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IOSR
Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS)

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Volume
19, Issue 3, Ver. III (Mar. 2014), PP 50-61

e-ISSN:
2279-0837, p-ISSN: 2279-0845.

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50
| Page

 

Determinants
of Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products:

The
Case of Shoes or/and Cloth Preference in Gondar Town,

Ethiopia

Siraw
Megibaru Temesgen

1

1 Department of Social
Anthropology, College of Social Sciences and the Humanities University of
Gondar, Ethiopia

ABSTRACT: Global flows of goods
and ideas threaten the viability of local products and dismantle the economic

basis
of least developed countries like Ethiopia. Urban populations in Ethiopia, with
the existing unbalanced

exposure
to western communication media, have become dominated with the knowledge,
values, norms, and

attitudes
of western communities. Thus, the rich and dynamic culture of the local community
has been diluted.

Therefore,
this research assessed determinants of consumers’ product preference in Arada
and Piazza Shoes and/or

Clothes’
shop in Gondar Town, Ethiopia. Mixed research with concurrent triangulation
strategy was employed.

Semi-structured
interview and survey research method with self-administered structured
questionnaires were used.

More
than half (63.8%) of respondents prefer to use locally substituted foreign
products where allowed to choose

either
foreign or domestic shoes and/or clothes. Quality, function and place of
manufacture were the criteria of

preference
of products for 91.6%, 91%, and 83.4% of respondents respectively where 58.3%
believe on the better

quality
of foreign products. Proud of and conformity to one’s life styles had
statistical significant positive

association
with preference of buying locally produced shoes and clothes. Youths especially
youth females have

strong
attachment with foreign products. People prefer foreign products being having
varieties in style, purpose and

considering
the fashion preferred by the current generation. Thus, traditional cloth and
shoes industries should

produce
products considering current styles and fashions demanded by different groups
with different circumstances

together
with its quality and cultural values.

Key Terms: Determinants of
Product Preference, Domestic Products, Foreign Products

I.

Background
Of The Study

Globalization
comprises unlimited transport of goods, services, ideas and people. It reveals
interaction and

subsequent
integration of the people and nations into a common system. International trade
is an agent that promotes

commodification
of social and environmental values, resources and services. Socio-culturally,
advanced means of

communication
have aided the increasing dissemination of western values and models of life as
a standard for all

people
and culture.

Western
norms and practices are gradually being transported across the globe as the
acceptable way of

behavior.
In view of this, the rich and dynamic African culture has been diluted. Many
aspects of people?s every-day

life
are in the process of homogenized with those of people living far away.

Previous
studies emphasized the potential influences of globalization in disseminating
cultural products of

technologically
advanced countries of the world. However, researches are remained to assess the
root causes of

foreign
product preferences against its supplementary goods. Accordingly, this research
has been emphasized to

examine
the socio-demographic determinants of purchasing foreign or domestic products
in the case of customers

buying
Clothes and/or Shoes in Arada and Piazza, Gondar Town, Ethiopia.

I.1.
Statement Of The Problem

Global
flows of goods, ideas, people and capital can seem a threat to national culture
in many ways. It can

lead
to the abandonment of traditional values and practices. Global markets provide
economic advantage to the more

powerful
economic states so that integration into global markets often produces local
hardships for producers as

prices
are depressed. The changes brought by globalization threaten the viability of
locally made products and the

people
who produce them. Globalization, of course, does more than simply increase the
availability of foreign-made

consumer
products and disrupt traditional producers. The exposure to foreign cultural
goods frequently brings about

changes
in local cultures, values, and traditions

 

Determinants
of Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products: The Case of Shoes or/and
Cloth

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The
purchase of more expensive foreign products is often done at the expense of
food, health, and education

and,
consequently, contributes to decline in living standards.

Ethiopia
is known with a few export goods. Much of the local people are dependent on
imported products

even
in those products which have local substitution. However, researches are
remained to explore the product

choices
of people in Gondar Town.

I.2.
Objectives Of The Study

I.2.1. General objective

The
main aim of this study was to assess the determinants of consumers? product
(local-produced or foreign-

imported)
preference in Gondar town (North West Ethiopia) drawing evidences from the
Arada and Piazza Shoes

and
clothes shops.

I.2.2. Specific Objectives

Based
on the problem stated and the general objective outlined, this study
specifically aimed to:

? Look at the product
preference of consumers in Gondar town.

? Examine the
determinants of consumers? product preference, foreign or domestic shoes and/or
clothes.

? Assess the awareness
levels of customers towards the effects of dependency on foreign imported
products

Research
Questions

? What perceptions do
consumers have towards local and foreign products?

? What product
attributes are mostly considered by consumers when buying products?

Hypotheses

HO1.
Majority of the population prefer to use foreign products than domestic ones

HO2.
Socio-economic and demographic variables are significant determinant of product
preference.

HO3.
The mean average for levels of awareness on the costs of preference of locally
substituted foreign

products
is higher among those who inclined for foreign imported products than inclined
for domestic

products

I.3.
Methodology Of The Study

This
research was conducted with an explanatory research approach. The research
findings were generated

based
on the perception and response of consumers. Here, mixed research with
concurrent triangulation strategy was

employed.
The quantitative part of this research was employed to provide statistical generalization
about the

preferences
of customers for clothes and/or shoes imported or locally produced. This
instrument was used to assess

the
awareness levels of people towards the costs of using locally substituted
foreign imported products. This

questionnaire
survey was also employed to look at the effects of different socio-economic and
demographic

variables
on consumer product preference, foreign or domestic shoes or/ and clothes. Open
ended questions were

employed
to provide an in-depth explanation of consumers? perceptions and preferences of
buying of either

imported
or locally produced clothes and shoes. Before the research questionnaire was
used for data collection, the

draft
copies were evaluated for content validity by professionals in the field. In
validating the questionnaire and

interview
guides some items were modified appropriately. Ambiguous and leading statements
were also corrected.

The
Researcher used the formula of Godden (2004) which is designed to calculate
sample size from infinite

population.
The sample size of this study was calculated based on the following formula

n= Z2 x (p) x (1 – p)

C2

1.962(0.5) x0.5

0.025

n =
3.8416 x .5 x .5

.0025

n=384

Based
on this formula the sample size was 384. Where; n = Sample Size; Z = Z-value ? (e.g.,
1.96 for a 95

percent
confidence level); P = Percentage of population picking a choice, expressed as
decimals; C = Confidence

interval,
expressed as decimal (e.g., .05 = +/- 5 percentage points). However, only 367
were complete and used for

analysis

 

Determinants
of Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products: The Case of Shoes or/and
Cloth

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Respondents
were selected with stratified sampling technique in which type of shop was used
as means of

stratification,
from 10 shops of each type (shoes and clothes shop). Simple random sampling was
employed in

recruiting
proportional respondents from each shop. Participants were buyers in these
common market areas at the

time
the study.

For
qualitative data, principally, content analysis was used and ideas were
organized based on specific

objectives
and guiding structured questions. In understanding the preference of consumers
in Gondar town,

percentage
and frequency distribution were employed. Independent t-test was also used to
compare the mean score

of
awareness level of customers on the costs of using locally substituted foreign
products. Chi-square test was used

in
understanding the relationship between product preference and socio-demographic
and economic conditions of

respondents.
Binary logistic regression was employed to look at the effect of different
socio-demographic and

economic
variables on consumers? product preference (clothes or/and shoes produced in
and outside Ethiopia). The

outcome
variable has 2 categories (0 and 1). The value 0 indicates preference for
locally produced products and 1

refers
to using locally substituted foreign imported products. This method of analysis
served for identifying which

predictor
variables mostly predict the product preferences of buyers. Only independent
variables which had a

statistical
significance association with dependent variable were entered in to binary
logistic regression model. The

full
model significantly predicted the product preferences of respondents (Omnibus
Chi-squared= 329.317, df =11,

p=0.000).

III.

Analysis
And Discussion

I.4. Socio-Demographic Characteristics of
Respondents

Of
the 367 total respondents 216(58.9%) were male and the remaining 151 (41.1%)
were female. 287

(78.2%),
41 (11.2%), 32 (8.7%), 7 (1.9%) were respondents with the age group of 18-35,
greater than 45 years, 36-

45
years, and less than 18 years respectively. Half of respondents 185 (50.5%)
were those who are university or

college
students/ have completed their college or university educational career. The
remaining respondents 56

(15.3%)
were those having second and above degree, 68 (18.5%) with grade 1 to 8, 42
(11.4%) between grade 9 to

12,
and 16 (4.4%) were those who did not have formal education. Regarding their
occupation, 24 (6.5%) of total

respondents
were farmers, (26.7%) students, 101 (27.5%) business person and 144 (39.2%) of
all respondents were

employees.
Therefore, majority of the respondents were young male well educated urban
residents.

I.5. Product Preferences of Customers

As indicates
in Pie Chart 1 below, 48.5% of respondents prefer to buy both foreign and local
produced cloths

and/or
shoes as per its significance; the remaining 24.25%, 12.26%, 7.63% and 7.36% of
respondents prefer to buy

foreign,
local, strongly foreign and strongly local products respectively. In the
condition of having a chance of

buying
only one among the two alternative products, 63.8% of respondents are inclined
to buy foreign imported

clothes
and/or shoes. Small proportion (36.2%) respondents intended to buy locally
produced shoes and cloths

where
they are allowed to choose one among the two alternatives as indicates in bar
graph 1. This empirical finding

supports
the findings of Cordell,1992;cited in Opoku1, 2009) that revealed the weak
local product preferences of

economically
underdeveloped countries.

 

The Perception of Customers for Domestic and Foreign Imported Products

As indicated in Table 1.1a, the majorities (61.6%) of respondents are
proud of the shoes and closes of their

country irrespective of their quality and other characteristics. The
remaining 38.4% of respondents are not proud of

the clothes and shoes produced in their homeland. More than half (58.3%)
of respondents perceive that imported

products have higher quality than domestic ones. The remaining 41.7 % of
respondents, however, did not agree with

the perception that foreign products have higher quality than those
locally produced shoes and cloths. Interviewed

buyers also noted the opportunity foreign imported goods gave them in
aligning their need for more fashionable

products. They also stressed the advantage these products have in
satisfying the needs of different buyers in size and

amount.

Individuals with domestic products preference were found to be proud-of
their traditional cloth and shoes

reflecting the norms, values and traditions of their home country. On
the other side, respondents preferring foreign

imported shoes and clothes concurrently stated that imported cloths and
shoes are qualified, considered the current

fashion and fulfilled the demand of different group and purpose as well.

Traditional cloths have also specific attachment with certain traditions
and values and only allowed to be

used in certain religious or national ceremonies. They are not
meaningful and acceptable in other circumstances.

Cloths used in ordinary circumstances are not common and available with
different styles. It is not also used for

recreational purpose being having attachment to special circumstances.

Both groups mentioned that traditional dresses lack variety and fail to
meet the varied interests of

individuals unlike imported cloths and shoes do. Traditional cloths are
in most cases prepared only in a style

appropriate for celebrating national or religious ceremonies. They are
not prepared with styles that fit to routine.

 

I.7.5. Societal recognition of products and customers’ product
preference

The attachment of using foreign clothes and shoes with the achievement
of better status has statistical

significant association with product preferences as depicted in Table
1.2a X2(1, N=367) =92.71, p=0.000. As shown

in Table 1.7, of the total 33.8% respondents who perceived that using
foreign products (shoes and cloths) help them

to be highly prestigious, 33% preferred to buy foreign products over its
local substitutes. Those who perceived that

using foreign imported shoes and/or clothes help to be socially
prestigious preferred foreign products 524.18 times

more likely than those who criticize as it is false attachment (95% CI
39.98 and 6871.8).

I.7.6. The perceived quality of foreign product and its preference over
domestic ones

Majority 58.3% of respondents agreed that imported products (shoes and
cloths) have higher quality than

local ones. Almost all (91.6 %) of those respondents consider the
quality of the product for decision of buying.

However, the remaining 41.7% of total respondents argued with the better
quality of domestic shoes and clothes,

29.2% of them preferred to buy local products. The Chi-square output
confirmed the statistical significant

association of perception of better quality of imported shoes and cloths
and buying preferences of respondents for

foreign products X2(1, N=367) =128.93, p=0.000 (see in Table 10). This finding was
confirmed and strengthened by

the finding of binary logistic regression stating respondents perceiving
imported products as of superior quality

prefer to buy foreign products 24.25 times more likely than those who
did not agree with the perceived preferable

qualities of those imported products (95% CI 6.31 and 93.17) having
allowed other variables in the model.

I.7.7. Cultural conformity and product preference

Products conformity to the values, norms and ideologies of one?s own
community has a statistical

significant association with customer preference: X2(5, N=367) =125.2, p=0.000 (see in Table 1.2a).
Those deviated

from the life styles of the local community were found to have highly
inclined to buying foreign shoes and clothes

of culturally different styles.

I.7.8. The attachment of quality with the origin and price of the
product

Customers consider product origin as a manifestation of quality and
durability. If a country has a reputation

of superior quality of a specific product, it creates better image even
for other products of the country as well. One

respondent conceded that all foreign imported products are always of
higher quality than products produced by

domestic industries in Ethiopia. Most of the respondents also claimed
that products of developed countries are of

high quality, durable and suited to current fashion preferred by those
highly prestigious individuals.

Majority of respondents indicated that they preferred to buy expensive
clothes and shoes with the

perception that high priced shoes or/and cloths boast high quality than
those low priced products. It was supported

with the claims of Ismail1et.al, (2012) “Since consumers usually
associate the price of the brand with its quality, a

brand priced too low is generally perceived as a low quality product and
preferred less than higher price products.”

I.8. Customers’ product awareness and preference of buying

As indicated in the Table 1.13, statistically significant mean average
variation was noticeable in the mean

average for awareness levels for the impacts of using locally produced
products between those customers who

inclined to foreign imported products and domestic products.
Independent t-test analysis in Table 1.11 and 1.12

shows that respondents who are inclined for local products had a
significantly higher mean score (M = 3.96) in their

levels of awareness on the overall significances of using locally
produced products versus with (M=3.43) levels for

those who are inclined to foreign products t (364.76)
=6.73, p=0.00 (equal variance not assumed since Levene?s

p<.05 iv. conclusion and recommendations i.10. in the condition of having a chance buying only one among two alternatives products imported domestic majority respondents inclined to use foreign products. more than half perceive that are qualified ones. almost all consider quality product for decision buying. perceived has statistically significant association with its preferability market. total function place manufacture both shoes clothes is also considered by as criterion though they were less proportion found be proud on their cultural traditions did not intend produced local industries. being own tradition preference dress other x2 n="367)" p="0.000." tendency conformity life styles community statistical positive using locally attachment better public acceptance relationship over ones used mere perception could help them socially recognized thus become members those who prestigious. gender import nature residential background education level societal recognition determined customers exp respectively. inclination or cloths female from outside. male relatively out cloths. between age was highly significant: youth range prefer whose greater clothes. urban shoes. oppositely rural area preference. increase educational page determinants products: case cloth www.iosrjournals.org this empirical study enabled identify preferences arada piazza shop consumers gondar town. it helpful show attitudes perceptions people towards gave an insight awareness levels costs substituted goods identity development tourism industry exploitation resources industries gdp country living standard people. fills knowledge gap socio-economic demographic additionally will utilized providing field based practical information researchers university strengthening service programs teaching supplementary pillars higher institutions. i.11. load determining which associated should enhanced. since accepted have source prestige raising social religious values promoted. enhanced improving understanding society type significance fulfilling demands groups different contexts emphasis given varieties fashion suitability. financial technical support capacity producing competitive qualities considering customers. underscore contribution individuals culture enculturation new generation demanding. reason strong youths especially females residents requires detailed qualitative investigation. demand intervention. selective prioritize functional aspects contributions future competitiveness preservation indigenous markers nation. table1.3a output binary logistic regression>