This study focuses on consumer choice behavior in the context of a new European Union (EU) member state by examining cognitive, affective and normative mechanisms in consumer preference formation for domestic vs imported products.
Data is drawn from a survey of 714 adult consumers. The research instrument included construct measures adapted from previous studies. The measurement model of domestic consumption was tested via covariance analysis. Once the construct reliability and validities were established, the structural model was evaluated to test the hypothesized relationships.
The findings suggest that affective and normative constructs (i.e. consumer ethnocentrism and patriotism) are stronger determinants of domestic consumption than rational considerations (the cognitive mechanism) such as perceptions of relative product quality of domestic vs imported products. The role of patriotism and cosmopolitanism as factors fuelling ethnocentric tendencies are confirmed.
Our results, showing the considerable relative strength of patriotism and ethnocentrism on domestic consumption suggest that managers of local brands and domestic institutions should be able to enhance their communication programs and develop close bonds with their consumers. This finding is an important signal to international entrants in positioning their international offerings, particularly as strong local brands are gaining market share in many emerging consumer markets.
In view of emerging transnational groupings such as the EU, this study examines possible consumer resistance to economic integration. It uses realistic data set drawn from adult consumers and focuses on a relatively homogeneous country with a small population allowing for a good external validity of findings.
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