Chinese Shoppers Ditching Apple, Nike, Estee Lauder, Ikea For Home-Grown Brands

Chinese local brands have out-seated international brands in the top 50 list the China 2018 Prophet Brand Relevance Index survey. More and more shoppers prefer authentic Chinese experience over foreign products and services. (Photo: Pixabay)

Chinese shoppers' fondness for international brands is already waning and is being replaced by a growing patriotism of home-grown brands. BMW, Estee Lauder, Apple, Nike, and Ikea have lost their top spots in the China 2018 Prophet Brand Relevance Index survey conducted by Prophet, a multinational marketing consultancy.

The China BRI survey interviewed more than 13,000 Chinese consumers about 249 brands across 30 industries in the country. Prophet does the same but separate surveys for brands in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Chinese brands now hold 30 spots out of the 50 products ranked for the survey. The authors of the report said the movement is a dramatic shift from 2016 when there were only 18 local Chinese brands that made it to the top 50 of the BRI survey.

On the top 10 are Alipay, Android, WeChat, Huawei, Microsoft, Taobao, Intel, Meituan, QQ, and Tmall in consecutive order.

Huawei jumped from number 12 to being number 3 this year. Taobao jumped from number 35, Meituan from number 40, QQ from number 28, and Tmall from number 18.

On the other hand, Apple plunged to number 11 from number 5, Estee Lauder to number 22 from number 7, Ikea from to number 37 from number 4, Nike to number 44 from number 6, and BMW to number 46 from number 8.

The report noted that homegrown brands have climbed to top spots because of their ability to offer technological innovation. For one, Chinese consumers are embracing a lifestyle where everything they need is integrated into one online shopping platform. Such is the case with one-stop-shop apps like Alibaba and Meituan.

The report also observed that while there are a growing number of China's Frequent Independent Travelers, these demographics are seeking authentic Chinese experience or products that are at least closer to what they experience back home. While these travelers embrace the new experience, they appreciate services that are Chinese friendly. 

Tom Doctoroff, Chief Cultural Officer at Prophet, said Chinese consumers are now going for brands that provide innovative experience but more importantly products and services that promote belongingness.

Leon Zhang, the co-author of the China BRI survey, said the result of the report demonstrated that brands should address the question of how they can be relevant to their core consumers.

Bloomberg noted that this is the first time that Meituan was able to jump to the top 10 list.

Bloomberg also pointed out that the results of BRI Survey 2018 could indicate more trouble for Apple. It may indicate that the tech company could no longer compete with Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi.

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