Quality and recommendations decisive

A Nielsen study shows when and why the Swiss turn to premium products.


Pork from noble breeds such as Iberico or Duroc, the drill with higher performance and more accessories, or the fragrant perfume from a well-known designer: for more than half of the Swiss, superior quality makes a product a premium product (57%, Europe 55%).

Price follows in second place - and by a clear margin: 43 percent of consumers say that the higher price is the determining criterion (Europe 38%). Third place goes to the origin known for this product (37%, Europe 29%).

This is the result of the study on premium products by Nielsen, a global performance management company that provides information and insights into consumers' media and consumption behavior. The study investigated in 63 countries worldwide how consumers feel about premium products, what premium means to them, and how and where they buy premium products.

"A premium product is not simply more expensive than other products. For Swiss consumers, it is above all the higher quality that makes a product a premium product. Origin is also important, like wine from France or Swiss chocolate," explains Judith Kuiper, Managing Director Nielsen Switzerland. "A product must therefore make clear why it is better than others. A purely increased price is not enough to earn the label premium."

Seafood, coffee, clothing: Here Switzerland reaches for premium products

High on the list of favorites when buying premium products in Switzerland are meat and seafood (38%, Europe 33%), coffee and tea (30%, 27%) and clothing (28%, Europe 22%). "It shows that consumers are going for premium in a number of categories," Kuiper said. Strong brands play a key role here. But that doesn't necessarily mean consumers are reaching for products from big global brands. The small manufactory next door or the favorite butcher around the corner also offer premium products."

Premium as feel-good: This is how the Swiss feel about premium products

Despite everything, price and premium are closely linked. However, differently than one would initially think. Nearly one in two believes that simply touting a product as premium is a way for brands to charge a higher price (46%, Europe 48%). At the same time, just over a third believe that premium products are only for wealthier consumers (40%, Europe 41%). While 37 percent of Europeans believe that premium products are worth the money, only 30 percent in Switzerland share this view.

In this country, premium products are also seen as a way to feel good (24%, Europe 23%). "You have to take into account that buying premium products also has an emotional component. Especially on special occasions, such as Christmas, many consumers want to treat themselves or others. Here, people then also increasingly turn to premium products for everyday goods," says Kuiper.

Recommendations are important: This is how the Swiss inform themselves

Consumers in Switzerland like to get advice from family or friends before buying premium products (38%, Europe 35%). However, a good third are also guided by spontaneous impulses in the store (35%, Europe 41%). Kuiper: "Stationary retail is the place of first choice for consumers in Switzerland when it comes to premium purchases." More than half of the Swiss say they buy premium products most often in brick-and-mortar stores and from a local retailer (60%, Europe 53%).

You can download the study here download

The Nielsen Global Premiumization Survey was conducted between March 01 and March 23, 2016. Nielsen surveyed more than 30,000 consumers in 63 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and North America regions. The sample is quota-weighted by age and gender for each country based on their respective Internet users. It thus represents the country's Internet users and has a maximum global variation of ±0.6 percent. This Nielsen online survey is based exclusively on the behavior of respondents with Internet access. Internet penetration varies by country. For a country to be included in the survey, Nielsen requires that at least 60 percent of the population, or ten million people, have Internet access.

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