During the COVID Crisis, Austrian companies have seen business slow down, as with many countries around the world. Consumers are wary of spending money due to the current uncertain climate. However, Austrians still place a great value on quality of life, and spend money on products and services that make their lives healthy, enjoyable and sustainable.
“Austrian consumers prefer things that suit their high standard living as well as care for the sustainability of the world” Onanood Phadoongvithee, Minister Councellor (Commercial Affairs) and Director of the Thai Trade Center in Vienna, says.
In 2019, Austria had an annual GDP per capita of US$60,414, making it the fifth highest in the EU and 14th in the world. Eating out, recreational activities and travelling are indispensable parts of life.
“Austrians attach great importance on the aesthetics of life, so to penetrate the Austrian market Thai entrepreneurs should view the EU as a single market, and study government policies, including the environmental consciousness of European consumers, especially sustainability,” says Phadoongvithee. “Europeans, especially Austrians, choose things that are healthy to their lives and the planet.”
Phadoongvithee suggests the three elements Thai entrepreneurs should focus on product design if they wish to penetrate the European market, are product itself, packaging and labelling. They should also study the EU’s Green Deal Measures and Regulations as the EU has strict measures on products imported to the EU.
“Environmentally friendly is important. The words recycle or upcycle are broadly familiar here, but if you want to communicate to the heart of European consumers, ‘zero waste’ is the best message,” she says
Emotional marketing campaigns are key to appeal to upper EU consumers, especially terms that are unique to Thai products and services, such as Thailand is a ‘Heart Made’ country.
“Austrians do not buy things only for functionality, but also for pleasure. Thai entrepreneurs should think about how to offer Thai products and services at a premium by allowing customers to make decisions with their hearts over heads,” she says. “Price should not be a major consideration.”
This year, the Thai Trade Center in Vienna is focusing on four projects to promote ‘Thai Heart Made’.
The MQ Vienna Fashion Week is a platform for Thai designer to have a showcase in Vienna. Thailand has joined this project for 12 years allowing Thai designers to display their work to the world. It has an Artist in Residence scheme. For 2021, Thailand will nominate an artist to join the programme.
The Meisterstrasse is a European online platform for selected craft products with 4.4 million users and 13.5 million-page impressions. This year will see the second time that Meisterstrasse has invited craft products outside of Europe. Japan was the first collaboration, and Thailand will be the second.
Finally, Thai Select is a Thai restaurant campaign promoting Thai dishes globally. Thai restaurants in Austria are encouraged to create their signature drinks to be paired with their Thai recommended dishes to offer a new experience about Thai food.
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi