The purpose of this paper is to explore how a positive country-of-origin image will impact consumer perceptions for a high-risk product when the price is unexpectedly low.
An experimental approach was used with consumers from the USA and India. Consumers were divided into groups and given two scenarios that involved purchasing medicine that may have been counterfeit. In one scenario manufacturing took place in India, the other in Switzerland. They were asked to state the probability that certain goods could be counterfeit if they originated from the stated country and then make choices based on those perceived probabilities. An analysis of variance was conducted to test for differences between groups.
The authors found that in both samples consumers attached greater probabilities toward low-priced medicines if they originated from Switzerland vs India. Conversely, the higher priced medicines were more likely to be counterfeit if they originated from India vs Switzerland. When given a choice scenario consumers chose more versions of the cheaper products from India than from Switzerland.
When country-of-origin is salient then it is believed that a positive country-of-origin image will benefit products that are produced from that country. Consumers expect that more expensive products come from a country with a positive country-of-origin image. The results demonstrate that when there is a conflict between expectations of the country and the price of the product the outcome is lowered perceptions and consumption of the product. This holds true for consumers from a high-cost economy (USA) and consumers from a low-cost economy (India). The authors add to the literature on country-of-origin by demonstrating that a positive image can be a liability when consumers are wary of purchasing a high-risk product.
Majid, K.A. (2017), "Drawing negative inferences from a positive country-of-origin image: Consumers’ use of COI and price levels to assess counterfeit drugs", International Marketing Review, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 293-310. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-03-2015-0060
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