Satisfaction With Products of Foreign Origin

ABSTRACT - This study concerns several issues related to the consumer's satisfaction with, and willingness to buy foreign products. The specific issues addressed are: do consumers react in the same way for foreign products as they do for domestic ones; does the level of satisfaction with a- particular foreign product influence willingness to buy foreign products in general; and how does perceived quality influence the re-purchase decision. The results indicate that satisfaction does influence willingness to buy products of foreign origin. Perceived quality also influences the intention to purchase.



Citation:

Barbara C. Garland and John C. Crawford (1985) ,"Satisfaction With Products of Foreign Origin", in SV - Historical Perspective in Consumer Research: National and International Perspectives, eds. Jagdish N. Sheth and Chin Tiong Tan, Singapore : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 160-161.

Historical Perspective in Consumer Research: National and International Perspectives, 1985     Pages 160-161

SATISFACTION WITH PRODUCTS OF FOREIGN ORIGIN

Barbara C. Garland, North Texas State University

John C. Crawford, North Texas State University

ABSTRACT -

This study concerns several issues related to the consumer's satisfaction with, and willingness to buy foreign products. The specific issues addressed are: do consumers react in the same way for foreign products as they do for domestic ones; does the level of satisfaction with a- particular foreign product influence willingness to buy foreign products in general; and how does perceived quality influence the re-purchase decision. The results indicate that satisfaction does influence willingness to buy products of foreign origin. Perceived quality also influences the intention to purchase.

INTRODUCTION

There is increasing concern in the United States with the inroads that foreign manufacturers have made into traditionally U.S.-held markets. The automobile, steel and electronics industries are the principal targets for low cost (and high quality) products from overseas but an increasing number of other business areas are feeling the effects of foreign competition.

The success of the new, emerging nations in penetrating the-U.S. market can be partly attributed to the U.S. government's "open-door" policy of encouraging developing nations by reducing tariffs and other forms of trade barriers, but it may also result from a change in attitude by the U.S. consumer. It may be that the consumer is well satisfied with foreign products and, as a result, is more and more willing to buy them.

The purpose of this study is to identify the level of satisfaction the U.S. consumer has experienced in purchasing foreign goods, and the effect of this satisfaction on his willingness to buy foreign goods in the future. It is hypothesized that prior satisfaction with an individual foreign product increases the possibility of future purchases of foreign products in general. In other words, product satisfaction with one foreign product produces favorable bias toward all foreign products.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The literature on consumer satisfaction has been devoted mainly to satisfaction with domestically produced products . There are numerous definitions of satisfaction but that of Oliver (1981) seems to be most appropriate for the present study. Oliver describes satisfaction as the "summary psychological state resulting when disconfirmed expectations is coupled with the consumer's prior feelings about t h e consumption experience." (p. 27). "Surprise," results from the difference between the actual experience of using the product and the consumer's expectations of the product. This surprise may be posit ive (satisfaction) or negative (dissatisfaction). Thus , the consumer is either pleasantly surprised or unpleasantly surprised with the performance (or quality) of the product . Satisfaction is therefore posterior to exposure to the product . Satisfaction is also not a permanent state. The surprise or the excitement is subject to decay.

Consumer attitudes toward foreign products have been well researched. It is now firmly established that goods of foreign origin face bias, both favorable and unfavorable. As Bilkey and Nes (1982) make clear in their review of the "Made In ... " literature, up to that time all of the research found country-of-origin to be an influence on the consumer's product evaluations. How important an influence is a mute question.

A study by Kaynak and Cavusgil (1983) found that count ry-of-origin influences tend to be product-specific . The Canadian consumers who were surveyed tended to favor products of U.S. origin, a finding contrary to that of Lillis and Narayana (1974). In that instance, Canadian consumers preferred to "buy Canadian." This would seem to support the view that the consumer does change his attitudes over time, it seems that if the price and quality are right the consumer is as likely to buy the foreign product as the domestic one (Kaynak and Cavusgil, 1983). Willingness to buy products from other countries appears to be correlated with the perceived risk associated with these countries (Lumpkin, Crawford and Kim, 1985). There are some countries to which the consumer appears more risk-averse than others. As far as the U.S. consumer is concerned, for some product categories, he would certainly prefer to buy from one country rather than another. Nevertheless, the question that arises is that having bought a product produced in a foreign country, does the consumer's satisfaction with the product influence his purchase intentions in the future?

METHODOLOGY

The Sample

An exploratory study, using a self-administered questionnaire, was conducted of American university students' will ingness to buy products of foreign origin. Out of 136 questionnaires, 101 were usable for the statistical analysis. The product set included food, clothing, and personal items; in addition, the items included durables and non-durables spanning a broad range in price (see Table 1).

TABLE 1

PRODUCTS SURVEYED

Data Collection

In each questionnaire, product ownership for each of the 20 items was established first, as well as the country of the product's origin, if it was known. Then post-purchase reactions were examined for satisfaction, for perceived product quality, and for willingness to buy.

Each respondent repeated a set of measures focused on four products--the most satisfactory and the least satisfactory for a product of foreign origin and a product of domestic origin. Since not all respondents were experienced purchasers of foreign goods, the sample size was reduced to 71. These respondents had purchased four items which they could classify by satisfaction level, and by country of origin.

The largest subset of the data (the highly satisfied condition for foreign-origin automobiles, n = 51) was used to examine the following relationships in the global context of foreign origin products.

H1: Willingness to buy a foreign - made product is a function of prior satisfaction with products of foreign origin.

H2: Willingness to buy a foreign - made product is a function of the perceived quality of products of foreign origin.

Similarly, the following relationships were re-examined in the product-specific context of foreign-origin automobiles:

H3 : Willingness to buy a specific foreign - made product is a function of prior satisfaction  that product.

H4: Willingness to buy a specific foreign -made product is a function of the perceived quality of that product.

Analysis

A two factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed for all four product-specific repurchase measures . As Table 2 shows, satisfaction clearly influences willingness to buy for all four measures. However, the count ry-of-origin effect and the interact ion between satisfaction and country of origin are important only when the predisposit ion or post-purchase evaluative attitude is the focus of interest (measure #4 ) . A Scheffe test for the difference of the two means for satisfaction/dissatisfaction was conducted . At the 0.05 or better probability level, both differences arc significant.

TABLE 2

ANOVA RESULTS FOR WILLINGNESS-TO-BUY ACROSS FOUR MEASURES WITH SATISFACTION AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN MAIN EFFECTS

The regression results for hypotheses one through four are presented in Table 3. Purchase intention in the general case of product s of foreign orig i n is a function of prior satisfaction with such products. Similarly, it is also a function of perceived quality. More of the variance in the purchase intention is explained by the satisfaction model than is explained by the perceived quality model in the global situation, when consumers are asked to generalize.

When consumers are questioned about a specific product, foreign automobiles, perceived quality is slightly more important in explaining the variance in purchase intention than is prior satisfaction. Respondents appear somewhat more optimistic about foreign-made automobiles than about foreign products in general.

TABLE 3

REGRESSION RESULTS MOST SATISFIED WITH FOREIGN-MADE AUTOMOBILE (TWO-ITEM INDICES)

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that as far as the U.S. consumer is concerned, willingness to buy foreign products is a function of both prior experience with that product, and with the perception of the quality of the product.

Previous findings which indicate that bias toward a foreign country is product specific appears to be supported by this research. However, there also seems to be evidence to support the view that a consumer forms a global view of foreign products which may be influenced by global attitudes towards perceived quality and overall satisfaction with all past purchases.

REFERENCES

Bilkey, W. T., and E. Nes (1982), "Count ry-of-Or ig in Effects on Product Evaluations," Journal of International Business Studies, (Spring/summer) 89-100.

Kaynak, Erdener and Tamer Cavusgil (1983), "Consumer Attitudes Towards Products of Foreign Origin: Do They Vary Across Product Classes?" International Journal of Advertising, 2 (April/June), 147-157.

Lillis, Charles M. and Chem L. Narayana (1974), "Analysis of 'Made-In' Product Images--An Exploratory Study," Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 5, (Spring), 119-127.

Lumpkin, James R., Cap Kim, and John C. Crawford (1984), "Perceived Risk in Apparel Due to Country of Origin: A Study of Inherent vs. Handled Risk," in Proceedings of the Southwestern Journal of Marketing Association Conference, James R. Lumpkin and John C. Crawford, eds., San Antonio: Southwestern Marketing Association, 119-122.

Oliver, Richard L. (1981), "Measurement and Evaluation of Satisfaction Processes in Retail Settings," Journal of Retailing 57 (Fall), 25-48.

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Authors

Barbara C. Garland, North Texas State University
John C. Crawford, North Texas State University



Volume

SV - Historical Perspective in Consumer Research: National and International Perspectives | 1985



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