In the final week of our in-country experience, we consolidated the information that we had collected over the time we spent in China, specifically in Shanghai and Beijing. From the primary marketing research, there were some interesting results. Our Chinese experts on the team mentioned that the Chinese tend to trust foreign brands more than local brands when it comes to health conscious products such as air purifiers. They also hypothesized that the Chinese have huge trust, perhaps the greatest trust, in US brands. However, when asked on the survey, we learned that the Chinese do trust foreign brands, but that the US comes in third on the list after Germany and Japan in terms of air purifiers.
Another interesting research fact was the consumers’ choice of place/brand for purchase of replacement air filters. This choice is different from the mindset of Americans. Air purifiers are somewhat of an expensive investment, therefore, the Chinese are highly cautious when replacing the air filters. They want to make sure that the filter does not damage the purifier and will not void their warranty in any way. Therefore, they go to the same retail outlet through which they purchased the air purifier originally and also go for the same brand as that of the purchased air purifier. There is also the issue of education/product knowledge. In fact, 75% of the respondents were not aware that the air filters need not match the brand of the air purifiers. This was shocking to us. In order to break into the Chinese market, we would have to change the perception of the consumers and make them more open minded towards purchasing generic filters.
Furthermore, we learned that consumers do not really trust any government standards for the filters, but depend more on word of mouth from family and friends or blog posts from trusted sources. Analyzing this information, t became clear that our client had to establish a presence in China.
From these insights, our main conclusion is that in order to gain market share in the Chinese market, our client would have to first, educate the consumers on the usage of filters, and second, promote their brand extensively. Consumers need to be more aware of the performance and compatibility of our client’s filters with the existing air purifiers and make the brand more acceptable among the Chinese consumers.