Chinese consumer scepticism on the rise

A few months ago our China Editor, Paul French, wrote an excellent, in-depth ten page briefing on responsible business in China. The first part of the series is here, the other parts are linked to the right hand side of the page linked to above. There’s also a podcast series here.

He found a fairly bleak picture. Brands had not seized the opportunity presented by suppliers desperate for business to raise sstandards in the recession.

Large companies, under less civil society pressure than in the west, usually lag their divisions in Europe and the US.

But consumers are more interested in brand performance on social and environmental issues than a few years ago. Green clubs and protests are on the rise. The picture is not all bad. There remains a huge opportunity for companies to gain trust through meaningful action in China.

In the meantime though, consumers are getting more sceptical about brand claims, which is a worrying sign. GlobeScan, which does global polling, has found that:

“The study, which interviewed over 30,000 people across 34 countries, finds that while in 2005 more than 80 per cent of Chinese consumers felt that companies communicated ‘honestly and truthfully’ about their social and environmental performance, this has now fallen sharply, with only 40 per cent feeling this way in this year’s study.” Here’s a link to the press release.

More on how consumer behavior and expectations are changing in other nations, here.

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