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Consumer ethnocentrism

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The rapid globalization has brought in a host of new issues and factors that fast changing the format of existing societies and economic environment across the globe. The huge market opportunities’ galore, opened as a result of globalization has also provided the people with a wide choice of goods and services. The resulting paradigm shift in consumer behaviour, in terms of favoring and buying goods that may not necessarily be homemade, have significantly contributed towards emerging new markets. On the other hand, the skepticism shown for the foreign goods in America has persuaded social scientists and researchers to conduct in-depth studies to evaluate and gauge the effect of ethnocentric behaviour of consumers. Efforts are made to summarize the gist of the six articles by eminent social scientists, dealing with this very issue and are included in the bibliography.
Consumer ethnocentrism is defined as a tendency of the natives to prefer their own goods and services, motivated by strong patriotism and fear of economic pitfalls in adopting foreign made goods and services. Though coined in 1906 by Sumner, it became much popular when Shimp, a social scientist and professor in University of Carolina, undertook extensive studies to observe consumer behaviour in this regard. His results startled many because though it showed overwhelming inclination towards consumer ethnocentrism but the class and education pattern did have significant impact. Economically low segment of society and people with temporary employment and also where there was acute competitiveness, people became more ethnocentric. CETSCALE developed by him became a measurement ‘ to measure consumers ethnocentric Tendencies related to purchasing foreign- versus American-made products’ (Shimp and Sharma).
Richard Netemeyer along with his associates, tried to use CETSCALE at cross national perspectives and with multinational samples and found that ‘ most of the correlations of the CETSCALE with attitudinal, belief, and ranking variables are significant and, importantly, the pattern of correlations is consistent across each countrys sample, providing evidence of nomological validity’ {Cronbach and Meehl 1955). This was a very positive aspect since the trends in global trade is fast changing towards inter-dependies and mutual cooperation.
Kucukemiroglu, Professor in College of Business Administration, Pennsylvania, has reasserted the strong presence of consumer ethnocentrism and said that ‘ understanding whether the level of ethnocentrism is differentiating customer characteristics for products originating from overseas is useful for the development of marketing strategies for imported products’. It is imperative that the changing market equations must promote a wider perspective that encompasses understanding of cross cultural values and acceptance of goods and services on the basis of merits and the compulsions of the changing economic environment of mutual cooperation and inter-dependence of resources and expertise.
Reference
Terence A (1984) “ Consumer Ethnocentrism: the concept and a preliminary empirical test”, Advances in Consumer Research, 11, pp. 285-290
T. A. & Sharma, S. (1987) Consumer Ethnocentrism: Construction and Validation of the CETSCALE, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 24, pp. 280-289
Netemeyer, R. G., Durvasula, S. & Lichtenstein, D. R (1991) A Cross-National Assessment of Reliablity and Validity of CETSCALE, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 28, pp. 320-327.
Sharma, S, Shimp, T and Shin, J (1995) “ consumer ethnocentrism: a test of antecedents and moderators”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 26-37
Kucukemiroglu, O (1999) Market Segmentation by using consumer lifestyle dimensions and ethnocentrism, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 5/6, pp. 470-487.
Shankarmahesh, M. N. (2004) Consumer Ethnocentrism: an Integrative review of its antecedents and consequences, International Marketing Review, vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 146-172

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