14 Jun Consumers have doubts about Germany’s innovation strength
Germans do not have much confidence in their own country with regard to the industries of the future. Only one in four consumers (23%) believe that local brands will bring innovative strength (Germany’s innovation strength) that will change their lives in the coming years. This is one of the key findings of Globeone’s study “The Image of German Brands 2018”. It is the fourth edition of our biennial study. For the latest issue at the end of 2017, we surveyed more than 1,500 consumers worldwide, one third of them in Germany.
Not future-proof of innovative strength in relevant industries
Surveys show that German consumers rate the disruptive innovative power of their own country lower than Americans, where three out of five consumers assume a leading role for the US in disruptive industries such as robotics, industry 4.0, autonomous driving or e-commerce. In the US, where around 500 consumers were surveyed, 60% of the participants stated that they firmly expect life-changing innovations from American manufacturers. In robotics, industry 4.0 and for self-driving cars, the confidence of US consumers is twice as high as in Germany, and with regard to the Internet and e-commerce, expectations in the US are even three times as high as in Germany.
Innovative strength involved Perception focuses on traditional mobility
This sobering result shows itself in the car industry. In the popularity ranking for German brands among consumers in the US, China and Germany, five car brands dominate the top positions. Germany is clearly perceived as a car country. But this only applies to vehicles with traditional drive systems. As far as e-mobility is concerned, the participants in the survey put the greatest trust in the US, China and Japan. Germany does not make it into the top 3 in robotics and industry 4.0, nor in Internet and e-commerce.
This finding is also reflected in the values that the study has determined in relation to the country of origin profile of “Made in Germany”. In various image dimensions within this profile, the category “Innovative and High-Tech” is only mediocre, well behind the good marks for “excellent quality”, “high prestige” and “reliability” as well as “trustworthiness”.
Dr. Niklas Schaffmeister, Managing Partner of Globeone, sees this as the greatest danger for German brand manufacturers: “Innovation communication has become a central factor in brand differentiation, not least because it goes hand in hand with the CEO positioning. It is not enough to occupy the top positions in the innovation indices of this world, but the efforts and successes must also be made clear to consumers”, comments Schaffmeister on Germany’s poor performance in the perceived innovative strength in future-relevant sectors.
On close inspection, the nagging doubts of local consumers about the future viability of “Made in Germany” in industries with disruptive Germany’s innovation come as no surprise. German manufacturers jumped on the e-mobility bandwagon relatively late. In terms of implementation, Germany is already lagging behind in digitization. Meanwhile, protectionism is increasing in the world economy. And the Chinese are catching up quickly, especially in electronics and electric cars.
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