Predicting Chinese consumers' purchase intentions for imported soy-based dietary supplements

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to model Chinese consumers' purchase intentions for imported soy-based dietary supplements (DS) based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and the health belief model (HBM). The central hypotheses for this study are that purchase intentions of Chinese DS consumers are a result of attitudes toward using DS, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. Health value and perceived susceptibility to illness, as well as product knowledge and marketer distrust, are integrated into the model. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Data were collected from 251 consumers in Shanghai, China. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data. Findings ‐ The TPB model is effective in predicting Chinese consumers' imported soy-based DS purchase intentions. Attitudes toward using soy-based DS, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control have significant influences on purchase intention. Perceived behavioral control also plays an important role in the formation of attitudes. Subjective norm significantly influences perceived behavioral control. Chinese consumers' marketer distrust plays a significant role in forming their attitudes and purchase intentions. On the other hand, product knowledge has no moderating influences on the relationships between health value and attitudes and perceived susceptibility to illness and attitudes. Neither health value nor susceptibility to illness has any influence on attitudes. Practical implications ‐ The findings of this study regarding the impact of marketer distrust on attitude and purchase behavior have important implications for western marketers exporting to China and the Chinese government. The western marketers of soy-based DS should consider taking specific actions to decrease consumer distrust of marketers promoting soy-based DS products. In regards to production of goods for the domestic market in China, relevant Chinese state agencies, such as the State Food and Drug Administration, would be well-advised to continue to step up their efforts in product inspections and regulation of pharmaceutical ingredients and also to strengthen legislation such as the Consumer Rights Protection Law. Originality/value ‐ Considering the growing popularity of DS in China, the current research is the first academic attempt to identify factors that affect purchase of imported soy-based DS among Chinese consumers.
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