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Identity, demographics, and consumer behaviors: International market segmentation across product categories

by Mark Cleveland, Nicolas Papadopoulos, Michel Laroche
International Marketing Review ()
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to focus on two questions that\nare especially pertinent to international marketers. Is a strong ethnic\nidentity (EID) generally incompatible with a globally-oriented\ndisposition (cosmopolitanism: COS), and to what extent is the EID-COS\nrelationship stable across cultures and countries? What roles do EID and\nCOS play on consumer behavior alongside key demographic variables, and\nhow do these relationships vary across countries and across consumption\ncontexts?\nDesign/methodology/approach - Using a sample of consumers drawn from\neight countries, this study identifies and compares bases for\ninternational market segmentation. The antecedent roles of EID, COS, and\nthe four demographics variables on the behaviors associated with nine\nproduct categories are examined.\nFindings - The findings imply that consumers are complementing an\nidentity rooted in their traditional culture with one that is\nglobally-oriented. The roles played by demographic and psychographic\nvariables varied considerably, not only across product categories, but\nmoreover, across country samples.\nResearch limitations/implications - The study focuses more on consumer\ngoods and less on intangible services. The sample and sampling approach\nplace some limits on generalizability.\nPractical implications - The results provide insights for international\nmanagers into when (i.e. product categories) and where (i.e. locations)\nmarketing strategies could be standardized across national frontiers,\nand when and where these strategies should be customized or\n``glocalized.{''}\nOriginality/value - The paper makes a significant contribution to the\ninternational market segmentation literature, demonstrating the variable\nimpact of demographics and identity across consumer behaviors. The\nfindings bolster the notion that many cultures have the innate facility\nto glocalize, that is, to absorb foreign or global ideas with the best\npractices and bond these with native customs. The results further imply\nthat globalization takes on many forms throughout the world.

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