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Consumer Ethnocentrism: CETSCALE Validation And Measurement Of Extent

Anupam Bawa

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Consumer ethnocentrism means ‘…the appropriateness, indeed morality of purchasing foreign made products.’ Today, when the Indian consumer has great access to foreign goods and the Indian manufacturer is facing increasing competition from foreign products, the neglect of this topic in India is hard to explain. The CETSCALE, a scale to measure consumer ethnocentrism, has been tested in many parts of the world but not in India. This research examined the psychometrics of the CETSCALE, the extent of consumer ethnocentrism in India, and the relationship of socio-demographic variables and quality consciousness with consumer ethnocentrism. Data were collected from three socio-demographic groups-materials management professionals, the group with the largest influence on organizational buying behaviour; university students, the most often researched group of respondents the world over and hence ideal for a cross-cultural comparison of results; and senior secondary school students, a group recommended as worth researching by a prominent earlier researcher. Analysis of data was done with the help of currently used and recommended tools including exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. Results show that the concept of consumer ethnocentrism prevailing in India is not conceptually equivalent to the concept of consumer ethnocentrism prevailing in other countries where it has been found to be uni-dimensional. In India, the concept has more nuances. What is more, the concept as understood by the three different socio-demographic groups is also not identical. The level of consumer ethnocentrism in India is not less than that prevailing in a similar demographic group in a developed country like the US. It is the senior secondary school students who are the most consumer ethnocentric. Socio-demographic variables do not adequately explain the presence, or otherwise, of consumer ethnocentrism. Neither does quality consciousness. The managerial implications of the major findings of this study are as follows: In India, the label ‘made in India’ is not a liability. The Indian consumers will not lap up foreign goods merely because of their ‘made in’ tags. This should bring comfort to companies whose products carry the ‘made in India’ label. The threat perception of freer imports into India should be altered in the light of these findings. Foreign companies in India, planning to sell goods manufactured on Indian soil rather than imported from their plants abroad, will also get support for their actions from these findings. That the young Indians (a numerically very large segment of the market) are the most consumer ethnocentric of them all points to a comfortable future for the ‘made in India’ label. An attempt has been made to refine the CETSCALE for use in India. Marketing needs to respond to the criticism of the concept of ethnocentrism in the other social sciences. It needs to explore the relationship of consumer ethnocentrism with consumer animosity and consumer affinity (love-hate relationship with other countries).