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Singapore consumers show growing preference for global brands over local: Nielsen

SINGAPORE consumers are displaying a growing preference for global brands over locally manufactured products, especially when it comes to baby formula and diapers, but not so much for snacks and instant noodles, according to a survey by market research expert Nielsen.

And Singaporeans' growing hankering for global brands is itself a global trend, said Nielsen.

Of the 501 Singapore respondents polled, Nielsen found a noted preference for global brands especially in the baby food/formula and baby wipes/diapers categories, where 93 per cent and 92 per cent of Singapore consumers respectively preferred foreign brands.

Ditto for alcoholic products like beer and wine - with 89 per cent of Singapore consumers surveyed plumping for global brands.

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Other categories where local consumers favoured global brands include vitamins/supplements (88 per cent), feminine care products (86 per cent), and energy drinks/sports drinks (85 per cent).

The findings do not come as a surprise as economies are more interconnected and consumers are more exposed to foreign brands, giving them a wealth of choices, said Nielsen.

"Importantly, consumers also have greater access to global brands than they have in the past, thanks to factors such as expanding distribution, e-commerce offerings, and modern trade retail channels," Regan Leggett, Nielsen's head of foresight and thought leadership, growth markets said.

However, the findings from Nielsen's study also show that then it comes to certain food categories, Singapore consumers still preferred their familiar local brands.

Thus for biscuits/chips/snacks/cookies, just 42 per cent of those polled would go for global brands, only 36 per cent when it comes to dairy products and 33 per cent for instant noodles. In fact, South-east Asian consumers are very loyal to their local instant noodle brands compared to the global average.

While Nielson's findings suggest consumers worldwide are tipping toward global brands across most categories, that does not spell doom and gloom for locally produced products.

"In an increasingly global world, the battle of the brands comes down to understanding consumers' evolving needs, behaviours, lifestyles and tastes," said Mr Leggett. "Any brand, be it local or global, that is able to tap into these consumer preferences will be best-placed to win the hearts and minds of consumers in the future."

The annual Nielsen Global Brand-Origin Report highlights consumers' preference for and sentiment toward products manufactured by local manufacturers versus large multinational brands across 34 categories.

The latest survey polled more than 31,500 online respondents in 63 countries.

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