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think:act STUDY - Chinese Consumer Report 2009

2009

Over the past 20 years, Roland Berger has conducted more than 80,000 interviews in China with people from all walks of life, giving us unprecedented access to the way Chinese consumers see their world. We have found out about their preferences and dislikes, their hopes and fears, their aspirations and what they are happy with in the status quo.

These interviews were mostly held in connection with one of the more than 200 assignments we work on in China each year, affording us unrivalled insight into the Chinese market. For at least 15% of these assignments we have used our Roland Berger Profiler tool to analyze the behavior of Chinese customers. To keep on top of developments in 2008/2009 we felt it was important to conduct a largescale survey to consolidate our knowledge of this exciting and still growing market. This study presents you with some of the results of this undertaking, which covered 12,000 Chinese consumers in 64 cities, ranging from the four megacities Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing down to tier-3 cities.

Ignatius Tong, Partner and Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail in China, believes knowing the customer base is vital for any business striving to penetrate or survive in the Chinese market: "More than ever, it is critical for FMCG to be tailored to specific consumer needs. This requires a more insightful understanding of consumers that goes beyond mere demographics." John Shen, Partner in Automotive, agrees and points out how critical brand management has become: "Brand loyalty can only be nurtured and enhanced through the consistent delivery of brand values at every customer touch point. Brand strategy and brand management should be at the top of the agenda for every CEO."

We are delighted to be able to include interviews with two CEOs of Western companies which have been operating successfully in China for many years: Paolo Gasparrini, CEO of L'Oreal China and Günter Butschek, President and CEO of Beijing Benz Daimler Chrysler (BBDC). Their impressions about the future of the Chinese market will be of great interest to any reader working or investing in China.

The following report is the first of what we're hoping will become an annual cornerstone of insight into the Chinese consumer market. In 2009 everybody will be looking to understand the unfolding domestic consumption in China as exports suffer due to the world economic crisis. In this environment we are looking forward to continuing to assist businesses in China in developing the domestic customer base and defining winning road-to-market strategies for our clients in this country.

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