Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to examine country of origin (COO) effects among Georgian consumers towards selected European Union (EU) member country products. Within this general framework, the present paper aims to determine Georgian consumers’ perception of products sourced from Germany as the largest EU exporter to Georgia, Italy as the source of some well-known product classes, and Poland as a new member of the EU. Design/methodology/approach-The study was conducted among 313 consumers, from Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, and Rustavi in May and June of 2005. Based on the experiences and the findings of an earlier survey, ten products available in the Georgian market were identified as relevant for the study. A five-point Likert scale was used to gauge respondents’ perceptions of quality of each product from respective countries. Findings-Most of the products made in Germany are perceived high in quality. Italy is rated high in some major product classes like clothing and fashion products. Poland is not rated high for any product class but, its products’ lower prices are appreciated by Georgian consumers. Findings support the earlier research specifying the heuristic between product evaluation and degree of economic development of the sourcing country. COO evaluations vary according to product class. The results also confirm past research indicating the differentiating effect of demographic variables on COO perceptions. COO image of Germany and Italy contributes to general “made in Europe” image, the image of Poland moderates it. Research limitations/implications-The paper’s main tenet was that Georgian consumers had high regards for products coming from highly developed EU member countries. This is a static study and looked at the COO phenomenon during one period of time (static approach). Further studies are needed to determine the COO effect over a longer period of time (longitudinal studies). In addition to the study of COO effects on country’s product class, the study of product form, product brand, and product brand options may produce more illuminating results. Practical implications-Georgian importers and European exporters should consider the “made in” strength of each product for competitive advantage and build up their product assortments accordingly. For promotion, exporters to Georgia and resellers in Georgia may put more emphasis on COO of the products which have relatively strong product country image. Relatively, weaker products from Italy and Germany may be supported by using a general country image. The “made in Europe” label may also help to increase the appreciation of products coming from Poland. Originality/value-The present paper provides empirical evidence about consumers’ perception of foreign products in a less researched geography.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management