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Survey Report on Central China Consumers’ Perception of Hong Kong Brands

Under the sponsorship of the SME Development Fund, Hong Kong Brand Development Council (BDC) implemented “Wuhan Hong Kong Brand Week” Serial Activities. As a deliverable of the Project, the BDC, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, conducted a research entitled “Questionnaire Survey on Central China Consumers’ Perception of Hong Kong Brands” in late April 2012, with an aim to gather the views of Central China consumers in regard to Hong Kong brands and products, and to help Hong Kong SMEs to better understand local consumption habits, behavior characteristics and market environment.

The Survey interviewed 831 citizens in Central China. 60% to 70% of the respondents have attained teritary education and are relatively in younger age brackets; and over 30% of them are earning more than RMB6,000 per month, indicating that consumers in Central China possess a certain level of purchasing power. To the extent that the mainstay of the respondents factually represent Mainland’s most important consumer groups in the coming decade, the survey results based on such sample structure could provide useful information with long-term reference values, which in particular would help Hong Kong companies to better understand the Chinese middle-class market and grasp the future consumption trends.

The survey findings support the “Country of Origin Theory” of brand management on several aspects. The theory states that enterprises can leverage on image attached to their domicile or country of orgin to promote brands more effectively in the non-domestic markets. The positive influences of “country of origin” is similar to a kind of “Location brand effect”, whereby consumers’ favourable knowledge of and impersion on a location might provide a pre-emptive reference point to help shorten the time of knowing and accepting brands associated with the place.

The main conclusions of the survey are as follows:

1.    Consumers in Central China as represented by Wuhan and Hubei citizens are generally in favor of Hong Kong brands. On a seven-point rating scale, Hong   Kong brand is rated 5.35 and 5.33 by respondents in terms of “Adorability” and “Trustworthiness” respectively. However, it garners a megre 3.34 for “Degree of Familiarity”, substaintially lower than the 5.8 earned by their Mainland counterparts.

2.    On top of their mind, a considerable number of respondents believe that Hong Kong brands are high-quality, fashionable and have good value for money. On the other hand, when purchasing branded products, they tend to put more emphasis on functional benefits, including brand image, product quality, safety and reliability as well as pricing. These two propensities fit well with each other, conducive to bringing the “country of origin” clout of Hong Kong brands to full play.

3.    71.8% of respondents indicate their willingness to pay a higher price for Hong Kong branded products or services over the local brands. In general, the majority of consumers in Central China would accept a 5% to 10% premium for Hong Kong brands. Besides, respondents with a higher degree of preference for and trust in Hong Kong brands are more willing to pay a higher premium. These phenomena have pointed at the direct correlations among consumers’ brand awareness, brand preference and brand pricing power.
4.    According to the respondents, Hong Kong brands, though enjoying a competitive advantage in respect of quality, integrity, innovation, stylishness and service, still have room for improvement in areas, suh as promotion, maintaining customer relationships, as well as enhancing the appropriateness of products in relation to local needs. In particular, the promotional efforts of Hong Kong brands in the Mainland market especially in the Central China region was deemed as relatively insufficient.
5.    Internet is mentioned by 52.1% respondents as a channel to access brand information, next only to television advertising (66.8% ). Given the rising popularity of Internet promotion, Hong Kong SMEs may pay heed to this cost-effective means of media; meanwhile, they should carefully select appropriate information channels or adopt a mix of channels to conduct brand promotions in China, so as to highlight the characteristics of their brands more effectively and hit the target consumer groups more accurately. 

(For a full report, please refer to the Chinese version華中地區香港品牌態度調查分析報告)

Download the full version of the Survey Report on Central China Consumers’ Perception of Hong Kong Brands