This paper studies how Chinese consumers respond to foreign goods in the post‐WTO era. Specifically, it examines brand sensitivity as a mediator and product cues as moderator of purchase intention. Additionally, it examines consumer preferences for different products and consumption plans for the subsequent five years. The survey sample is drawn from a population of foreign product users from 34 cities in 18 provinces in China. Results provide evidence that brand sensitivity mediates the relationship between consumer ethnocentrism and purchase intention; product cues moderate the effect of ethnocentrism on purchase intention. As the first study to link consumer ethnocentrism directly to brand sensitivity and purchase intention, this research provides some managerial implications. Global marketers can offset the negative effect of ethnocentrism by emphasizing brand image of its products, taking advantage of specific product cues, or by providing more comprehensive after‐sale service to reduce the perceived risk of purchasing imports. Also, price is still a hurdle that prevents Chinese consumers from mass consumption of foreign products. Global firms should not overestimate the purchasing power of Chinese consumers. This study represents a “snapshot” of Chinese consumers’ decision making at a time when their economic system is undergoing rapid change.
Journal of Asia Business Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 1, 2008
Keywords: Consumer ethnocentrism; Brand sensitivity; Product cues and purchase intention