Consumer ethnocentrism and attitudes towards domestic and foreign products : a South African study

Pentz, Christian Donald (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2011-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The continued growth of international trade has resulted in levels of global product availability that is not only unprecedented, but would have been regarded as impossible not too long ago. Products of almost every conceivable national origin are now readily available in numerous countries throughout the world. Because the “country of origin” label of a product is a factor that could influence the buying behaviour of consumers, prescient international marketers know that they need to investigate consumer attitudes toward both domestic and imported products and the findings of these investigations should be used to formulate more effective marketing strategies. Previous research into the “country of origin” phenomenon has focused on consumer ethnocentrism as a possible reason why consumers would buy a domestic rather than an imported product. The basic premise of the concept of consumer ethnocentrism is that the attitudes and purchase intentions of consumers can be influenced by what could be called nationalistic emotions. In short, consumer ethnocentrism implies that consumers might regard the purchase of foreign products as “wrong”, as it might harm the domestic economy and result in job losses in industries that compete with imports. As a result, consumer ethnocentrism has been actively researched in developed countries in particular, but there seems to be a dearth of knowledge about consumer ethnocentrism in developing countries. This study‟s primary objective is therefore to investigate consumer ethnocentrism in a developing country, in this case South Africa. The study is based on a review of the literature, covering aspects such as marketing, consumer behaviour, globalisation and especially the phenomena of country of origin and consumer ethnocentrism. The literature review was followed by an empirical, survey-based study investigating consumer ethnocentrism in South Africa. A novel contribution of this study is that consumer ethnocentrism was investigated among different racial groups in the same country. This was done to assess whether there are significant similarities and/or differences between different racial groups in terms of consumer ethnocentrism and any of the attitudinal variables relevant to international marketing. A conceptual model (containing sixteen variables) was developed as a guideline from the literature review to investigate consumer ethnocentrism and how it could influence the attitudes of South African consumers (of different races) towards the import of foreign products (Chinese clothing in this case) and ultimately the willingness of these consumers to buy imported clothing. A questionnaire was subsequently developed to collect data from a sample of black and a sample of white South African respondents. An exploratory factor analysis of the data was done and the results indicated that for the samples of both black and white respondents, the original number of variables (excluding demographic variables) that drive consumer ethnocentrism could be reduced to ten. These variables were exactly the same for both sub-samples studied. The proposed theoretical model was also empirically tested by means of the structural equation modelling technique. The result of these tests was the creation of structural models for both sub-samples, illustrating all the variables and indicators of the measurement model and the structural relationships among the different variables. From the results it is clear that even though there were differences in terms of the impact of a number of antecedents on consumer ethnocentrism, the two sub-samples responded in a relatively similar way. The results also indicated that the antecedents, cultural openness, patriotism, individualism, age, income, attitude towards human rights and history of oppression, were regarded as antecedents for consumer ethnocentrism by both sub-samples. The differences confirmed were that the sample of white respondents also regarded nationalism and gender as predictors of consumer ethnocentrism. The results also revealed that black respondents seemed to be more ethnocentric than their white counterparts. From the results it seems that, due to the differences between the two sub-samples of this study, marketing strategies related to consumer ethnocentrism should not be identical for white and black South African consumers. Based on the results, a number of marketing strategies that could be implemented by both local and international marketers for the South African market are proposed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die volgehoue groei in internasionale handel het daartoe gelei dat ʼn verskeidenheid produkte van verskillende nasionale oorspronge deesdae in baie lande regoor die wêreld beskikbaar is. Weens die feit dat die sogenaamde “land van oorsprong” van ʼn produk verbruikers se aankoopgedrag kan beïnvloed, het vooruitdenkende internasionale bemarkers begrip vir die feit dat hulle verbruikers se houdings teenoor beide plaaslike en ingevoerde produkte moet ondersoek, en hierdie resultate moet gebruik in die formulering van meer suksesvolle bemarkingstrategieë. Vorige navorsing oor “land van oorsprong” studies het die konsep van verbruikers-etnosentrisme geïdentifiseer as ʼn moontlike rede waarom verbruikers eerder „n plaaslike as ʼn ingevoerde produk sou aankoop. Die uitgangspunt is dat hul nasionalistiese emosies die houding en aankoopintensie van verbruikers kan beïnvloed. In kort impliseer verbruikers-etnosentrisme dat verbruikers sal voel die aankoop van buitelandse produkte is verkeerd, aangesien dit die plaaslike ekonomie kan skaad en werkverliese tot gevolg mag hê in industrieë wat deur invoere geraak word. Oor die jare is die konsep van verbruikers-etnosentrisme aktief nagevors in veral ontwikkelde lande, maar dit blyk dat daar ʼn groot leemte bestaan ten opsigte van kennis oor verbruikers-etnosentrisme in ontwikkelende lande. Om hierdie probleem aan te spreek is die primêre doelstelling van hierdie studie om verbruikers-etnosentrisme in ʼn ontwikkelende land (Suid-Afrika) te ondersoek. Die studie begin met ʼn literatuuroorsig wat aspekte insluit soos bemarking, verbruikersgedrag, globalisasie, die land van oorsprong fenomeen en verbruikers-etnosentrisme- verskynsel. Die literatuuroorsig is gevolg deur ʼn empiriese studie om verbruikers-etnosentrisme in Suid-Afrika te ondersoek. ʼn Unieke bydrae van hierdie studie is dat verbruikers-etnosentrisme ondersoek is tussen verskillende rassegroepe. Dit is hoofsaaklik gedoen om vas te stel of daar wesentlike verskille sou wees tussen verskillende rassegroepe ten opsigte van verbruikers-etnosentrisme en ander veranderlikes wat verband hou met internasionale bemarking. Uit die literatuur is ʼn konseptuele model (met sestien veranderlikes) ontwikkel as ʼn riglyn om die volgende te ondersoek: verbruikers etnosentrisme, hoe dit die houding van Suid-Afrikaanse verbruikers (van verskillende rasse) teenoor buitelandse produkte (Chinese klere) beïnvloed en uiteindelik die bereidwilligheid van hierdie verbruikers om ingevoerde produkte te koop. ʼn Vraelys is ontwikkel om data van ʼn steekproef swart en ʼn steekproef wit Suid-Afrikaanse respondente in te samel. ʼn Verkennende faktoranalise is op die data uitgevoer en die resultate het aangedui dat die oorspronklike hoeveelheid veranderlikes (uitsluitend demografiese veranderlikes) gereduseer kon word na ʼn totaal van tien vir beide steekproewe wit en swart respondente. Hierdie veranderlikes was presies dieselfde vir beide subgroepe wat gebruik is. Die voorgestelde model is ook verder empiries getoets met behulp van die structural equation modelling-tegniek. Die resultaat van hierdie toets was die skepping van strukturele modelle vir beide steekproewe. Hierdie modelle illustreer al die veranderlikes asook die aanduiders van die metingsmodel en die strukturele verhoudings tussen die onderskeie veranderlikes. Die resultate toon duidelik dat ten spyte van die feit dat daar verskille met betrekking tot die impak van ʼn aantal veranderlikes op verbruikers-etnosentrisme was, die twee subgroepe relatief konsekwent gereageer het. Die resultate dui daarop dat die veranderlikes, cultural openness, patriotism, individualism, age, income, attitude towards human rights and history of oppression deur beide groepe as voorspellers van verbruikers-etnosentrisme geag is. Die verskille wat bevestig is, is dat die steekproef van wit respondente ook nasionalisme en geslag as voorspellers van verbruikers-etnosentrisme gereken het. Die resultate het verder bevestig dat die swart respondente skynbaar meer etnosentries as hul wit eweknieë is. Weens die verskille wat tussen die twee steekproewe aangeteken is, blyk dit dat bemarkingstrategieë wat verband hou met verbruikers-etnosentrisme nie presies dieselfde moet wees vir swart en wit Suid-Afrikaanse verbruikers nie. Gegrond op die resultate is ʼn aantal bemarkingstrategieë vir die Suid-Afrikaanse mark geformuleer en voorgestel wat deur plaaslike en internasionale bemarkers geïmplimenteer kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18037
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