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Marketing Matters: Values Shape Purchasing Styles

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: March 5, 2007, from the March 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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This group also tend to exhibit brand loyalty, which might account for the continued popularity of Pert in Mexico and Colombia, and Miss Clairol in Mexico.

One study found that Latina women born in the U.S. tend to prefer shopping at mass retailers such as Wal-Mart or Target because their dollars go farther than in specialty shops. However, foreign-born Latina women living in the U.S.  prefer to purchase body care products in a store that both caters to Spanish speakers and offers the most cost-effective setting possible. This trend continues somewhat in the lower socioeconomic echelons of Latin America as well, as Brazilian and Mexican mothers tend to buy body care products marketed toward babies (Johnson & Johnson products, for example) because they are perceived to be the most gentle on the skin, and it is less expensive to buy one product that the entire family can use than to purchase multiple products for different family members.

Skin care still trumps body care overall in China and in Japan, as Japanese women are accustomed to a seven- or eight-step skin care ritual, and Chinese women are beginning to augment their cleanse and moisturize routines with toners and nourishers. Estée Lauder executive Cedric Prouvé predicts that China will be in the top three beauty markets globally within the next three to five years, as appearance is a growing concern among Chinese women. Brazil, Russia, India and China are seen as the top four emerging global markets.

Direct sales were prohibited in China by the government in 1998. The ban, which was recently lifted, had created a unique hybrid experience for Avon product sales—boutiques staffed by direct sales representatives and retail counters in department stores—while most Chinese women purchased skin and body care products at hypermarkets or in retail locations. Avon sales have increased 24% in China since the ban’s removal. Asian women also display unmistakable brand loyalty. Pert, for example, which is known as “Rejoice” in China, is extremely popular and is considered a high-end shampoo brand there.

Japan used to be a direct sales powerhouse, but with more women staying in the workforce after marriage, the direct sales channel is declining. Most products are now purchased at convenience and drug stores.