Cengiz, Ekrem


Country of origin has been identified in the literature as an important cue that might be used by global marketers to influence consumers’ evaluation of the products. For this reason, this study examines the country of origin effect of products, made in 12 different Countries, in Turkey. The study focuses on the evaluation of specific foreign product attributes by Turkish consumers that have different demographic characteristics and consumers’ assessment of different product categories made in different Countries. Results based on the analysis of data relating to 543 responses and using multiple correspondence analysis indicate that country of origin in respect of different product categories, different product attributes and different demographic characteristics influence consumer evaluation of products in Turkey.

Key words: Country of origin, consumers’ product evaluation, Turkey,


The decision of a seller to enter a foreign market depends on the consideration of a large set of economic, political and cultural variables. The purpose of the investment is also an important determining factor (Root, 1987). Typical treatment of these variables found in the international business literature focuses on supply side considerations, e.g. alternative labour and transportation costs, border taxes, etc. In this paper, we focus instead on consumer perception, and consider how it is affected by cross-border shifts of production. Country of origin (COO) is an important factor that affect consumer perception about product or service.

There is no consensus definition of COO, it is generally understood to stand for the impact which generalizations and perceptions about a country have on a person’s evaluations of the country’s products and/or brands. (5) COO is defined as the picture, the reputation, the streotype that businessmen and consumers attach to products of specific country. This image is created by such variables as representative products, national characteristics, economic and political background, history and traditions (Nagashima, 1970). COO is also viewed as the overall perception consumers form of products from a particular country, based on their prior peerception of the country’s production and marketing strengths and weaknesses (Roth and Romeo, 1992).

Consumers in developing countries have a whole host of options while choosing products. The impact of country of origin on consumers’ perceptions of products has been widely studied (for example Schooler, 1965; Samiee, 1994; Peterson and Jolibert, 1995). Consumer and marketing researchers have extended significant effort to have a better understanding of such perceptual decisions framed by consumers. Firstly, It has been reported that COO may be used by consumers as an attribute to evaluate products (Johansson et al., 1985; Hong and Wyer, 1990). Secondly, consumers’ attention and evaluation of other product dimensions may be influenced by COO, which may create a ‘halo effect’ (Erickson et al., 1984; Han, 1989). Thirdly, COO may also act as a source of country stereotyping, directly affecting consumers’ attitudes towards the brand of a country instead through attribute ratings (Wright, 1975).

Existing research on “country-of-origin” has contributed substantial knowledge of consumer attitudes in various countries towards foreign products and corresponding marketing strategies. Further, it has provided considerable insights into the importance of such knowledge for the determination of successful international marketing strategies. However, empirical research on the attitudes of consumers in developing countries towards foreign products, and associated marketing practices, is rather limited (Samiee, 1994). Few conclusions and implications can be drawn from the existing research on country-of origin effect of consumers in developing countries. Firstly, most of these studies have been conducted in the USA with foreign students, on the assumption that foreign students in the USA behave similarly to the broader populations of their respective countries (Samiee, 1994). Secondly, the few studies that have been undertaken outside the USA mostly included other industrialized countries and Eastern European countries (Bhuian, 1997). Expressing similar opinion, Leonidou et al (1999), while examining the Bulgarian consumers’ perceptions of products made in Asia-Pacific, point out that most researchers have adopted a general approach in their investigations in the sense that they have examined consumers’ perceptions of products made from a wide array of countries, thus minimizing the level of detail gained on specific countries or regions. With the exception of Japan and South Korea (e.g. Erickson et al, 1984; Han and Terpstra, 1988; Hong and Wyer, 1989; Kaynak and Cavusgil, 1983; Li and Wyer, 1994; Tse and Lee, 1993), other the countries in the region have received limited empirical attention.

For various reasons, the Turkish Market has not been considered a viable market until quite recently. The Turkish market had been closed to the rest of the world until 1980. After that time prime minister Turgut Ozal initiated various significant policy changes in an effort to develop its economy and increase the standard of living of citizens. To these ends, Turkey has achieved remarkable progress in the past 20 years. Meanwhile, Turkey has not only become an important major trading nation with surging exports, it has also become one of the most important markets in the world for a variety of consumer as well as industrial products (Koseoglu, 1995).

For example, Turkey’s import of foreign products reached US$ 137.032 million in 2006, a 17.3 percent increase over the same period in 2005. Despite the obvious implications for Western countries from which Turkey sources most of its imports, research in the field of international business and marketing has not kept pace with the development in Turkey’s consumer market. While most of the efforts have concentrated on the economic and industry conditions that influence investment and business decisions in Turkey, little research has focused on the Turkish consumers. As a consequence, knowledge about the Turkish consumers still remains quite scarce. In particular, few research (Yaprak, 1978; Akaah and Yaprak, 1993; Gudum and Kavas, 1996) efforts have explored Turkish consumers’ attitudes towards foreignsourced products.

Yaprak (1978) investigated purchase intentions among US and Turkish business executives for specific brands “made in” Germany, Japan and Italy. “The major findings of the study were that both general country and product attributes and specific product attributes were statistically significant in affecting purchase intentions”.

Akaah and Yaprak (1993) examined (via conjoint methodology) the influence of country of origin on product evaluation. Additionally, the authors examined the moderating influence of product familiarity and respondents nationality. The main objective of the study was respondents’ perception of automobile quality which were “made in” USA, Japan and West Germany. Seven automobile attributes were selected for the study (workmanship, country of origin, reliability, driving comfort, styling, and fuel economy). The findings indicated that the influence of country of origin was relatively weak when it was evaluated as one cue in an array of product cues. Akaah and Yaprak (1993) concluded that neither product familiarity nor respondent nationality had a moderating influence on country of origin effects. For example, American respondents perceived “made in Japan” and “made in West Germany” automobiles to be higher in quality than “made in USA” automobiles.

Gudum and Kavas (1996) was done an investigation to determine Turkish industrial buyers’ attitudes towards national and foreign suppliers. Results indicated that Turkish industrial purchasing managers perceived German and Japanese suppliers more favourably than US and national suppli- ers on most of the marketing quality dimensions (product quality, timely delivery, source reliability, communication and after-sales issues).

As can be seen above, investigations over the Turkish consumer are limited and defective in the sense that fewer researchs have been done and fewer variables have been included. This study partly addresses this deficiency by investigating how Turkish consumers evaluate foreign made products. Specifically, our study tries to find out what images certain foreign products have in the minds of the Turkish consumers and how such images may influenced by product catagory and consumers’ demographic variables. The findings may help us to gain insights into consumer behaviour in Turkey which may help World businesses to market their products in this opened market.

More specifically, this study focuses on the following research questions:

1. Do the general attitudes of consumers in Turkey toward product attributes differ across countries of origin and, if so, for which countries, and which attributes?

2. Do consumers in Turkey perceive categories of products differently depending on country of origin?

3. Do demographics of consumers affect their perceptions of product attributes?

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In the next section, relevant literature on COO effects is reviewed. Back ground information on Turkey is then presented. The subsequent section describes the research methodology. There after, the results of the study undertaken are analyzed and discussed in relation to each of the research questions. The paper concludes with a summary and description of the implications of the findings and outlines the limitations of this study.

Theoretical Framework

A product’s country image may affect how consumers perceive products sourced in that particular country. A negative country image is likely to greatly limit the success of products and services in the global marketplace. For this reason, marketers developing product strategies should be aware of factors related to the product’s country of origin that might influence consumers’ evaluations (Manrai et al, 1989)

Country-of-origin information presented in the context of general information about a product’s specific attributes is thought to have effects on product evaluations known as “country-of-origin effects.” For some authors, although no definition of “country-of-origin effects” exists, “country image” is frequently used to describe these effects. “Country image” refers to the consumers’ perceptions of products from a particular country based on their prior perceptions of the country’s production and marketing strengths and weaknesses (Roth & Romeo, 1992). In evaluating a product, different information cues about a product are deemed important and are utilized. Consumers are thought to make inferences about the value of product information cues as a quality indicator and then combine judgments of all the cues available in order to obtain an overall product evaluation (Jacoby et al., 1971). According to this theoretic information perspective, both intrinsic cues (i.e., design, shape) and extrinsic cues (price, warranties, brand name, communication source characteristics) are needed in order to evaluate a product (Jacoby et al., 1971). Country-of-origin information constitutes an extrinsic cue (Thorelli et al., 1989), acting as a surrogate for product quality and other product characteristics that cannot be evaluated directly (Huber & McCann, 1982; Han, 1989).

While, preliminary studies in COO can be traced back to the 1960s, one conceptualization of the COO phenomenon was that of Nagashima (1970). He concluded that consumers associate with a given country of origin as, “the picture, the reputation, and the stereotype that businessmen and consumers attach to products of a specific country. This image is formed by such variables as representative products, national characteristics, economic and political background, history, and traditions”. Since then, multiplicity of literature has been added to the study of COO effect. Samiee (1994) regards the country of origin effect as any influence or bias that consumers may hold, resulting from the country of origin of the associated product or service. The source of the effect “may be varied, some based on experience with a product from the country in question, others from personal experience (e.g. study and travel), knowledge regarding the country, political beliefs, ethnocentric tendencies, fear of the unknow. Studies have mainly focused on reflecting consumers’ general perceptions about the quality of products made in different countries (Leonidau et al,1999; Bilkey and Nes, 1982; Peterson and Jolibert, 1995). In summary, previous research suggests that the COO play a significant role in overall product evaluation. There is an overwhelming support for the existence of COO effects on consumers’ evaluations of products. COO has impacted consumers over many product categories; some other studies have also shown that COO effects may vary according to demographic variables, although there is lack of consensus in that regard. Finally, consumers seem to have a positive or a better perception of products from developed countries, as compared to products from developing countries.

COO effects on buyers’ product perceptions have been extensively studied ever since Ernest Dichter commented that “the phrase ‘Made in . . . .’ can have a tremendous influence on the acceptance of products” (Dichter, 1962). And other scholars working on the subject during this early period came to more or less the same conclusion (Reirson, 1966). Since then considerable progress has been made in researching COO and its effects on product perceptions. It has been demonstrated, for example, that information regarding the country of origin of a product can have significant effects on its evaluation by buyers, and in some cases, even determine its choice (Bilkeyand Nes, 1982; Chao, 1993; Darling, 1987; Falvey, 1989; Gaedeke, 1973; Hatsak and Hong, 1991; Lie and Monroe, 1992; Schieb, 1977). Country-of-origin has also been shown to interact with environmental and other factors such as store image or warranty (Ahmed and d’Satous, 1993; Cattin et al, 1982; Chasin, 1989; Dzever, 1997; Thorelli, 1989; Yong et al, 1996). Some researchers have investigated the significance of factors such as gender differences in the use of COO information in evaluating products (Hong and Toner, 1989; Wall et al, 1988) others have been more concerned with factors such as information processing and COO cues (Hong and Wyer, 1989; Obermiller and Spangenberg, 1989; Quester and Yeoh, 1996; Obermiller and Spangenberg, 1989). In an attempt to gain a broader perspective of the problem, some researchers have focused their investigations on specific geographical areas or countries. Studies that have adopted a geocentric approach to the study of COO effects include (Ettenson, 1993; Dzever, 1997; Gaedeke, 1973; Khanna, 1986; White, 1979; Schooler, 1965), and of those focusing on specific counties the following deserve a specific mention (Bannister and Saunders, 1978; Johansson, 1994; Han and Tepstra, 1988; Ettenson et al, 1988; Darling and Arnold, 1988; Crawford and Garland, 1988). As a result of the economic development of many Asian economies, a number of studies have focused on that particular part of the world in an attempt to assess potential differences in perceptions (Han et al, 1994; Darling and Wood, 1990; Lin and Stemquist, 1994; Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 1989; White, 1979; Yong, 1996). More recently, the hybrid nature of manufactured products and its implications in relation to COO effects have also been examined in the literature (Chao, 1993; Han et al, 1994; Eroglu and Machleit, 1989). The effects of COO on buyers’ product perceptions have also been examined within the specific setting of industrial (or business-to-business) marketing (Chassin and Jaffe, 1979; Chang and Kim, 1995; Chassin and Jaffe, 1987; White and Cundiff, 1978; Kaynak and Kucukemiroglu, 1992). However, it appears that compared to its consumer marketing counterpart (Lin and Sternquist, 1994; Baurngartner and Jolibaert, 1977; Chao, 1993; Ettenson and Gaeth, 1991; Kaynak and Cavusgil, 1983; Wagner et al, 1989; Wall and Heslop, 1986; Wall et al, 1991), research effort in this area still remains relatively modest.

As pointed out earlier, empirical evidence in COO research has converged on the notion that COO information is often used by consumers as a surrogate information cue in product evaluation. This tendency is strongest if knowledge or awareness of product attributes is low or not very accurate (Johansson et al., 1985). Therefore, it may be expected that when consumers shop for products which possess features that are more complex and difficult to evaluate, they may be more likely to rely on the COO image of a product to aid them in their evaluation and choice processes. Along this line of reasoning, previous studies have suggested that the COO effect may vary with different products. For example, Kaynak and Cavusgil (1983) investigated whether COO perception biases existed across product classes such as electronics, food items, fashion merchandise and household goods. Responses obtained from a sample of Canadian consumers indicated that, in addition to variation of quality perceptions across the countries studied, quality perceptions also tended to be product- specific. A country may rank high for one product class and low in another. For example, Japan was ranked very high in electronic items, but very low in food products. In a similar way, France was ranked high in fashion merchandise but low on all other product classes. Some researchers have argued that for consumers in less developed countries, country image is likely to play a more significant role in influencing their attitude and behaviour (Lin and Sternquist, 1994). Unlike their counterparts in more developed countries, this is partly because consumers in less developed countries have less abundant information and purchasing experiences with foreign products. This may be particularly the case with more expensive and complex products. As a result, these consumers may have to rely more heavily on surrogate information cues such as the producing country’s image in product evaluation. Therefore, COO information can be more important for a durable product with more complex features than a common non-durable product with simple features. This product type effect may be more salient than that typically found in developed countries. Some researchers have called for more attention to the COO effects across product types (Khanna, 1986). They have argued that comparative assessment of two or more countries and studies conducted across different product classes using different countries of origin to produce a comparison of national images in a specific market would be particularly desirable and fruitful.

When examining the effects of demographics on consumers’ perceptions of imports, results are inconclusive for some variables and fairly consistent for others. In general, age has been consistently significantly and positively related to attitudes towards products. Younger consumers have more open attitudes about or are more positive towards foreign products (Schooler, 1971; Tongberg, 1972; Wall et al.,1988; Wang, 1978). Han (1988) examined consumer patriotism and its relationship with choice of domestic versus foreign products. He found consumer patriotism influenced customer choice more so than cognitive attitudes towards products made in different countries. In addition, he found that “patriotic” consumers were older than less “patriotic” consumers. McLain and Sternquist (1991) examined the relationship between age and ethnocentrism and found older consumers to be more ethnocentric than younger consumers. Education also enjoys fairly consistent results as a correlate with perceptions of products. Most studies have established that the higher the educational level of consumers, the more positive their attitudes towards foreign or imported products (Anderson and Cunningham, 1972; Dornoff et al., 1974; Wall and Heslop, 1986; Wang, 1978). Likewise, McLain and Sternquist (1991) found that the lower the level of education, the higher the ethnocentric tendencies. In contrast, Han (1988) found no significant relationship between education and consumer patriotism. Wang (1978) and Wall et al. (1990) found income level to be directly related to positive attitudes towards foreign products. In the similar application, Wall and Heslop (1986) found that the higher the income, the less likely the consumer would buy domestic products. On the other hand, Han (1988) and McLain and Sternquist (1991) found no relationship between income level and patriotism or ethnocentrism, respectively. The results of gender as a correlate in country of origin research is also mixed. Several studies found that females tend to rate foreign-made products more favourably than do men (Dornoff et al., 1974; Wang, 1978). However, Han (1988) found women to be more patriotic and more patriotic consumers are less likely to choose foreign products. McLain and Sternquist (1991) found no relationship between gender and degree of ethnocentrism of consumers. Will degree of ethnocentrism of Polish and Russian consumers vary as a result of demographic characteristics?.

A still unresolved issue in the study of country of origin effects is whether the “made- in” label on a product is actually noticed and used by the consumer in a real purchase situation. Judging from some published empirical results, certain consumers are unaware of the country of origin while others search for such information (Reierson, 1966; Hampton, 1977). Some studies show that country of origin is used when other product information is missing, less so when more information is available (Erickson et al, 1984, Johansson et al, 1985). There are also empirical findings suggesting the importance is greater for some products than for others (Gaedeke, 1973, Lillis and Narayana, 1974). However, it is difficult to sustain strong generalisations about country of origin effects.

Turkey Background Information

Over the last 20 years Turkey has been undergoing structural adjustments and transformations (Turkiye Bankalr Birligi, 2005). One part of this development is related to foreign trade. Turkey shifted from import substitution to export promotion policies with the January 1980 adjustment program. In the subsequent years, Turkey implemented several foreign trade liberalization programs. In the case of imports, trade regime shifted from positive list, the items which are free to import, to negative list, the items which are prohibited to import or requiring legal authority approval. Through this regime shift imports were extensively liberalized except for the items included in the negative list. The second major step in the liberalization of the imports was the acceptance of Turkey into the European Customs Union in 1996. Especially after 2002, an increasing trend can be observed in imports. In this period, a great shift was observed in imports. As a consequence, the average annual growth rate of exports lagged behind the average annual import expansion. For the years 1990 through 2006, total Turkish imports have exceeded imports (Table 1).

When loking at imports of Turkey by country groups, it can be seen that approximately 91.67 percentile of the imports came from OECD Countries and EU Countries. Other Countries’ import to Turkey from 2002 to 2006 can be seen at Table 2. All Countries’ import quantity increase regulary by years. Import increase rate of African Countries, South American Countries, Asian Countries, Blacksea Region Countries, Turkish Republic Countries are higher than others.

Research Methodology

Data was collected by using the mall intercept survey technique in Ankara that is the capital city of Turkey. This city was chosen due to its high density of population; it is home to over five million people and it comprises major business and commercial activities. This city is popularly considered representative of Turkey in the sense of consumer purchases that are both foreign and domestic in origin, and it is therefore adequate for generalizing research findings to the nation as a whole. While by no means perfect, the mall intercept approach can result in a sample, which, while not strictly representative, may none the less be relatively free of any systematic bias. With assistance from the shopping centre, the experiment was carried out during a 20 day period of time including weekends to ensure a representative sample of shoppers. Adult shoppers were randomly inter- cepted and recruited to participate in the study which lasted about 15 minutes. To maximize the good representation of the sample, data were collected in different malls at different times of the day in Ankara. All participants in the study were at least 18 years of age and voluntarily participated in a mall intercept study. Shoppers were informed that the interviewer was interested in their perceptions of the current shopping trip and asked to respond to the questionnaire that was provided. Approximately 57% of those consumers approached agreed to participate in the study, resulting in 543 usable questionnaires. Twenty three marketing students were used as interviewers, under the close supervision of the researchers. The students were trained for a week prior to the data collection activity.

To determine the Turkish consumers’ perception of goods made in USA, Germany, England, Italy, France, China, Japan, South Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Persia, a survey was conducted among the Turkish consumers. The list of the product attributes examined included design, performance, technology, quality, reliability, warranty, price, known to consumer, durability, assortment, innovativeness, attractiveness, appearance, support services, delivery. COO effects were assessed with respect to consumer electronics, electrical appliances, food product, textiles product, household durables. Another section of the questionnaire explored the demographic profile of the consumer in terms of gender, age, education, income and occupation.

The data was entered on computer and analyzed using SPSS in order to first describe the data. Then multiple correspondence analysis was done to specify the research hypothesis.

Multiple correspondence analysis or with its other name homogeneity analysis is used for analysing multi-way contingency tables that have three or more categorical variables. Analysis gives information about what land of a combination will the categories of variables be in a two dimensional graphic. In other words, the analysis is one of graphical analysis that is used for collaboration and connection of concentric table which is crosswise differently such as R*C*M…(Ozdamar. 1999). In multiple correspondence analyses, difference between variables has been expressed by a loss function. The purpose is to minimize loss function and to maximize homogeneity between variables. Alternating Least Squares (ALS) minimizes the loss function and the object scores that provide maximum homogeneity and category quantification are reach. The measurement level of all variables those are used in the analysis is multiple nominal. In that case, the analysis gives multiple quantifications and multiple solutions. In other words, the analysis is different for each dimension. The optimal category points will be in the centre of gravity of the object points that share the same category (Heiser and Meulnian. 1994). If n was symbolized the number of object and m was smbolized the number of variables, we get multivariable data matrix by the dimension of nxm. If we accept j as j=l,…,m in that case kj shows category number of j variable and K=Xkj denote the total number of categories over all variables. To see the place of original data matrix we mentioned above, on a graphic we use low dimensional Euclidian space Rp. In that case, object and categories should be scaled. Let X be the nxp matrix contains the coordinates of the object verticles in R^sup p^, and Y^sub j^, the kjxp matrix contains the coordinates of the kj category vertices of variable j. X is named the object scores matrix and Yj is the category quantifications matrix. Besides, that j variables indicator matrix which has n×k^sub j^ dimension defined as G^sub j^. 1=1,.., n and t=l,. . .,kj if object i belongs to category t, and G^sub j^ (i,t)=0 if it belongs to some other category. The loss function that uses X, Y^sub j^ and G^sub j^ matrix over all variables defined by squared deviance is showed below.

σ(X;Y^sub 1^… Y^sub j^)=m^sup -1^ Σ SSQ(X-G^sub j^Y^sub j^)

Where SSQ(H) denotes the sum of squares of the elements of the matrix H. In this loss function, which is heart of Gifi system minimize simultaneously over X and Y^sub j^’s. In this fuction in order to avoid X=0 and Y^sub j^=0, it is required X X=nI^sub p^ and u X=0 normalization restriction where I is the p×p identity matrix and u is a vector of appropriate dimension comprised of all ones (Michailides and Leeuw, 1996). Considering normalization resriction, which mentioned below, using Alternative Least Squares (ALS) algorithm minimizes function number 1. In the first step of the algorithm is minimized with respect to Yj for fixed X. In the second step of algorithm is minimized with respect to X for fixed Y^sub j^’s. In the final step of the algorithm the X matrix is column centered by setting W=X -u(uX/N), and then orthonormalized by the modified Gram- Schmidt procedure X=[the square root of]NGRAM (W), so that the normalization resriction are satisfied. The ALS algorithm cycles through these three steps until it converges. To evaluate fit of the derived map in multiple correspondence analysis are used discrimination measure and eigenvalues. Geometrically the discrimination measure give the average squared distance (weighted by the marginal frequencies) of category quantifications to the origin of the p dimensional space. It can be shown that (assuming there are no missing data) the discrimination measure are equal to the square correlation between an optimally quantified variable G^sub j^Y^sub j^ (.,s) and the corresponding column of object scores X(.,s) (Gifi, 1990). Besides, eigenvalues are corresponded to the average of discrimination measure and give an overall measure of fit of the derived map in each of the p dimesions (Bayram, 2003). The number of the derived dimension in multiple correspondence analysis depend on the number of categories of variables and the number of variables. In addition to derived dimension number=the fit of the derived map (eigenvalues)+ loss value.

Analysis Results

Of the 543 respondents, just over half (58.1%) of the sample were male and 41.9 % of them were female respondents. In terms of age grouping, 20.7 % of respondents were in the 18-30 age group, 31.3 % of them were 31-40 age group, 34.8 % of them were 41-50 age group and 13.2 % of them were 51 and above age group. Other demographic variables frequencies’ distribution can be seen in Table 3.

The summary table is very useful since it indicates how many dimensions are needed according to their relative importance. Ideally, of the table is wanted an indication of the degree to which a dimension accounts for the relations between the rows and columns of the table. The inertia measures the strength of the row-column relationship. The inertia can be decomposed into parts attributable to each dimension, and the importance of a dimension can be assessed from its proportion of the total inertia. Thus the proportion of inertia provides guidance as to how many dimensions are required and their relative importance. It can be seen that the first dimension is important % 49.7 proportion and second dimension is important % 36.6 proportion. Both dimensions explained % 86.3 proportion of total variance. For this reason, when we view the joint plot, we will focus two dimension at the same time and similiar importance. The maximum eigenvalue under perfect homogeneity would be 1. However, unlike simple correspondence analysis, the eigenvalues don’t sum to a meaningful number (in simple correspondence analysis the inertia could be converted to the chi-square of the two-way table, which isn’t meaningful in this context), so they are not presented as a proportion of the total. Larger values mean that all variables are strongly related to the dimension, while a low value suggests that most, if not all, of the variables are weakly related to the dimension. As such, this summary is much less helpful as a guide to dimensionality as were the inertia summaries under simple correspondence analysis. As can be understood from Table 4, Eigenvaleu like inertia show that two dimensions have similiar impotance.

The discrimination measures the relationship between a variable when optimally scaled and a dimension (it can be interpreted as an r square). As such they indicate the importance of each variable in the formation of the dimension. An eigenvalue (mentioned above) is equal to the average discrimination across variables for that dimension. In this way if all variables are strongly related, their discriminations are large, as will be the eigenvalue(s). Overall, the discriminations indicate that the two-dimensional solution is based largely on age, gender, income, education, occupation, country, product attribute and product categories (because all these variables have significant and similiar scores on each dimensions). This result can be seen at discrimination measures plot (Figure 1).

When the graphic above was examined, for all variables were evaluated according to dimension 1 and dimesion 2 together, some results appeared as below.

1 . In the first quadrant of the graphic, It can be understood that products made in England, USA, Germany, Israel, Italy and France were perceived similiar way. English and American products were more parallel to each other than other countries’ than in the first quadrant and were known by Turkish consumers as reliable and warrantable. These two countries’ products were preferred by consumers that are female, 51 and above years aged, retired or public servant and have income of $1501 and above. And electrical appliance products were preferred from these countries. On the other hand, German, Italian, French and Israeli products were perceived alike each one. Turkish consumers chose electrical appliances from these countries and perceive products made in them as high quality, good design and superior performance. Demographic characteristics of consumers that prefer these countries product are female, retired or public servant, 51 and above years aged and have income of $1501 and above.

2. Turkish people that are male, laborer, 18-30 years aged and have income of $1001-1500, university/postgraduate degree, prefer consumer electronic products that made in Japan, due to the technology, durability, support service and delivery product attributes.

3. In the third quadrant of the graphic, It can be seen that products made in Persia, Saudi Arabia and Syria perceived similiar. But Persian and Syrian products are more similiar to each other than Saudi Arabian products. These two countries’ products were prefered by consumers that are female, 41-50 years aged, self employed and have income of $501-1000. Food products were preferred from these countries. Reasons to choosing the products that are made in Syria and Persia were assortment and appearance attributes. Turkish consumers chose household durables that are made in Saudi Arabia because of attractiveness and known to consumer product attributes. Demographic characteristics of consumers that prefer these countries products are female, self employed, 41-50 years aged and have income of $501-1000, primary/secondary education degree.

4. Turkish people that are 18-30 years aged, student, male and have income of $0-500, preuniversity education degree prefer consumer electronic products that made in China and South Korea because of innovativeness and price of products.


Since the mid-1960s, a considerable number of studies have been conducted on country of origin. In general, they agree that consumers have significantly different global or general perceptions about products made in different countries. These general perceptions towards a country or country image have significant effects on consumers’ attitudes towards products made in that country. Despite the often-heard claim that the world is becoming a “global village”, suggesting some sort of homogenization of cultural values and beliefs, empirical studies maintain that national stereotypes continue to play a vital role in the “mental maps” of modern consumers. Such stereotypes may not reflect the real world, but they may be real in their consequences, i.e. in their effects on people and their world view, which is one reason why international marketers cannot afford to ignore them.

On evaluation of product attributes, the study reveals that products made in Germany, France, Italy and Israel have been preferred by Turkish consumers for its quality, design and performance. On the other hand, American and English products were chosen for reliability and warranty. It is clear that products originating from these countries derive its competitive advantage through a focus on product quality, reliability. However, marketing managers from this region should take note of the fact that the Turkish consumers have seen the products of these countries in a low technology, bad price and other attributes in poor light. Efforts must therefore be made to improve such attributes. These results are different in comparison to products from China and South Korea stood out on top for competitive pricing. The products made in China and South Korea are evaluated high by the mean price and innovativeness. But quality, performance, durability, asortment and other attrib- utes were seen defective for these countries’ product. Therefore, South Korean especially Chinese firms should give attention to quality attributes in manufacture. Syrian and Persian products are associated with assortment and appearance. Saudi Arabian products are associated with being known to consumers and attractive to them. On the other hand, Japanese products are seen to be known for good delivery, high technology, durability and good support service. Turkey is a developing country and income per person is approximately 6000 $ and Gini coefficient is 41. So price is a very important factor when choosing product. When looking at low price products like Chinese products, most of the Turkish people prefer these product mostly. Developed countries’ products are quality products but have high price. If these countries will balance between quality and price, they would have been succsessful in Turkish market.

The study demonstrates that it is important to recognize that, while a country’s product image may be generally negative, certain product attributes are nonetheless evaluated favorably. Therefore, a country desiring to sell to an international market such as Turkey may affect attitude change efficiently most by highlighting those positive product attributes. In other words, by increasing the relevance of attributes on which the products are favorably evaluated and decreasing the saliency of negative attributes, a product’s overall desirability may be increased. For China to gain favorable consumer attitude in Turkey, its products and the marketing of those products must apparently achieve world class standards in every respect. Even though Chinese products are associated with a low price, they are rated poorly on most if not all attributes that deal with product quality. New marketing strategies are required if these products are to survive in the global marketplace. This study provides an independent, consumer-based evaluation of competitive strengths and weaknesses of the image of products made in various countries with regard to various product attributes. Results of the study may be used by business planners and strategists to propose actions to maintain and strengthen current attitudes or to enhance them. When firms located in a country wish to develop marketing strategies, it would be appropriate to couple their plans with results obtained in this and other studies. Obviously, the information generated in this study and other studies dealing with “made in” concepts has usefulness in measuring a nation’s competitive strengths and weaknesses. Since dependence on international trade is high, continuous measurement and monitoring are essential. This periodic analysis will represent a simple and effective measure for revealing the impact of attitude changes toward products made in certain countries on the general competitive strength of any given nation; and thus offers a basis for the development of individual marketing strategies.

Turkish consumers associated “Made in USA, England, Germany, Israel, Italy and France” with electrical appliance products. “Made in Syria and Persia” is associated with food products. While Saudi Arabian products are associated with household durables, Chinese, South Korean and Japanese products are associated with consumer electronics. Electrical appliance products are generally more expensive and durable than consumer electronics. So when consumers want to buy electrical appliance products, they evaluate products according to many attributes especially quality, performance, durability, reliability and warranty. As a result it is not suprising why Western Countries’ products were a preferred topic for discussion about electrical appliance. In fact Turkey rarely imports food products. Turkish consumers do not prefer Western or Far Eastern Countries’ food product, because of Islamic religious thinking. According to this thinking, pork and alcohol are prohibited. So Turkish consumers choose food products made in Islamic Countries like Syria and Persia.

Of the different demographic variables, gender, age, education, income and occupation appeared to be particularly significant causes of variance in attitudes toward specific countries of origin. Male and female viewpoints regarding country of origin might also differ and females generally evaluated foreign products made in developed countries like Germany, France, Israel and Middle East Countries like Persia, Syria more highly than males. Males prefer ed products that made in Far East Countries like China, South Korea and Japan. When it comes to age, younger consumer tended to rate China, South Korea and Japan highly, older people prefered Western Countries and middle age people chose Middle East Countries’ products. When looking at occupation, students were found to provide higher ratings for Chinese and South Korean products in Turkey. Laborers chose Japanese products, public servants preferred Western Countries’ product and self employers opted Middle East Countries’ products. Consumers that have university/postgraduate education degree were closer to Japanese products than that other education degree categories’ consumers. Preuni versify degree education consumers preferred Chinese ans South Korean products. People that have $1001-1500 income per month tended to rate Japan, that have income of $1500 and above rated Western Countries and that have income of $0-500 income rated China and South Korea higher than others.

Marketing Implication

In addition to the above theoretical implications, the findings provide marketing implications for both developed and developing countries. First, our findings suggest that country of origin may have a greater impact on consumers’ attitudes. The findings indicate that there exist strong halo effects in product attribute rating for a country. The results of the survey enable readers to identify a number of general guidelines for the development of international marketing strategies based on national image. Thus the theoretical and empirical evidence from this study suggest the following criteria for international marketing based on national image:

* The image features of the product or service on offer must be concurrent with the main image components contained in the national image. Thus, as a general rule, the country of origin link should be played down in the marketing of products which are unlikely to benefit from a symbolic linkage between the generic product and its national origin. Similarly, firms operating in countries where biases towards imported products are likely to influence product evaluations in a negative way should avoid stressing their national origin and instead adopt a local brand name, or promote their products on an international brand image. In practical terms this means that international marketers must “map” the knowledge and perceptions of the target group prior to the development of international marketing strategies. Such “mapping” would also ensure that the image components eventually employed in the creative strategies do not conflict with existing stereotypes relating to the advertised product and its country of origin, and that they are compatible with the functional and/or aesthetic qualities of the product on offer.

* Companies which are new to the Turkish market and small companies with few resources available for extensive image building are thus more likely to benefit from using country of origin references in their export marketing than larger companies which have the resources needed to create their own brands. Again, a prerequisite is that the product is compatible with the country of origin image. Finally, the empirical evidence suggests that positive country of origin images can make a big difference when it comes to making new business contacts in foreign markets. Again, it is worth noticing that nationality is thought to be particularly important in the initial stages of the marketing process. So while price, after-sales services, product functionality, etc. are obviously important parameters on the industrial market, the importance of country of origin images – and the cultural stereotypes which inevitably go with them – should not be underestimated.

* Consumers do not use the country of origin as an isolated evaluation criterion, but evaluate the product and its extrinsic and intrinsic attributes within the overall purchasing context (product category, knowledge of the brand or the manufacturer, knowledge of and beliefs about the manufacturing country, etc.). Furthermore, country of origin is used as an evaluation criterion in conjunction with actual product attributes (functionality, price, packaging, guarantees, after-sales service, etc.). Attempts to disguise a poor-quality product behind a favourable “made in” label is therefore unlikely to be successful in the long run. Such marketing could be very deceptive for consumers and could eventually have the effect of lowering the credibility of the manufacturing company significantly.


Recent research indicates however that country image is really a multi-attribute construct. This study therefore incorporates more attributes of country image perceptions, namely quality, warranty, design et all. But it is necessary to present other extrinsic information cues such as brand name along withthe country-of-origin cue. Country of origin is not a unidimensional concept. Many products are designed in one country and manufactured in another. This hybrid nature of products may or may not be inferred directly from knowledge of product, which is often associated with a company’s country headquarters. It is therefore important to distinguish between two dimensions of country-of-origin, namely design (conception, engineering) and assembly. In this researh this subject was neglected. Studies have shown that country-of-origin effects vary across different product categories. For this reason and also because of the need to generalize findings, country-of-origin effects must be studied across different types of products. We take a few product category groups. More type of product group should take into the consider eation to specify detailed result. The study was conducted in only one country and only consumer market. The generalizability of the study should be limited to Turkey alone. The study’s scope remains within one nation. Replication in the same city at other times of the year, for example, or in other Turkish cities, would be better support for the findings. This means the emphasis on future research is best placed on follow-up studies in Turkey alone. Sample size was also relatively small; however, the results, despite the sample size, were highly significant, thus providing evidence of high statistical power. Finally, product included in this research are tangible products. One issue worthy of investigation in future research is the difference in the country of origin effects across the tangible goods and services category on account of considerations such as differences in the extent of suppliers ‘ presence and risk associated with the transfer of products from abroad. While these considerations are certainly worth investigating, especially when studying the differences in the evaluation of tangible versus intangible products, the scope of the present study is different.


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Ekrem Cengiz*, Fazil Kirkbir**

* Kaiadeniz Technical University, Turkey.

** Karadeniz Technical University, Turkey.

Ekrem Cengiz – Ph.D., Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Business, Marketing Department, Turkey

Fazil Kirkbir – Ph.D., Karadeniz Technical University, Faculty of Business Administration, Department of Marketing, Turkey

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