A Structural Analysis of Value Orientations, Price Perceptions, and Mall Shopping Behaviors: a Cross-Cultural Study of American and Korean Consumers

EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Individuals’ value orientations tend to be culture-bound. For example, individuals living in Western countries (e.g., the US) tend to place a great deal of importance on the value of individualism, whereas the value of collectivism is highly regarded in Asian countries (e.g., Korea) (Triandis 1989). Such values are reported to influence consumers’ consumption behavior indirectly through consumers’ attitudes (Shim & Eastlick 1998). Additionally, materialism is another important consumption-related value that affects consumers’ attitudes and subsequent behaviors.



Citation:

Kittichai Watchravesringkan, Jennifer Yurchisin, and Miwoo Nam (2005) ,"A Structural Analysis of Value Orientations, Price Perceptions, and Mall Shopping Behaviors: a Cross-Cultural Study of American and Korean Consumers", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, eds. Yong-Uon Ha and Youjae Yi, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 137-139.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, 2005      Pages 137-139

A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF VALUE ORIENTATIONS, PRICE PERCEPTIONS, AND MALL SHOPPING BEHAVIORS: A CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY OF AMERICAN AND KOREAN CONSUMERS

Kittichai Watchravesringkan, University of Arizona, U.S.A.

Jennifer Yurchisin, University of Arizona, U.S.A.

Miwoo Nam, Seokyeong University, Seoul, Korea

EXTENDED ABSTRACT -

Individuals’ value orientations tend to be culture-bound. For example, individuals living in Western countries (e.g., the US) tend to place a great deal of importance on the value of individualism, whereas the value of collectivism is highly regarded in Asian countries (e.g., Korea) (Triandis 1989). Such values are reported to influence consumers’ consumption behavior indirectly through consumers’ attitudes (Shim & Eastlick 1998). Additionally, materialism is another important consumption-related value that affects consumers’ attitudes and subsequent behaviors.

One particular consumption-related attitude that may be affected by such values is price perception. Price perception has a significant impact on consumption behavior (Lichtenstein et al. 1993). Price possesses two distinct roles: positive, in which the price of an object serves as an indicator of prestige and quality, and negative, in which the price of an object is viewed as a monetary sacrifice on the part of the consumer. Little research, however, has been performed to determine the direct effect of values on these two perceived roles of price.

The behavioral responses of all consumers may not have been accurately portrayed because previous studies have generally examined search behavior that is related to a specific consumption need. However, some search activity is recreational or occurs without consumption-need recognition (e.g., browsing) (Bloch et al. 1986). Thus, it is important for researchers to investigate both ongoing search and actual purchase behavior.

The objectives of this research were (1) to examine the impact of values (i.e., materialism, individualism, and collectivism) on different aspects of consumers’ price perceptions, (2) to assess the influence of aspects of price perception (i.e., the positive and negative roles of price) on consumers’ ongoing search behavior, and (3) to investigate the relationship between ongoing search activity and mall shopping behavior.

A questionnaire was designed to collect information needed to test the hypotheses. Prior to the data collection, a native Korean professor who is fluent in both English and Korean translated the questionnaire into Korean. Questionnaires were then distributed to a convenience sample of undergraduate students at a university in the US and a university in Korea during two consecutive semesters. Apparel was the focus of this study because it is a product with which students would have experience that can be associated with both status and value (Richins 1994). Participants were asked to complete six sections concerning materialism, individualism and collectivism, price perception, ongoing search behaviors, purchase behaviors, and demographic information.

Demographic characteristics of the US sample were quite similar to the Korean sample, except in the case of annual household income (60% of the US sample came from upper-class families whereas 50% of the Korean sample came from middle-class families).

Responses from both samples were pooled for the analysis. A principal components factor analysis using varimax rotation was executed on each multiple-item scale. A series of t-tests were also conducted to ensure that there were differences between the US and the Korean samples related to individualism and collectivism. As expected, results revealed that the US group had a significantly higher individualistic score than the Korean sample. Similarly, the Korean group had a significantly higher collectivistic score than the US group. Thus, differences between the Americans and Koreans on the dependent measure can be attributed to the cultural values of individualism and collectivism. Subsequently, a structural equation analysis was performed using a two-step approach through LISREL 8.3.

Results showed that materialistic consumers were likely to have a favorable attitude toward price in terms of prestige sensitivity and value consciousness. That is, buying expensive apparel products helped them gain a feeling of prominence that may reflect high status as perceived by others (Lichtenstein et al. 1993). Highly materialistic people also responded favorably to price cues associated with the negative role of price (i.e., value consciousness). In addition, it is evident that individualism positively influenced consumers’ price perception cues in terms of prestige sensitivity but negatively influenced their perceived price cues in terms of value consciousness. These findings seem to indicate that, while individualistic American people associate high price with prestige, the value obtained from purchasing apparel products tends to be less emphasized.

In contrast, collectivist consumers were less likely to have a favorable attitude toward the prestige sensitivity aspect of price but were more likely to have a favorable attitude toward the value consciousness aspect of price. These findings are logical given Korea’s current economic situation. In addition, due to the fact that our sample of Korean students mainly came from middle-class families, these participants may not have large disposable incomes and therefore may not be concerned with getting a good deal as opposed to showing prestige. Hence, they tended to react more favorably to the value consciousness role of price than the prestige sensitivity role of price.

The paths to ongoing search behavior from prestige sensitivity and value consciousness were both positive. The more the individuals perceived price to provide a signal of prestige, the more likely they were to conduct search activities that were totally independent of consumption-related problems (e.g., browsing a store). Similarly, the more individuals were concerned with the investment of their monetary sources relative to the quality received (i.e., value consciousness), the more likely they were to conduct ongoing search activities. Lastly, a positive path between ongoing search behavior and shopping behavior was found.

These results suggest that the global firms need to be cautious when developing communication strategies. For instance, an ad campaign for high priced products (e.g., Gucci) with a strong emphasis on prestige may be effective among American college students, but the exact same ad may not be effective among young Koreans because this segment is more value conscious than others. In contrast, an ad emphasizing value consciousness may be more effective in collectivist Korean culture than individualistic American culture. Related to the effect of ongoing search on actual mall shopping behavior, retailers need to provide excitement (e.g., retail-tainment) to attract and retain consumers since such activity appears to lead to purchase.

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Authors

Kittichai Watchravesringkan, University of Arizona, U.S.A.
Jennifer Yurchisin, University of Arizona, U.S.A.
Miwoo Nam, Seokyeong University, Seoul, Korea



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6 | 2005



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