With newly increasing rates of infection in the U.S. (causing a handful of states like Texas, Idaho and Kansas to start rolling back some efforts to reopen after an economic shutdown to slow the virus’ spread), a president that initially ignored the problem and images of people angrily flouting mask-wearing and physical-distancing mandates, a lot of European consumers are spending less money with American brands, according to a new survey from Morning Consult.
“The decline of the ‘American brand’ in Europe is translating to a sharp drop-off in purchasing of American brands and international brands since the pandemic,” Morning Consult wrote in its report. “European consumers report that instead, they are consuming more domestic brands.”
Many, of course, were already buying from domestic brands and plan to continue to so, but American companies are being viewed less favorably. Among French adults surveyed, 47 percent said the pandemic has made them “less favorable” toward American companies, along with 48 percent of German adults, 40 percent of Italian adults, 30 percent of Spanish adults and 39 percent of adults in the U.K.
“On average, over 40 percent of consumers in the five European countries said the coronavirus had made them less favorable towards American brands, raising an important red flag for companies that identify as uniquely American, but play on a global stage,” Morning Consult wrote.
American companies in the apparel space that have a big European business include the likes of Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Nike and Ralph Lauren.
European consumers are already saying that they are buying less from American brands now than they did before the pandemic, something they expect to continue, according to the survey.
French and Italian shoppers are the most apt to say they’re buying fewer American brands, with 44 percent and 46 percent of adults saying they’re already buying less. Among German adults, 34 percent said they’re buying less from American brands, while 32 percent of Spanish adults and 28 percent of adults in the U.K. said the same. All also said they’re buying less from international brands overall, with an average of 31 percent of European adults saying so.
Chinese brands are also viewed much less favorably now than they were before the pandemic among European consumers, the survey found. Fifty-four percent of French adults see Chinese brands less favorably now, along with 47 percent of Germans, 45 percent of Italians, 42 percent of Spaniards and 52 percent of people in the U.K.
And the expectation seems to be that going forward, even post-pandemic, still likely a year or more away, these same European shoppers will continue to buy local more often than they did before. An average of 63 percent of shoppers from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K. said they “will buy more in person from local businesses” after the pandemic is over. Only 13 percent said they plan to increase shopping with international brands post-pandemic.
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