Chinese products face UK backlash after Mattel crisis

MattelAlmost 40% of UK consumers are less likely to buy Chinese-manufactured products because of Mattel’s toy recall crisis, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Marketing Week.

The toy giant has been forced to withdraw nearly 21 million potentially harmful products from retailers over the past month. A survey of 2,000 consumers reveals that 37.1% say the crisis has affected their view of Chinese products overall and as a result they are less likely to buy something made in that country.

Last week Mattel took the unprecedented step of apologising to China after admitting it had recalled some Chinese-made products “unnecessarily”. Mattel executive vice-president of worldwide operations Thomas Debrowski acknowledged the country’s reputation had been damaged by the recalls at a meeting with China’s quality watchdog chief Li Changjiang last week.

The survey also revealed that Mattel’s reputation in the UK has been tainted – 26.4% of consumers said they had heard something negative about the brand in the past weeks. Furthermore, 72% were aware of the recall and 23% would not feel confident about buying Mattel products.

Mattel withdrew the toys after it was found some of them contained levels of lead 180 times more than the legal limit; others had loose parts.

Hamleys says it is investigating the possibility of sourcing more toys from Europe rather than China.
Public doubt has also spread online. A series of anti-Mattel groups have been set up on Facebook and there are more than 130 blogs discussing the subject, according to search conversion agency Tamar.

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