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The Unpopularity of Sachet Marketing in China: Perspectives from Managers and Consumers
Chanthika Pornpitakpan1; Qiuling Li1; Joseph A Sy-Changco1; Junsong Chen2
Conference Name12th AGB Annual World Congress
Source PublicationProceedings of the 12th AGB Annual World Congress
Conference DateNovember 16-19, 2015
Conference PlaceKuantan, Malaysia

Purpose – This study aims to investigate the factors that make the huge China market less conducive to the practice of buying products in sachet sizes.

Design/methodology/approach – The investigation involves two studies: (1) in-depth interviews with Chinese managers in five multinational companies operating in China (Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Amway, and Avon) to understand why these companies have abandoned sachet marketing, and (2) a face-to-face survey of 468 Chinese consumers in two cities of different sizes in China, namely, Shanghai and Zhuhai, to gain insights into consumers' perception of products in sachets.

Findings – Study 1 finds that multinational companies use sachets mainly for product introduction or promotion. According to the interviewed managers, the relatively higher level of disposable income, historical habits, and inconvenience of frequent purchases are the main factors why sachets are not popular in China. The increasing purchasing power and the monthly salaries of urban Chinese employees provide them with the liquidity to buy products in larger packages. Chinese consumers tend to perceive that products in sachets cost more per unit than do products in regular sizes. Besides, the presence of cheaper local brands make branded products in sachets less attractive. Generally, the Chinese would buy sachets only when they want to try a personal care product. 

Study 2 finds that Chinese residents in Zhuhai and Shanghai differ in their agreements to the various reasons for the unpopularity of products in sachet in China. Shanghai participants show significantly higher agreements than do Zhuhai participants to the following reasons:

  • I do not like buying products in sachets because I will need to go to buy them often.
  • Products in sachets are often more expensive than larger-sized products in terms of price per gram/ml.
  • Products in sachet do not provide good value for money.
  • Using products in sachet is more wasteful to the environment than larger-sized products (because sachets use more raw materials on the packaging than necessary).
  • Sachet packages are harmful to our environment.
  • China does not have enough small corner stores to make products in sachet widely available to consumers.
  • There is no advertising of products in sachets in China.
  • I buy products in sachets only when I want to try new personal care products.
  • I buy products in sachets only when I want to try new food products.
  • I buy products in sachet only for use while traveling.

In contrast, Zhuhai participants exhibit higher agreements than do Shanghai participants to the following reasons.

  • Products in sachets are not hygienic.
  • Products in sachets tend to lower the brand image.
  • People may perceive me to be poor if I buy products in sachets.

The two samples do not differ in their agreements to the remaining nine reasons. The adjusted agreement scores of both samples range from 2.738 to 5.651 out of 7.

Originality/value – There has been little in-depth analysis of the unpopularity of sachet marketing in China. This study fills this gap in research. It analyzes reasons why sachet marketing is not popular in China from the perspectives of both managers and consumers, identifies factors to consider before employing sachet marketing, and provides managerial advices and implications for using sachet marketing successfully.

KeywordChina Marketing Strategy Sachet Marketing Package Size Multinational Companies Distribution Systems Empirical Research Consumer Goods
Fulltext Access
Document TypeConference paper
CollectionFaculty of Business Administration
Affiliation1.University of Macau, China
2.East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, CHINA
First Author AffilicationUniversity of Macau
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Chanthika Pornpitakpan,Qiuling Li,Joseph A Sy-Changco,et al. The Unpopularity of Sachet Marketing in China: Perspectives from Managers and Consumers[C],2015:7-8.
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