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Consumer Ethnocentrism And Attitudes Toward South African Consumables In Mozambique

Anna V. John, Malcolm P. Brady

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PurposeThe purpose of this paper is threefold: to validate the consumer ethnocentrism tendencies (CET) scale in Mozambique and to describe the profile of CET in that country; to describe the effects of consumer ethnocentrism through the moderator of product type; and to discuss implications of Mozambican consumer ethnocentrism and its effects and make recommendations for practitioners.Design/methodology/approachA questionnaire‐based survey was carried out to collect data from 448 consumers in Southern Mozambique. The data were analyzed by using exploratory factor analyses, confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation modelling.FindingsThe CET scale has satisfactory psychometric qualities and can be used as a two‐dimensional construct in Mozambique. Mozambican consumers were found to be moderately ethnocentric. Their ethnocentric tendencies underpinned negative attitudes toward South African consumables. The study demonstrates the moderating role of product type and concludes that importers of South African agricultural consumables into Mozambique are more susceptible to the effects of consumer ethnocentrism than are importers of processed goods.Research limitations/implicationsThe results cannot be generalized to countries and products which were not included into this study. The conclusions about the CET effects are valid only for the southern part of the country where the survey took place.Practical implicationsThe authors suggest that South African marketing managers should pay closer attention to the competitiveness of agricultural consumables in Mozambique. By contrast, processed consumables from South Africa represent a lower risk. As the employment issue plays a central role in Mozambican consumer ethnocentric tendencies, the national policy makers might incorporate it into the messages of buy‐local campaigns. In addition, the buy local campaigns should position growing national industry as a future large employer in the country. The national suppliers of agricultural consumables are at less risk. On the contrary, national producers of processed consumables are at a disadvantage because ethnocentricity does not result in strong support of these products. Advertising messages with patriotic appeals may be ineffective. Thus, instead of country of origin, other extrinsic cues (e.g. brand, package and price) may be used to enhance competitiveness on the national market.Social implicationsMozambican consumers are moderately ethnocentric. Consumer ethnocentricity and its effects in Mozambique are shaped by pragmatic motives originating from socio‐economic pressures such as the under‐development of the national production sector and high unemployment in the country.Originality/valueThe paper will be of interest to practitioners, e.g. foreign companies, exporters and Mozambican policy makers and producers. The findings suggest that foreign companies should not be overly cautious about selling their products in Mozambique because, being moderately ethnocentric, Mozambican consumers are open to purchasing foreign imports where there is good reason, for example, when locally made products are unavailable.