Technology and brand trends at the Shanghai Auto Show 2013: Chinese carmakers gaining ground

On the heels of the Shanghai Auto Show 2013, globeone worked with CBC, a polling institute, to examine the most important consumer trends in the Middle Kingdom. Along with the Beijing International Auto Show, the Shanghai Auto Show has become the most influential trade fair in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides a reflection of the all-important Chinese market, which will be decisive for the future.

The most important issues according to the over 300 visitors surveyed: technologies for better safety and fuel efficiency. 91% of visitors said safety is the most important criterion in their decision to buy, followed by fuel consumption, mentioned by 54%. Digital connectivity also plays a key role for car buyers in China: 78% said that features such as smartphone compatibility and intelligent assistant systems influence their buying decision.

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German carmakers proved especially attractive: 50% of visitors said that VW, Mercedes, BMW, and other German brands had the strongest presence at the show, followed by Chinese brands with 22%. These numbers correspond to the powerful attraction of German brands overall in China, as already identified in a representative branding study among BRIC countries conducted by globeone.

(Link to study: Survey of the image of German brands in China)

Chinese brands are growing in influence, and Qoros is a good example of that. The Chinese newcomer proved especially convincing in the areas of innovation, premium quality, and responsibility. Chery and Great Wall, two more Chinese carmakers, were also among the top five rising brands according to show visitors.

The real significance of these impressions for the revenue and image of carmakers lies in the personal profiles of the visitors surveyed: 64% of visitors plan to buy a car in the next 12 months. 62% will be first-time buyers, a group considered especially relevant. Nearly 90% are under 45 years old.

But the real attraction of what visitors experienced at the show extends far beyond the fairgrounds: over 50% of those surveyed shared their visit to the Auto Show with friends and family via Chinese social media platforms such as Weixin (WeChat) and Sina Weibo, mostly by uploading photos.