Chinese Consumers’ Infatuation with ‘Britishness’

on May 14 2014 | in Retail Travel Trends | by | with No Comments

beijing, Britishness, burberry, David Beckham, Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, Jaguar Land Rover, Johnnie Walker, rolls-royce, Royal family, shanghai, Chinese consumers

A recent survey of Shanghai and Beijing consumers found that “Britishness” was a leading factor in why Chinese shoppers are so fond of certain brands.

Just one look at luxury market trends and statistics will show that Chinese consumers truly are infatuated with British brands. In January 2014, British automaker Jaguar Land Rover saw a 39 percent increase in sales in China. Similarly, British fashion house Burberry saw a 20 percent increase amongst Chinese shoppers, and is poised to open eight more stores in China this year.

This increase in sales isn’t relegated just to stores in China either. Chinese consumers revealed that they were like to travel to the UK in order to shop brands like Rolls Royce, Burberry, and Johnnie Walker.

So what makes British products so attractive?

New research done by Professor Qing Wang of the Warwick Business School found that British celebrities like David Beckham and the Royal family, as well as TV and movie series like Downtown Abbey, Harry Potter, and BBC News, have helped to propel British luxury brands in the global market. Her study found that the UK has appealing cultural qualities that other countries just can’t compete with.

“A very important factor that makes Britain stand out is that it incorporates tradition and innovation seamlessly. Put differently, Britain’s advantage lies in the so-called soft power, which is defined as the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than through coercion and cultural heritage is a key part of that,” Wang told The New Zealand Herald.

Wang added that even as China develops its own soft power, they will continue to look to Britain as a model and muse.

While the luxury market, known for its exclusivity, could possibly be damaged due to a recent surge in interest from the middle-class, Wang is confident that brands will persevere. She says that ultimately, luxury brands will continue to see success as long as they focus on delivering customized artisan goods. And of course, a little “Britishness” won’t hurt.


image credit: burberry

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