Study: Swissness Worldwide 2016

Despite mass immigration initiatives and intensive discussions about immigration, Switzerland is considered one of the most cosmopolitan countries. The image of products and services from Switzerland is also very good. At home and abroad, depending on the industry, Swiss products are paid up to over 100% Swissness premium in the form of higher prices. However, there is no reason to rest on this position. For the first time, Swiss products and services are only just in second place behind offers from Germany.

This is shown by the current study “Swissness Worldwide 2016” with over 7,900 respondents from 15 countries worldwide, conducted by the Institute for Marketing at the University of St.Gallen (HSG) and htp St.Gallen Managementberatung AG in cooperation with Jung von Matt / Limmat.

Open-minded Switzerland

In international comparison, Switzerland is considered to be cosmopolitan and not very xenophobic – presumably contrary to the prevailing opinion in Switzerland. In an international comparison, it ranks third behind Italy and Spain and thus ahead of France, Germany and the USA. Roger Federer is most frequently mentioned as an ambassador who embodies Swiss values to a special degree; ten times more often than the next person alive. He embodies Swiss values such as reliability and hard work all over the world and is thus an example of likeable Swiss success.

Swissness for the economy up-to-date as never before

On 1.1.2017 the Swissness Ordinance will come into force. It regulates which requirements companies must meet in order to be allowed to use the Swiss brand. Although many companies see Swissness as valuable and want to use it more in the future, half of them have not yet made a final evaluation and have not yet adopted the “Swissness Strategy”.

Swissness is very valuable

Between 52 and 89% of those surveyed worldwide prefer Swiss products over offers of unknown origin for the same price. For Swiss origin, respondents are prepared to pay a premium of over 100% for luxury watches, over 50% for cheese and cosmetic products and still 7% for ski vacations. The lowest Swissness premiums are paid by airlines, in the information and communication technology sector and in mechanical engineering. The biggest fans of Swissness with the highest willingness to pay come from China, Brazil, India and Russia – countries in which a good 40% of the world’s population lives. On average, Swiss products can achieve a price premium of almost 40% in the industries studied. In Switzerland, the Swissness trend is also unbroken. 43 % of the population has an affinity for Swissness and pays close attention to the Swiss origin of products. The Swiss cross on packaging is also valuable for established and well-known brands. Guetzli with the cross, for example, are paid 6 % more than without.

Switzerland still respected and loved

Switzerland is still perceived as attractive, a country with lots of nature, beautiful landscapes and a high quality of life. It is respected and is more appealing to the interviewees than all other countries surveyed. However, in many parts of the world it is perceived clichéd as a fairytale land of mountains, chocolate and watches, rather than as an innovative and technologically leading economic nation.

Swiss products head to head with German products

After Swiss products and services have always made the best overall impression in the studies of 2008, 2010 and 2013, they will reach only second place in 2016 for the first time, very close behind German offerings. Despite all the positive assessments, international competition between the benchmark countries remains fierce. From a communications perspective, care should be taken to avoid anything that might undermine the good image. On the other hand, the perception of innovative strength should be further strengthened. This would not only affect national communication, but would require concerted action by all innovative Swiss companies.

Details of the survey

• Online survey of 7914 people from online panels in 15 countries: Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, USA, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Russia, United Kingdom
• worldwide in eleven languages (German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Hindi and Mandarin)
• Average duration of an interview: 26 minutes
• Field time: April 2016

Obtaining the study:
Order flyer or htp St.Gallen, Phone +41 44 542 79 97,

Contacts for questions regarding content:
Dr. Stephan Feige, htp St.Gallen, +41 79 458 77 77
Prof. Dr. Sven Reinecke, Institute of Marketing, +41 79 103 74 22
Roman Hirsbrunner, Jung von Matt, +41 44 254 66 00