Irish Consumer Behavior
Investigation of how the brand effect influences Chinese consumer behaviors within the luxury products offered in the Irish market.
The Irish luxury market has a long and dotted past. It was completely ruled and depleted by the English for centuries. In 1698, the English Parliament enacted an Act “to forbid the export of Irish wollen goods to any country whatsoever,” (Markham & Markham 2010). This forced the Irish merchants to first export to England where they had to pay heavy duties and taxes. The English stifled the Irish marketplace for centuries. Only recently has it begun to pick up great speed with modern developments. In fact, the Irish economy was almost entirely dependent on Great Britain up into the twentieth century (Wilson 1932). After so long of standing in economic isolation, the people of Ireland finally decided to join the European Common Market in 1972 (St. Petersburg Times 1972). This opened up vast new financial opportunities and the increased ability to trade and export on a global basis, thus opening the doors for the Irish market to influence and be influenced by international economic and consumer trends. Since its opening up to the world via its role within the European Common Market, the Irish market has been seen by foreign businesses and consumers as a lucrative one; “Ireland is a vibrant market,” (Paul 200).
However, the recent global recession has had its impact on the Irish market. Ireland was not immune to the global catestrophy which began around 2007.
Several of its primary banks are in poor conditions, with the nation’s stock market falling to lower numbers than it has seen in decades (Rueters 2007). By 2008, the Irish stock market was the second to worse performing stock markets globally, being just under the performance of Vietnam (RTE 2008). Thus, the luxury market in Ireland is either looking to change demographics or go under completely.
The luxury market in Ireland also has a long history. The nation has long been famous for producing luxury brand names for export. Dublin has been an international center for the design and crafting of luxury home and personal goods since the eighteenth century (Foster 1997). Yet, this market presents goods that are on average more expensive than England or the U.S., especially when it comes to real estate (Kierans 1996). The entire luxury industry in Ireland has overall been aimed at capturing foreign consumer clientele. The market’s main consumers recently have included Americans, Russians, and even Englishmen (the Daily Mail 2008). Globalization helps bring Irish luxury goods to new consumer markets, like Asia (Wright 2000). With the west in major recession, Ireland must look to new consumers. This forces much of Ireland’s luxury market to have to look for new consumers, for many of the pre-recession big spenders will not be so willing to pay pre-recession prices. Moving to market to Chinese consumers will be a favorable move for those involved in the Irish luxury market (Hart 2009).
China, and its growing economy, presents just the right type of consumer for the Irish luxury market. According to research, “China is No. 1 in the world in mobile subscribers and No. 1 in Internet users under the age of 30,” (Ji & Meeker 2005). Thus, the powerhouse of China should not be underestimated, even within the context of the luxury market. Even in the recession, China has seen great growth; “Given this younger and wealthier demographic are the key consumer segments for most businesses in China, we should still see a buoyant consumer market going forward,” (ACNielson 2007). Despite the rest of the world being in a state of recession, China’s economy is continuing to grow; which presents a lucrative opportunity for other markets to cash in on. There is also an increase in affluent consumers; more and more Chinese are being able to go on vacation and buy big name brands (ACNielson 2007). There has been an extreme growth of the middle class. China’s “rapidly growing middle class is already a large consumer market in their own right and ill account for the bulk of their four fold increase in real consumer spending over the next twenty years,” (BERR 2009). Thus, there have been forecasted increases of spending on personal and luxury items (BERR 2009). Additionally, there has also been a large trend showing growing brand awareness in China (BERR 2009). Chinese consumers “are not only willing to pay a premium for quality (when they recognize it), but also exhibit high levels of brand loyalty,” (BERR 2009). The middle class is growing and in demand for brand name and luxury items (Rein 2006). Many of these new middle class Chinese consumers are looking to fill their demand with imported top luxury items (Alberts 2010). In fact, China is expected to soon be the largest consumer of luxury brand name goods (Ebrahimi 2008).
Thus, the Irish luxury market has a chance to save itself by opening up a way into the Asian market. By capturing the growing middle class market within China, Ireland’s luxury market has a fresh and powerful clientele list. According to research, “Collectively, the rapid rate of urbanization, expansion and economic growth of regional cities in China offer considerable opportunities across a range of industrial sectors and business activities for UK companies,” (China-Britain Business Council 2010).
With this background in mind, it is the stated research of this hypothesis that the emerging Chinese middle class will be lured into the Irish luxury market if given proper attention. By providing enough exposure of the existence and principles of the Irish luxury market, the research is thought to be able to show a favorable response on the behalf of middle class Chinese consumers looking for luxury items in foreign markets.
This research will be conducted in SMART style, with the following objectives:
1. Determine how powerful the Chinese consumer is as a group in the luxury market.
2. Examine Ireland’s luxury market attempts to break into the Chinese consumer base.
3. Show how effective these attempts are by exploring real Chinese consumer reactions.
4. Rate these reactions in a measurable manner to show strong evidence backed evaluations of Chinese consumer’s reactions to the Irish luxury market
5. Provide possible alternatives in marketing strategy for the luxury market in Ireland.
Method / Methodology
Philosophy. This research will use positivism within the realm of epistemology because its based purely on factual data. It will also implement the findings and concepts of previously existing theories in order to find real answers for the research objectives.
Approaches. The research will use a deductive approach based on the need to measure quantitative data.
Strategy. The strategy of this research is to create a consumer-based questionnaire to gauge reactions and satisfactions of Chinese consumers within the Irish luxury market. How well is the Irish market influencing the Chinese consumer base? How satisfied are Chinese consumers when the buy Irish luxury goods? The research would include ratio, ordinal, and normal data and thus be split into those types. It will focus on rating consumer responses between a scale of 1-5, in order to then measure quantitatively the results.
Choice. It will use quantitative and mixed methods
Time horizons. The nature of this research demands that it be cross sectional.
Sampling. There will be nonprobablity sampling, with a sample size of at least 100, preferably up o 500.
Data collection. Will include online surveys sent in via email after a purchase of an Irish luxury item.
Data analysis. This research will use the formulations of SPSS, specifically ANOVA to show significant differences within the sample population.
Time Scale (2010)
This research will benefit from the access to SPSS software, along with the use of University library and online scholarly catalogues.
Alberts, Hana R. (2010). Will Chinese consumers keep buying cars? Forbes Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2010 from http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/12/car-sales-geely-volvo-business-autos-china.html
ACNielson. (2007). 2007 key consumer and market trends. China Fast Forward. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://www.pdfone.com/view/14_keywordchinasconsumermarketopportunitiesandrisks/china-fast-forward-2007-key-consumer-and-market-trends.html
BERR. (2009). China and India: Opportunities and Challenges for UK Businesses. BERR Economics Paper No. 5. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://www.pdfone.com/view/19_keywordchinasconsumermarketopportunitiesandrisks/china-and-india-opportunities-and-challenges-for-uk-business.html
China-Britain Business Council. (2010). Opportunities for UK Businesses in China’s Regional Cities. UK Trade & Investment. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://www.pdfone.com/view/22_keywordchinasconsumermarketopportunitiesandrisks/opportunities-for-uk-businesses-in-china-s-regional-cities.html
Ebrahimi, Helia. (2008). Will pricelings save the west? Designer driven: China is soon expected to the world’s biggest buyer of luxury goods. The Mail on Sunday. P. 62.
Foster, Sarah. (1997). Buying Irish: consumer nationalism in 18th-century Dublin. History Today. 47(6):44-49.
Hart, Leslie. (2009). The new reality of today’s luxury market. Kitchen & Bath Design News. Retrieved February 14, 2010 from http://www.allbusiness.com/population-demographics/demographic-groups-wealthy-people/13302309-1.html
Ji, Richard & Meeker, Mary. (2005). Creating consumer value in digital China. China Internet. Morgan Stanley. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://www.pdfone.com/view/13_keywordchinasconsumermarketopportunitiesandrisks/creating-consumer-value-in-digital-china.html
Kierans, John. (1996). Rich spend pounds 20 million on luxury Irish pads. The Mirror. P. 9
Markham, John & Markham Sue. (2010). Rainbow Farms. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://rainbowfarms.com.au/1693%20 AD%20-%201700%20 AD.html
Paul, Mark. (2004). Mobile phone firms circle Irish market. The Sunday Times. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/article401974.ece
Rein, Shaun. (2006). Growth in China’s luxury goods market to be fueled by 2nd tier cities. Seeking Alpha. Retrieved February 13, 2009 from http://seekingalpha.com/article/15478-growth-in-chinas-luxury-goods-market-to-be-fueled-by-2nd-tier-cities
RTE. (2008). Elan blow sends Irish market reeling. RTE Business. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://www.rte.ie/business/2008/0801/elan.html
Rueters. (2010). UK banking jitters give Irish market a fresh kick. Rueters UK. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKL2792442620070627
St. Petersburg Times. Irish Vote to enter Common Market. St. Petersburg Times. 88(293):3 a. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19720512&id=ztIMAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5GADAAAAIBAJ&pg=7111,1160940
The Daily Mail. (2008). Russians are the target of Irish home drive. The Daily Mail. P. 10
Wilson, P.W. (1932). De Valera presses the fight to make Ireland a republic; the country is divided over his plan for secession, and the strategu of Englind in the conflict is to play for time. New York Times. P. 4. Retrieved February 13, 2010 from http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60C14FE355A13738DDDAD0A94DF405B828FF1D3
Wright, Richard. Will globalization make you happy? Foreign Policy. P. 55
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