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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intention-Behavior Discrepancy of Foreign Versus Domestic Brands in Emerging Markets: The Relevance of Consumer Prior Knowledge

  • Author(s): Sun, Luping
  • Zheng, Xiaona
  • Su, Meng
  • Keller, L Robin
  • et al.

Most research on the performance of foreign versus domestic brands in emerging markets examines dependent measures of product evaluation or purchase intention. However, consumers intending to buy a product may switch to competing brands, displaying an intention-behavior discrepancy (IBD). Drawing upon literature on country associations and dual process theory, we examine the performance of foreign versus domestic brands on IBD in emerging markets and the moderating role of prior knowledge. We conducted an intention survey followed by a post-purchase survey in the Chinese automobile and smartphone industries. We found that foreign brands have an advantage on IBD relative to domestic brands, indicating that they have the dual advantage of higher evaluations and lower IBDs. Furthermore, foreign brands’ advantage on IBD is smaller for consumers with inaccurate prior knowledge, as they are more likely to systematically reprocess information and discount foreign brands’ favorable country associations. For these consumers, overestimating the product reduces foreign brands’ advantage to a smaller degree than underestimating it due to confirmation bias. These findings provide implications for brands in emerging markets.

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