FEATURE7 December 2020

Made in China?

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Asia Pacific Covid-19 FMCG Features Impact Retail

Chinese brands have been increasing in popularity in the country in recent years. Could stronger cultural awareness and the pandemic boost domestic consumption further? By Katie McQuater


As the first country to be hit by Covid-19, China is also the first to emerge from it. While the virus hit consumption, it has also accelerated a trend towards the local, and many domestic brands have flourished in the world’s second-largest economy.

In the luxury market, for example, prior to the pandemic, two-thirds of Chinese purchases were made overseas – according to consultancy Bain & Company – either through people travelling abroad or buying from re-sellers in a practice known as ‘daigou’.

However, limitations on international travel this year have led to people spending more domestically, accelerating an existing trend: premium products have become more affordable in China since the government cut value-added tax in 2018.

In June, New York insight agency Spark conducted mobile-based ethnography with Shanghai-based women who buy luxury products. The research found signs of more pride and interest in local brands and references to a cultural renaissance.

Kantar Worldpanel reported that Chinese brands performed more strongly overall than global brands ...