Retailers find survey results surprising

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 05/07/2013
Julie Barbour
BEN CURRAN/Fairfax NZ
BOUTIQUE ANGLE: Julie Barbour of Sisters on London doubts only 17 per cent of New Zealanders are willing to pay more for designer goods than their unbranded alternatives.

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A survey that says Kiwi shoppers are reluctant to spend money on designer goods when there are cheap alternatives available has raised eyebrows among Waikato retailers.

The online Neilsen survey of 29,000 people in 58 countries found only 17 per cent of New Zealanders were willing to pay more for designer goods over unbranded products performing the same function.

The research has surprised Claire Preston and her sister Julie Barbour, who own boutique fashion store Sisters on London in Hamilton.

"I think New Zealand would be a lot higher than that," Mrs Preston said.

Miss Barbour thought Kiwis' low score could be down to the fact we often had to wait longer for designer goods to hit the stores, given we were such a small market. "I can understand the high percentage for China, they have got a higher cash flow than New Zealanders and more disposable income," she said.

Noel Aymes, owner of Otorohanga's 100% electrical store, was also sceptical of the 17 per cent figure.

Customers entering his store preferred known brands above cheaper non-branded goods. "The most popular brands are Panasonic and Fisher and Paykel, and stuff like that. People tend to go for known stuff."

Terry Wilson, owner of Mitre 10 Mega at The Base in Te Rapa, said demand for named brands such as Black and Decker started out strong when the store opened seven years, dropped five years ago when the recession hit, and was now back on the way up.

"We are now seeing a move back, we are seeing a move from shopping on price to shopping for value," he said.

Adam Crouchley, founder of Hamilton-based digital marketing specialists Dori Media, said the survey results served as a reminder to retailers to focus on referrals and recommendations from customers.

"Kiwis are innovative and always looking for alternative options . . . we're far more likely to buy something based on a friend's recommendation than a well know brand name."

Chris Williams, chief executive of King Street Advertising in Hamilton, thought Kiwis were more advanced than the Chinese when it came to brands.

"We are much more discerning in terms of the promises made in advertising and marketing. Also, because the alternatives and housebrands still offer top quality we are more willing to forgo the label that comes with the higher profile brands. Branding that used to be done via advertising is being replaced by word of mouth via social media and product quality. We are more likely to respond to the more subtle aspects of branding than all the glitz and glamour."

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chris.gardner@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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