emerging market—a very different country from the one that older consumers remember—is least likely to choose negative descriptors, apart from “ordinary.” Our research also found that American Millennials stand out in their openness to trying Chinese brands, especially when it comes to video games, appliances, clothing, alcohol and even cultural exports such as music. We’ll likely see Chinese brands that are looking to go global tapping into Millennials’ multicultural worldview to build a consumer base.