Relevant or redundant: Elite consumers' perception of foreign-made products in an emerging market

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This paper examines the attitudes of elite Pakistani consumers concerning their preferences for foreign-made products and how these preferences influence purchasing decisions. Data were collected from a sample of 250 buyers using a mixed methodology consisting of focus groups and a questionnaire survey. The results show a link between the country of origin (COO) of products and purchasing decisions. The nature and extent of this link vary across product class and purchasing decisions. A means-end chain (MEC) analysis revealed a close link between consumers' liking for foreign products connected with how they valued those products both psychologically and physiologically. The findings have implications for attaining a competitive advantage by using marketing strategies to target elite customers. As a pioneering study, this paper advances the theoretical knowledge, providing a framework as well as specific guidelines for practitioners to conceptualise the COO construct. The paper also suggests a strategic direction that successfully targets the elite consumer segment in Pakistan.

Keywords: consumer perceptions; country of origin; elite consumers' buying behaviour; international marketing; purchase occasion; social status and values

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Northumbria University, UK 2: Liverpool Hope Business School, UK 3: University of Canberra, Australia

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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