Over mostly limited to high income economy country

Over the past 35 years or more,
there has been a significant increase in the growth of international trade as
well as the development of global markets which in turn led to an increase in
competition. In order to survive and grow, companies had to internationalise
their marketing activities due to liberalization and deregulation of the world
markets.  Globalisation started when
manufacturer from high income economy countries began to focus on low cost of
manufacturing by shifting to medium or low income economy countries with lower
cost structures. When doing so, the products are then shipped to the home
country or to another high income economy country for consumers to buy. Markets
globalization refers principally to the conviction that consumers in apparently
different countries and from different 
cultural backgrounds are resembling more to each other. They can thus be
considered as standardized markets for an extensive variety of products. The production
globalization leads to the convergence of consumer tastes. It primarily seemed mostly
limited to high income economy country markets including the US and Europe.

 

Success internationally clearly
depends on the acceptability of products by consumers in different countries
(Kaynak et al., 2000). Several factors have impact on international
competitiveness. Thakor and Katsanis (1997, pp. 79-80), have given the
following description for country of origin; COO is defined as “the country in
which the product is made”. Country of Origin effect (COO), also referred to as
Product Country Image (PCI), is the attitudinal and behavioral responses to a
product, which influenced by the country where the has been produced.  The influence of country of origin on consumer
opinions or assessments of products is called the “country of origin effect”
(Samiee, 1994). COO can impact purchase choice of consumers. Little firsthand
study has been focusing on this COO effect Mauritius. Therefore, this study
will be based on various aspect of this impact in the local context.

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COO image (COI) re?ects a consumer’s
overall opinions about the quality of products or services made in a specific
country and the nature of individuals from that country (Erickson et al., 1986;
Han, 1986, 1989; Haubl, 1996b; Parameswaran and Yaprak, 1987). In general,
researchers have proven that, when known to consumers, COI influences the assessment
of products in a wide-range, specific classes of products, and specific brands
(Baughn and Yaprak, 1993; Bilkey and Nes, 1982; Liefeld, 1993; Ozsomer and
Cavusgil, 1991; Samiee, 1994). Since the quality indicators used by consumers
are crucial for the success or failure of public as well as industry quality
policy, it is important to assess if COO is an important quality indicator and
if so, for what kind of consumers this is true.

 

As globalization continues, more
successful companies from low or medium income economy countries (i.e. with low
COO image) will try to get companies from high income economy countries (i.e. with
high COO image). In the universal economy, most well-known brands market
worldwide, and the image of the brand can be linked to the COO image. Some
countries have a good image which give brands from the country a plus, also
known as positive COO effect. If a country has a negative image, that is negative
country of origin effect. Consequently brand managers must derive a strategy to
overcome the poor perception. For instance, Korean brands of consumer electronics
products have this problem. If we take into consideration the fact than a
product made in a low income economy is perceived as less favorable than one
produced in a high income economy. Brazil is a low income economy, as a result
its products is expected to be less desirable. However, it has been able to
shift this perception by marketing its products and building a positive image
by targeting only high income economies. They have been successful in doing so
and as a result shoes “Made in Brazil” are now considered as very high quality
product.

 

 

Usually, COO studies must continue
on a country-by-country, and product-by-product basis to be used for concrete
marketing decisions. This is because consumers in different countries differ in
use of COO information, and how they use it also depends on the specific
product (al-Sulaiti and Baker, 1998). Consumers use COO information as an indication
of product quality (Han, 1989) and authenticity (e.g. Holt et al., 2004).
However, a particular view of COO does not effectively reflect developing
market realities because an increasing number of products are designed in, have
parts from or are manufactured in more than one country (Jaffe and Nebenzahl,
2001).

 

For instance, most individuals are
likely to express differing impressions of cars made in Germany and of men’s
suits made in Italy. If the label is negative, it can enforce tough barriers
for marketers trying to enter a market or position products in an existing
market. Consequently, numerous firms have used positive COI to good advantage
in the marketing of many varieties of goods (For example, Germany –beer or Japan-electronics)
(Haubl, 1996b; Johansson and Nebenzahl, 1986; Liefeld, 1993; Papadopoulos et
al., 1988). Despite the number of researches on COO effect, little is known about
the cognitive processing that happens during COI based product assessments. Some
researches have linked the evaluation of COO to factors such as the knowledge about
a country, demographic features, shopping behaviour, attitudes and human values
(Balabanis et al., 2002; Hsieh et al., 2004; Kucukemiroglu et al., 2005; Samiee
et al., 2005; Wall et al., 1991). Aaker (1991) suggests that brand equity
comprises of five dimensions: brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived
quality, brand association and other proprietary assets.

 

Automakers compete
intensively to convince buyers to purchase their brands. A knowledge of the diverse
assessment criterion for choosing cars further develops the firm’s capability
to influence a purchase. Actually, there are numerous reasons that influence consumers’
readiness to pay. Those factors can be classified as intrinsic and extrinsic
cues (Shiffman and Kanuk, 2000). The intrinsic cues comprise of physical features
of the product itself, while extrinsic cues refer to factors that are external
to the product such as brand image, manufacturing location image, retail store
image and COO. Consumers’ opinions of product quality and purchase value to
country images in a situation where information on other indications such as
brand name, price and warranty is also available, decision makers can better comprehend
how preferences for their products are shaped. In this study we will try to
understand the perception of local buyers of motor vehicles to see if there is
a country of origin effect in Mauritius as well as if there has been a shift in
the perception of the buyers from 10 years ago. We will also analyze the
factors which led to this shift if any and their readiness to change to another
country of origin if they get the same product at same or better price.

 

The fluctuations in buyer’s demands
and preferences are crucial for development of Technology products and Appliances. World’s modern history has
mobile phone devices as fastest household adoption among all developments.
(Comer and Wikle, 2008). There are many elements which impact customer’s
purchase decision so many researches have been conducted to identify them and
make companies better than their competitors. “Individuals and household buy
goods and services for personal consumption and this buying behavior of
individuals and households is called consumer buying behavior.”(Kotler,
Armstrong, 2001). Because of dynamic fluctuations in consumers’ needs and preferences,
the expansion of mobile phones and technologies has been an prolonged history
of innovation and advancements which emerged throughout the world. Consumer
behavior researches includes how people buy/what they buy/when they buy and why
they buy. Numerous factors such as age, income, education level and preferences
are different for every customer around the world and these elements may affect
the way they benefit goods and services. Consumer behavior influence how
products and services are presented to different consumer markets and many
factors like cultural, social, personal, and psychological influence consumer behavior
(kotler and Armstrong, 2001).

 

It is
impossible to have simple rules to describe how decision of buying are made
because every person in the world is different. There are many researchers who have
been examining customer activity for many years and came up with useful
“guidelines” how people make decision either to purchase or not. In order to
satisfy their needs, customers make purchases. Some are basic needs which must
be filled by everyone. However others are not necessarily for basic survival
and they vary person to person. We can classify them not as a necessity but as “wants
and desires”. Mauritius is a medium income economy country so we are up to
interesting results related to country of origin effects on Technology products and Appliances.
People consider from where the products originate and where they are
manufactured for evaluating the quality of the products. (Parkvithee & Miranda,
2012). Different opinions among consumers may lead to different assessments
about products when they want to choose due to different cultures. COO plays an
important role in competitive markets as well as in consumer buying behavior. Parameters
that have an effect on COO includes Political system, culture and the country’s
economy (Teo, Mohamad, & Ramayah, 2011)

 

Whether or not consumers COO
information in their routine food item
purchase decisions is an argumentative subject. In several studies we can see
that consumer use indications of food quality, Verbeke and Roosen (2009, p. 24)
state: “Clearly, findings from previous consumer studies are not unanimous with
respect to whether labeling cues such as country-of-origin labels, geographical
indications or quality labels have a favourable impact on product valuation by
consumers.” More specifically, the effect of COO information on buyers’ food
product assessment and buying decisions may not be as noticeable as other cues,
such as price and brand (Wall et al., 1991; Ahmed et al., 2004; Chryssochoidis
et al., 2007). Through international trade clients have access to a diversity
of food products that would otherwise be constrained by local growing seasons and
conditions. In a review of studies, Verbeke and Ward (2006, p. 455) concluded
that: “. . . The potential impact on consumer decision making of simple
indications of traceability or origin is more debatable since consumer interest
for and understanding of these cues cannot be taken for granted”. Thus, the aim
of this study is to assess the effect of COO in their routine food purchases.

 

Together with the growth and
awareness about halal products. It has been noted that the Muslim community not
only focus on the Halal certification of products but also checks the country
of origin. This is because there are numerous retailers and manufacturers but
there is still a doubt on the way they are being verified and accredited those
certifications. Therefore, there can be Muslim who will trust halal product
from specific countries only. This study will shed some light on effect of COO
for halal products in Mauritius.