consumer trends

The “Made in China” quality gap closes

Isaac Mostovicz writes that "Made in China" is coming to stand for high quality, artisanal and crafted ...

A recent article in the Financial Times describes an evolution that Chinese consumers are undergoing. As the country begins to encourage domestic spending, attracting consumers at home has become a priority for retailers – who are finding that their own consumers are some of the most difficult to please.

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And it’s not just within the luxury sector, when consumers are buying big-ticket items such as handbags and cars. Food, electronics, gadgets and homeware are all being scrutinized with an increasingly eagle eye.


Tesco, the UK retailer, says the Chinese middle class is “becoming increasingly sophisticated in the quality of products they purchase”, including buying more foreign and high-end brands.


The Chinese appetite for fake goods seems to be diminishing, too. Escada, the women’s designer clothing group conducted a survey which found that Chinese consumer willingness to buy fakes has diminished, from 31% in 2008 to 12% by 2010.


Despite an appetite for luxury carrier bags in the past, as salaries increase and tastes become more cultured, a cheaply-made item with a designer logo is no longer good enough. The middle class is attracted to provenance, to an appreciation of quality, to the story or time invested behind the product.


Within Janusian thinking, this posits the Chinese as moving towards the Lambda mindset – seeing an item’s value not in terms of price, but rather, in terms of craftsmanship. They’re interested in the time that it took to make – whether it’s unique, and overall the quality of the item – rather being attracted to the glitz of a fake logo.



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The Top Consumer Trends of 2011

Isaac Mostovicz writes that as consumers become more online savvy, brands are getting much more personal and creative in their marketing ploys...

Today’s consumer is informed, active and independent. Whilst this may close many doors in traditional marketing strategies of the past, it also opens up huge creative potential for brands in the future. has compiled a list of the top eleven consumer trends for this year.

  1. Random acts of kindness: Consumers are far more sensitised to personalised, compassionate campaigns from brands that know what’s happening in consumers’ lives.
  2. Urbanomics: Urban populations are on the rise, and as consumers move from rural to urban areas their exposure to products and services changes, and their behaviour equally changes, particularly in emerging economies, becoming more daring, more liberal and more experienced.
  3. Pricing pandemonium: Continual online connectivity mean consumers look for deals on-the-go, leading brands to respond with pricing strategies like group buying (e.g. Groupon).
  4. Made for China: Western brands are increasingly eyeing up consumers in emerging markets, and adapting their products to meet the preferences of its new consumer groups.
  5. Online status symbols: Brands are recognising consumers’ activities online with virtual or real-world symbols to reflect their “wiredness”.
  6. Wellthy: Consumers are expecting products and services to improve their quality of life, with an emphasis on mobile healthcare applications, and sharing personal health issues amongst consumers.
  7. Social-lites: Consumers are building their own personal brands online, broadcasting their own views and news. Brands are hence providing platforms for consumers to talk about brands, integrate their social networks and create their own content.
  8. Emerging generosity: Philanthropy will play a large part in brands activities, including in emerging markets.
  9. Planned spontaneity: Sharing locations is leading to mass meetings up between consumers, and brands offering suggestions of where to head to.
  10. Eco-superior: As “green” and “eco-friendly” become saturated brand tools, “eco-superior” is the new buzzword within which the sustainability of a product is not just a verbal marketing tool, but integral to its design.
  11. Owner-less: Borrowing, sharing and renting is becoming a popular alternative to the responsibility, cost and commitment that come with owning products. Examples of brands getting involved include sharing cars, bikes, fashion and homes.
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