Why some people prefer local items to global brands

April 1st, 2009 - 4:45 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr 1 (ANI): Not everybody prefers Coke or Pepsi, for there are people who love their local beverages far better than these global brands. And now, scientists have delved into the consumers’ psyche to know the reason behind this tendency.

A new study has examined why some consumers prefer local products and others gravitate toward global brands.

“Due to rapid globalization, local products-products with specifications and packaging tailored for local markets, such as Mecca Cola (France) and Fei-Chang Cola (China)-and global products (products with the same specifications and packaging for consumers from around the world) such as Pepsi and Coke, routinely compete against each other,” wrote authors Yinlong Zhang (University of Texas at San Antonio) and Adwait Khare (Quinnipiac University).

For the study, the researchers set out to answer the following question: “Why do global products fare better than local products in some markets and local products better than global products in other markets?”

In one experiment, they demonstrated that most consumers have intrinsic mindsets that point them toward global or local sensibilities.

“Global-minded consumers prefer global products (similar specifications for consumers around the world) and local-minded consumers prefer local products (different specifications for consumers from different parts of the world)” explained the authors.

The inclination toward global or local mindsets is connected to people’s desire for distinctiveness (local) versus their desire to be similar to others (global).

They conducted three subsequent studies, in which they enhanced the accessibility of participants’ local or global identities to investigate their responses to products.

They then manipulated consumers’ preferences by informing participants of the unsuitability of their global or local inclinations.

“A reversal in preference occurs when global-minded consumers’ desire for distinctiveness from others is enhanced and when local-minded consumers’ desire for solidarity with others is enhanced,” wrote the authors.

The study can help understand why people may gravitate toward one brand or another.

“The findings reveal how multinational or local firms can solidify consumers’ preferences for global or local products if their consumers’ global or local inclinations are compatible with their products’ positioning,” concluded the authors.

The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research. (ANI)

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