Purchasing Intentions and Behaviour in China: a Comparison of Chinese Consumers in Key Cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing
Paproski, Darren Melvin
This research is a study of purchasing intentions and behaviors in China. Consumers from four key cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Guangzhou were studied and differences in intentions and behavior as well as influences on behavior were analyzed. The results of the study provide greater depth to understanding consumer behavior in China and insight into likely responses to marketing strategies. Interviews with Chinese marketing experts were conducted and surveys were administered to samples of the target populations. Interviews assisted in understanding many of the general stereotypes held with respect to various ethnicities and helped with explaining some of the reasons for differences found. The study’s results are categorized into five areas. First, with respect to general purchasing intentions the study found that Chinese consumers from key cities differ significantly with respect to most of the purchasing intentions measured including inclination to try to new products, brand loyalty, use of discount cards, and willingness to purchase substitute brands. Based on five measures of conservatism, Beijing and Shanghai consumers were found to exhibit more conservative consumption behaviors than Chongqing and Guangzhou consumers. Chongqing and Guangzhou consumers are more likely than consumers in Shanghai and Beijing to wait for a friend's recommendation before buying a new brand. Second, with respect to brand choices, the study found that Beijing consumers tend to be more ethnocentric in their purchasing behavior in comparison to consumers from other key cities. The study also found a moderate association between ethnicity and brand purchase repertoire in most product categories. Third, with respect to reasons for purchases, the study found that generally there was only limited association between ethnicity and the reason for selecting brands. Consumers most often cited quality as the main reason for purchase. Fourth, with respect to actual brand purchase frequencies, the study found that Beijing consumers made more frequent purchases more often than other consumers in half of the categories studied. Chongqing consumers tend to purchase favorite brands less frequently than consumers from other key cities. Fifth, with respect to knowledge of country of origin and country of manufacture and their influences on intentions, the study found that for most product categories (nine of twelve studied) country of origin was an important consideration in the purchase decision. In general, many Chinese consumers are misinformed about brands’ country of origin. The research provides insight into important purchase cues and moderators impacting brand choice behavior.