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Made in Britain? Six-in-ten U.K consumers say country of origin is one of most important factors in brand choice

Consumers prefer global brands for electronics but local ones for food

London – 5/6 May 2016. Six-in-ten British consumers say a brand’s country of origin is at least as important to them, on average, as factors such as its range, price, function and quality – according to Nielsen’s new Global Brand-Origin Survey.

The research examines whether people prefer goods produced by global/multinational brands (operating in many markets) or those only operating in the respondent’s home country. For example, 59% of U.K respondents said that where a brand is from is at least as important as the product’s benefits, whilst 58% said origin is at least as important as price; 53% said it was at least as important as quality.

“In an increasingly borderless world, the ‘made in…’ moniker still matters,” says Nielsen U.K innovation leader Ben Schubert. “One of the more surprising findings is that a brand’s country of origin is at least as important as other purchasing criteria, such as price and quality. Factors such as price, deals, familiarity and variety are more important to consumers when choosing global brands, whereas product benefits, environmentally-friendly considerations and, of course, national pride are bigger factors for them when deciding to buy local brands.”  

Over half (55%) of U.K respondents prefer buying local brands because they support local businesses (which can help the economy), while 41% say local brands are usually more trustworthy and 36% say local brands are more attuned to their personal needs/tastes.

Products most impacted by origin

The research also examines 40 product categories to see which are most influenced by brand origin. Cars, camera/video equipment and computers/laptops are the categories where British consumers are most likely to prefer global brands over local ones (each cited by 43% of respondents who buy those products).

In contrast, food and drink categories dominate consumers’ preferences for local brands; 59% of people who buy milk prefer local over global, while local is also preferred among the majority of those buying meat (54%) and vegetable (51%).

“There are three distinct product classes when it comes to global-versus-local preference,” concludes Schubert. “A strong global preference for electronics products, likely driven by a sense of quality; a local preference for food, driven by freshness and safety perceptions; and relative indifference for fashion, clothing and cleaning. In a crowded retail environment, it’s important that marketers understand how big a role brand origin plays in consumer decision-making and adapt their messaging appropriately.”



The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access in 61 countries (unless otherwise noted).  While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations—something particularly relevant when reporting an activity such as watching video-on-demand. In developing markets where online penetration is lower, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. In addition, survey responses are based on claimed behaviour rather than actual metered data. Cultural differences in reporting sentiment are likely factors in the outlook across countries. The reported results do not attempt to control or correct for these differences; therefore, caution should be exercised when comparing across countries and regions, particularly across regional boundaries.


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit