China, Emerging Markets Can't Fill US Shoes

Very interesting article, in light of all the buzz around China and other similar emerging markets.

From Bloomberg: China, Emerging Markets Can’t Fill U.S. Shoes

Some key thoughts that struck me:

  1. Chinese (and emerging markets) consumer behavior is different from Americans.
    A cultural overview (as in the article) will reveal different motivations for spending. Therefore, it is always important to truly understand your target market and make the right assumptions accordingly.
  2. Chinese (and emerging markets) consumers are not ready to drive and sustain the global economy.
    The global economy is not yet able to decouple itself from the US economy. One suspects that the American appetite for “stuff” (or more properly termed as “materialism” or “consumerism”) far outweighs that of those in the emerging markets. This leads me to think back about how my Persuasion in the Marketplace professor once remarked, “Advertising (“marketing”… or even “choice”) can only exist in affluent communities.” It’s simply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs at work.
  3. Some interesting insights to the Chinese consumer:
    “The Chinese are savers. The average household banks a quarter of its after-tax income. That’s to compensate for reduced government outlays for health care, unemployment benefits and pensions; more costly housing; the loss of guaranteed lifetime employment; and rising school-related expenses in a country obsessed with education.”

Another fascinating insight into the Chinese consumer: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Chinese Consumers, from Asiaweek.com.

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