SEATTLE -- October 21 -- American corporations are in danger of suffering a major shift in purchasing habits as nearly 20% of foreign consumers say theyll avoid select U.S. products due to Americas position on foreign affairs, according to the latest poll by independent global market research company GMI, Inc. (http://www.worldpoll.com).
The GMI World Poll reveals that people in China, Japan, Germany and other industrialized Western nations are less willing today to purchase American brands notably Starbucks, Marlboro and Mattel or fly American-based airlines than before the Iraqi invasion and the United States unilateral foreign policies. More than half of those surveyed cite an increasingly negative perception of the U.S., while 67% believe U.S. foreign policy is guided by self interests and empire building.
GMIs World Poll clearly indicates the rest of the world views Americas intervention in Iraq as arrogant and selfish, said Princeton University Professor Douglas S. Massey with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Because of their anger and frustration, they are consciously considering changing their buying habits, continued Massey. He added that continued unilateral action on the part of the U.S. will not only isolate it politically, but economically as well, depressing worldwide demand for American products and services.
GMIs World Poll, which sampled 8,000 individuals from all G8 economic countries* (1,000 in each), is the first internationally focused public-opinion survey to compile data linking the Bush administrations foreign policies directly to global consumers willingness to purchase American goods abroad. To that end, nearly one-fifth of GMI World Polls international sample says it is less willing to buy American-made products until the U.S. alters its approach to foreign affairs in Iraq and around the world. Furthermore, only 9% of that sample have adopted a more positive perception of the U.S. and in turn, increased purchases of American-made products and services due to President Bushs current policies on issues of international importance.
An actual decrease in purchasing is more likely if a product is closely associated with America and there is a good non-American made substitute, commented Dr. Mitchell Eggers, chief operating officer at GMI and a world-class demographer.
The GMI World Poll finds that multi-national, American-based companies such as Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Levis, to name a few, are less likely to be boycotted by international consumers because there are limited alternatives to their products overseas. These are examples of products that are closely associated with America, but for which there are not satisfactory substitutes, added Eggers.
Corporations like McDonalds, American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines face a far greater threat of decreased international sales due to the high number of competitive products available to global consumers, or for reasons related specifically to terrorism. In fact, more than 90% of Japanese consumers say they will avoid booking international flights on American owned and operated airlines for fear of an increased threat of terrorist strikes.
Although foreign markets may be compelled by necessity to continue buying certain American products, we have many competitors in the world. And, most products and services can be replicated with little or no loss in quality by producers in other nations, said Douglas S. Massey. The long-run consequence of American unilateralism is likely to be a declining share in consumer markets around the world.
Despite the availability of non-American alternatives, the GMI World Poll finds a consistent direct correlation between how closely international consumers associate companies with the U.S. and the likelihood theyll avoid purchasing their brands in the near future. For instance, almost half of the panel associates Mattels Barbie Doll with America while roughly 10% tie back Kleenex to the United States. As a result, some 33% of the global panelists say they will definitely avoid the Barbie Doll (a recent Reuters article cites worldwide Barbie sales fell 13% in Q32004). And, slightly more than 10% claim they definitely wont buy Kleenex tissues and other company products in the future.
Other key GMI World Poll data includes: 55% of Japanese and 36% of Germans are less likely to visit the U.S. on business or leisure today than before Americas global war on terrorism; 43% of all G8 economic nations (excluding the U.S.) will avoid purchasing Marlboro cigarettes; 70% of global respondents think John Kerry is better for future trade agreements, compared to half of Americans polled; and 56% of the U.S. believes Bush is more capable of fighting global terrorism. (According to the U.S. Census Bureaus 2003 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the U.S., expenditures by international travelers in 2000 exceeded $79 billion, and more than 7.6 million people from Japan alone visited the U.S. on leisure in 2001.)
The recently completed survey is the fifth GMI World Poll conducted over the past several months. GMI World Poll questions are designed to solicit opinions on numerous topical issues and critical global events. GMI surveys use fully profiled double opt-in panels from more than 500 global sources to help achieve 97% accuracy in their statistical results.
Results of both GMI World Poll surveys are available in their entirety at the following Web site: http://www.worldpoll.com. Upon request, GMI will provide media with comprehensive World Poll survey results cross-tabulated by variables such as age, gender, geographic region, and where applicable, race and ethnicity.
*G8 nations are the world's major industrial democracies, including Canada, France, Germany, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
About GMI World Poll
GMI World Poll quickly and accurately gathers international opinions about topical issues and critical global events, with real-time results available in as little as 24 hours. GMI World Poll is the only survey that polls global opinions in real time, on-line, and with statistically accurate results. More information on GMI World Poll is available at http://worldpoll.com.
GMI provides integrated solutions for market research. The companys advanced software, global panels, and service bureau capabilities are built around a deep competence in conducting multi-country research using a Net-centric approach to data collection. With operations on four continents, GMI is the partner of choice for conducting global market research at the speed of the Internet. More information on GMI is available at http://www.gmi-mr.com.