A consumer’s sentiment towards products may be affected by multiple things, and the country of origin (COO) of the product is one of them.
The impact of the COO on purchase behavior was previously researched and discussed in a business-to-consumer (B2C) context. However, an academic paper carried out by visiting assistant professor of marketing at the American University in Cairo (AUC) Hakim Meshreki tackles the industrial buying setting as a focal point and looks at the business-to-business (B2B) context and the effect of the COO on it.
The paper entitled “A comparative analysis of dimensions of COO and animosity of industrial buyers’ attitudes and intentions” gives an overview on the buyers’ animosity based on the COO of the product within an industrial buying setting.
The data used in the research paper is collected from industrial buyers in Egypt and Canada to offer a comparative perspective between developing and developed countries.
Are Egyptian B2B buyers affected by a product’s country of origin?
The simple answer is yes. The COO does affect the buyer’s behavior in a B2B context. However, there is more to it. When choosing a product, the COO may be a combination of several countries, given the origin of design, manufacture and brand.
The study reveals that Egyptian and Canadian industrial buyers attach considerable importance to the country of manufacture as well in their assessment of perceived quality. For instance, the quality of German cars is perceived as better than the quality of Chinese cars. However, there was no evidence to suggest that country of design influenced buyers’ perceptions in the Egyptian sample. The research paper attributes this to the fact that the differences between COO dimensions may be less clear cut in emerging than developed economies.
In the Egyptian sample, favorable assessments of price tend to reduce perceived risk. However, these results were not corroborated by the Canadian sample. Meshreki believes that this is because industrial buyers focus more on quality than price in the context of a developed country. Perceived quality was also found to be a strong positive determinant in lowering perceived risk in both samples.
The role of animosity
When evaluating a product, there are two types of animosity (or opposition); situational animosity and permanent animosity. Meshreki explains that the first one may be the outcome of a bad experience that the consumer has had in a certain country. It, however, could change later with better experiences. The permanent animosity, on the other hand, is usually there to stay. An example of that is the animosity that an Arab citizen may have towards Israel. This type of animosity may be the outcome of war or a bad economic impact that another country inflicted on a country or company.
It is commonly perceived that animosity does not exist because the B2B market is being dealt with as a rational one that does not take emotions into consideration. However, it turns out that animosity affects perception; it is a very minimal effect but it does exist, Meshreki explains. This could also be attributed to the fact that people who make B2B decisions are essentially consumers. Hence, they carry their consumer to their workplace.
Is there a difference in the perception of COO between developing and developed countries?
The difference between a developed and a developing country in the COO perception is that in a developing country, people usually do not distinguish between the dimensions of COO. They are “not mature enough” to distinguish between the country of manufacture, design and brand, according to Meshreki. However, in a developed country, this dissection is more clear, both in B2B and B2C aspects.
On the consumer front, it was proven that developed countries distinguish between countries of design, manufacture and parts, while developing countries do not. The research proved that this still stands true in the industrial buyer context.
To read the full paper, visit: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JPBM-10-2017-1625