When people talk about COO, they always can’t get rid of the word – Ethnocentrism. This situation has affected in developed and developing countries. And it can affect the Product Countries Image and product evaluation. Indeed, according to the empirical studies, it seems that CET has a negative effect to the PCI.
The term ethnocentrism, as originally introduced by William Graham Sumner in 1906 (in Shimp & Sharma, 1987), refers to “the propensity of people to view their own social group as the center of the universe, to interpret others from their own perspective, and to reject those persons who they believe to be culturally different. ”
Shimp and Sharma (1987, p. 280) first defined consumer ethnocentrism as the “appropriateness, indeed morality, of purchasing foreign-made products.” They (Shimp and Sharma, 1987) applied ethnocentrism to the study of consumer behavior and introduced an economic form of ethnocentrism which is Consumer Ethnocentrism or Ethnocentricity. And (Vida & Dmitrovic, 2001) has claimed that:“ Consumer ethnocentric tendencies can be rated on a continuum from highly ethnocentric to non-ethnocentric ” to be clear, for a high ethnocentric consumer, purchasing foreign products will be considered immoral and unpatriotic which will hurt the domestic economy and causes job losses, while for a highly non-ethnocentric consumers, they may evaluate foreign products based on their attributes or even see them as better because they are not produced in their own country (polycentric consumer).
Besides, empirical studies have observed some inconsistent findings with regards to the effect of consumer ethnocentrism on the evaluation of foreign products (Teck-Yong Eng a,⁎, Sena Ozdemir b, Grant Michelson, 2016). Some studies report that consumer ethnocentrism inﬂuences consumers’ evaluation of foreign products negatively (Sharma et al., 1995; Zarkada-Fraser & Fraser, 2002), while others observed that ethnocentric consumers may also hold positive evaluations of imported foreign products (Javalgi, Khare, Gross, & Scherer, 2005).
Such contradictory findings may be explained by several reasons: firstly, when domestic products do not meet consumer demand, even ethnocentric people are forced to consume foreign products (Herche, 1992). Secondly, ordinary purchases may not have an impact on the domestic economy, and thus those ethnocentric consumers may not to resist the foreign products (Herche, 1992; Javalgi et al., 2005). Thirdly, Price has become a primary concern for many consumers. Fourthly, the negative effect of consumer ethnocentrism on the purchase of imported products may diminish when consumers hold certain psychological characteristics (Guo, 2013). Last but not the least, under the development of globalization and integration of economy, more and more multinational companies have built their facilities around the world with global brand names, consumers can’t draw a clear distinction between local products and foreign products (Batra et al., 2000; Papadopoulos, 1993). As a result, to reduce the identification of brands with a particular COO might diminish consumers’ ethnocentric sentiments against them (Batra et al., 2000).
According to all these situations, the influence that CET may have on the product evaluation could be differently presented in countries with different development status nowadays.
In developing countries, there is some evidence that the level of CET in such countries will vary depending on the extent to which such consumers have been affected by globalization (Reardon, Miller, Vida, & Kim, 2005; Strizhakova et al., 2008; Wang & Chen, 2004), “consumers in developing countries, do not necessarily have the same degree of attachment toward domestic products” (Batra, Venkatram, Alden, Steenkamp, & Ramachander, 2000; Li et al., 1997; Ueltschy, 1998). For example, Wang and Chen (2004) show that ethnocentric consumers in developing countries may positively evaluate the quality of imports to some extent if they are perceived with a country which is highly industrialized or economically developed. “Consumers in developing countries will prefer foreign products because of their good quality and novelty but this benign effect will lessen as an economy becomes more developed” (Shankarmahesh, 2006), thus suggesting that developing countries in the earlier stages of economic development will have lower CET.
However, with the development of globalization, we consider that, the purchasing behavior of consumers in developed countries have changed as well. They do not insist to consider this “tendency” as a morality, they gradually tempt to or have to accept foreign products, in large part because of the integration of global economy.