This study was aimed at determining the difference between the male and female preference of international brands instead of national or local brands. Consumer evaluates products based on information cues, which are intrinsic and extrinsic. If a consumer is satisfied with a product, he will buy it again, become loyal and over time develop a relationship with the brand. There are various factors which influence consumer purchase decision. The price of a brand plays a fundamental role in the consumer's choice of brand. If a brand is priced too high then a consumer will avoid it. The price of a brand is an indication of the quality of the brand as well. The country of origin of products is another cue used as a sign of quality of a product. Products from developed countries are perceived to be of better quality. Other factors include fashion, family and friends, brand name, availability, advertising campaigns etc.
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The sample for this research is taken from Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Simple random sampling was the technique used and the sample size was 100. Data collected for research was through a questionnaire, which was distributed among both males and females. Calculations were then analyzed and interpreted using percentage of respondents.
Most of the female consumers are seen to give preference to international brands if asked to choose between an international brand and a national brand. Consumers regard international brands to be of better quality, more durable and reliable. Furthermore, females are more price and quality conscious and not very brand loyal. Local companies need to emphasize on the quality of their products in advertisements and their advertisements need to be more targeted and up-beat to attract the younger market segment.
In the name of ALLAH Almighty, the most gracious and merciful, who gave me the power, knowledge, strength and ability to complete this dissertation.
I am indebted to many people for the successful completion of this document. First of all, I would like to thank Department of Business Administration, Bahria University Islamabad, for providing me the golden opportunity to improve my knowledge and skills in the field of Business Management.
I would not forget to thank to my project supervisor, Mrs Wajeeha Haidar for her generous support.
I am also grateful to Prof. Mr. Hafiz Mushtaq who made me realize the concept of research during his course, Methods in Business Research.
At the end, I am thankful to all my friends and my family who helped, supported and motivated me in completion of this project.
As the world is turning into a Global Village and new products from abroad are finding their way into the country, the trend of consumption by our native people is slowly changing. They are becoming more prone to buying
International brands than the local ones since the influence by the western world is getting stronger day by day. The globalization of markets has created complex and intertwined sourcing and marketing strategies. If any bias resulting from these strategies is present in the buying decision, then manufacturers, exporters, importers, distributors, and other channel intermediaries must pay close attention to how this affects their businesses and use proper strategies to respond to this phenomenon (Samiee, 1994)
The concept called globalization has leaded various firms to operate on a global level which has brought changes in consumer buying behavior and his knowledge. Consumers are now more aware of other cultures, lifestyles and brands due to international travel and satellite television. It has now been observed that consumers buy foreign brands more frequently than the local ones. They feel proud in purchasing imported goods which has increased the power of global brands. It is a general perception that consumers consider only "made in..." factor while purchasing a foreign brand. But the fact is that there are various other factors involved in the process of product evaluations.
Studies show that consumers of developing countries prefer foreign brands, especially from the west, for reasons not only of perceived quality but also of social status. Thus a brand's country of origin serves as a "quality halo" or summary of product quality (cf. Han, 1989), and people buy such brands for status-enhancing reasons. Quality is conceptualized in terms of the "superiority" or "excellence" of a product's performance (Zeithmal, 1988).
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Demographics (income, education, occupation and family background) also determine the consumer's lifestyle and purchase pattern. Magnar and Hulpke (1990) found that demographics substantially determine the exposure to, and thus the purchase of expensive foreign goods.
In developing countries like Pakistan, social classes also show noticeable brand preference. It has been observed that the elite class and the upper-middle class go towards expensive foreign brands more frequently to make a prominent position in the society, as ours is a status conscious society. Lower classes on the other hand, take the international brands as a luxury.
The objective of this study is therefore to examine some of the influences such as consumer ethnocentrism, the role of social influences like advertising, celebrity endorsements, peer groups and family in affecting consumer's perception and evaluations of these brands. Both primary and secondary sources will be used for data collection such as questionnaires, internet search, news paper and magazine articles. This research will be conducted in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Purpose of study
The purpose of this research is to determine:
- The factors influencing consumers to buy international brands rather than the national brands.
- Study the buying behavior patterns and perceptions of Pakistani male and female consumers regarding the purchase of International brands in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
As consumers have more choices today due to global effects and they can easily switch to different brands if they are dissatisfied with one. So, this study deals with the following queries:
- What are the factors considered by consumers while selecting brands?
- Why consumers pay more for international brands than national brands?
The main objectives of our research are as follows:
- To determine factors that influence consumer preferences while selecting a brand.
- To see whether there is a difference between the male and female perceptions regarding the purchase of international brands.
Scope of the study
This research is focusing on the adult consumers of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It deals with the factors that influence consumer preferences while selecting an international brand and what consumers look for in a product when they buy it. The research is specifically focused upon fast moving consumer goods (FMCG's) industry. For the purpose of the study, consumers have been separated into two groups on the basis of gender i.e. male and female consumers.
- This research is limited to Rawalpindi and Islamabad due to limited funds and limited time.
- The research is based on limited number of respondents as it is difficult to arrange appointments with consumers.
- The respondents may not be honest and fill in the questionnaires half-heartedly, giving a false or biased picture.
- The research does not cover all the categories of goods. It in fact deals with the brands related to consumer goods only.
Before going into the past researches on the preference of people about national and international brands, let us first define a few terms.
Generally consumer is an individual who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale. The literal meaning of the word 'consumer' is one that consumes (www.scholar.google.com).
According to the legal definition of consumer, it is an individual who purchases, uses, maintains, and disposes off products and services (www.answers.com).
The Marketing dictionary defines consumer as an ultimate user of a product or service. The consumer is not always the purchaser of a product. In the case of pet food, for example, the pet is technically the consumer because it is the ultimate user, although of course the advertising is aimed at the pet owner (www.answers.com).
Generally the word brand means; a trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer. The term brand refers to a name, term, symbol, sign or design used by a firm to differentiate its offerings from those of its competitors. Brands are one of the most standardizable items in the product offering; they may allow further standardization of other marketing elements such as promotional items. The brand name is the vocalizable part of the brand, the brand mark the nonvocalizable part (Czinkota & Ronkainen).
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What the brands are and why they emerged? , tells John Philip Jones in his book "What's in a name" that brands developed out of trademarks, a long lasting means of providing legal protection to an inventor's patent. But even with the earliest brands that emerged more than a hundred years ago, the branding process developed a purpose and importance beyond this simple legal role in that it suggested a guarantee of homogeneity and product quality to buyers of a brand, who might otherwise know nothing about its manufacturer. Even more importantly, it provided an unmistakable means of differentiating one manufacturer's output from another's.
A brand includes a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the use of the product or service and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to the product and serves to create associations and expectations around it (John Philip Jones).
Customer behavior is defined as the mental and physical activities undertaken by household and business customers that result in decisions and actions to pay for you, purchase and use products and services. Examples of mental activities are assessing the suitability of a product or service brand, making inferences about a product or service's qualities from advertising information, and evaluating actual experiences with the product. Physical activities include visiting stores, reading consumer reports, talking to sales people, and issuing a purchase order. In short, Consumer behavior is understanding how and why consumers behave (Del I. Hawkins).
As consumers, we can benefit from a better understanding of how we make our decisions so that we can make wiser ones. Marketers can benefit from an understanding of consumer behavior so that they can better predict what consumers want and how best to offer it to them (Wilkie William).
There are two major forces that shape who we are and what we buy. Our personal motives, attitudes, and decision-making abilities guide our consumption behavior. At the same time, our families, cultural background, and the ads we see on TV, and the sites we visit on the Internet influence our thoughts and actions (Jan S. Slater).
According to the marketing dictionary the term Brand Image refers to Qualities that consumers associate with a specific brand, expressed in terms of human behavior and desires, but also related to price, quality, and situational use of the brand. For example: A brand such as Mercedes Benz will conjure up a strong public image because of its sensory and physical characteristics as well as its price. This image is not inherent in the brand name but is created through advertising (www.answers.com). But Czinkota & Ronkainen in their book "Global Marketing" state that brand names convey the image of the product or service.
Brand image can be positive as well as negative. On the basis of characteristics which the consumer associates with the brand, a competitive advantage for a brand can be build.
Brand loyalty has been proclaimed by some to be the ultimate goal of marketing. In marketing, brand loyalty consists of a consumer's commitment to repurchase the brand and can be demonstrated by repeated buying of a product or service or other positive behaviors such as word of mouth advocacy. True brand loyalty implies that the consumer is willing, at least on occasion, to put aside their own desires in the interest of the brand.
Brand loyalty is more than simple repurchasing, however. Customers may repurchase a brand due to situational constraints, a lack of viable alternatives, or out of convenience. Such loyalty is referred to as "spurious loyalty". True brand loyalty exists when customers have a high relative attitude toward the brand which is then exhibited through repurchase behavior. This type of loyalty can be a great asset to the firm: customers are willing to pay higher prices, they may cost less to serve, and can bring new customers to the firm. For example, if Joe has brand loyalty to Company A he will purchase Company A's products even if Company B's are cheaper and/or of a higher quality (Paul Herbig, 1997).
Influence of brand loyalty on consumer behavior:
The new millennium is not just a new beginning; it is a continuation of trends in human behavior that have been following cyclical patterns throughout our country's history. Just because we have entered a new era does not mean we have to start from scratch when it comes to interpreting why certain consumers are loyal to certain brands, and what type of factors influence these allegiances.
Brand Loyalty is the consumer's conscious or unconscious decision, expressed through intention or behavior, to repurchase a brand continually. It occurs because the consumer perceives that the brand offers the right product features, image, or level of quality at the right price. Consumer behavior is habitual because habits are safe and familiar. In order to create brand loyalty, advertisers must break consumer habits, help them acquire new habits, and reinforce those habits by reminding consumers of the value of their purchase and encourage them to continue purchasing those products in the future.
The image surrounding a company's brand is the principal source of its competitive advantage and is therefore a valuable strategic asset. Unfortunately, many companies are not adept at disseminating a strong, clear message that not only distinguishes their brand from the competitors', but distinguishes it in a memorable and positive manner. The challenge for all brands is to avoid the pitfalls of portraying a muddled or negative image, and instead, create a broad brand vision or identity that recognizes a brand as something greater than a set of attributes that can be imitated or surpassed. In fact, a company should view its brand to be not just a product or service, but as an overall brand image that defines a company's philosophies. A brand needs more than identity; it needs a personality. Just like a person without attention-grabbing characteristics, a brand with no personality can easily be passed right over. A strong symbol or company logo can also help to generate brand loyalty by making it quickly identifiable.
From the design of a new product to the extension of a mature brand, effective marketing strategies depend on a thorough understanding of the motivation, learning, memory, and decision processes that influence what consumers buy. Theories of consumer behavior have been repeatedly linked to managerial decisions involving development and launching of new products, segmentation, timing of market entry, and brand management. Subsequently, the issue of brand loyalty has been examined at great length. Branding is by far one of the most important factors influencing an item's success or failure in the marketplace, and can have a dramatic impact on how the "company behind the brand" is perceived by the buying public. In other words, the brand is not just a representation of a company's product; it is a symbol of the company itself, and that is where the core of brand loyalty lies. All this information was found out through a research conducted by Jovey Wai Kwan Leung and Gail Tylor.
The brand name of a product that has worldwide recognition. A global brand has the advantage of economies of scale in terms of production, recognition, and packaging. While the product or brand itself remains the same, the marketing must take into account the local market conditions and the resulting marketing campaign must be tailored accordingly. Care must also be taken to ensure that there is nothing offensive in terms of the name or packaging in the various cultures and languages. A problem with global branding is that, if problems are experienced in one country, there could be worldwide repercussions for the brand (www.brighternaming.com/brands).
According to Omelia (1995), successful global brands must anticipate cultural trends, styles and evolving consumer values in order to appeal to customers across international boundaries; a product's relevance to its customers dictates its global potential. Brands which have a large disparity in consumer regard and image are not as likely to find a standardized global positioning to become a global brand. Successful multicultural advertisers have secured brand loyalty from culturally diverse consumers by tailoring the brand's image to reflect individual cultures. With regards to brands, creation or maintenance of a global brand is highly dependent upon the existing status of the brand. If the company has maintained independent brand names for the same product for numerous countries, it becomes more difficult and risky to implement a single global brand name. If the product has been adapted in various countries to accommodate local tastes, the creation of a single global brand is not recommended.
International brands are somewhat different from global brands. They also have a worldwide recognition but the basic marketing strategies are not same in all the countries, in fact these brands do not have a marketing team working for the brand in every country. For example, Marlboro, Imperial leather, Mercedes etc.
Factors considered by consumers while buying brands
According to one study "Understanding the path to purchase", the drivers of purchase are psychographics/personality, social context of a consumer, his current relationships and the functionality/product attributes (Michael Mills, N. Torkar, Tina k. & A. Dye).
Another research conducted by Davis, Hatch & Roberts in 1985 states that "clothing choice criteria are defined as the intrinsic(inherent to the product) and extrinsic(product-related but not part of the physical product) product attributes that associated with desired benefits or incurred costs as consumers make buying decision among various alternatives. Intrinsic product attributes are those which cannot be changed without altering the physical characteristics of the product, for example, style, color, design, appearance, safety, comfort etc. While extrinsic ones are those that are exerted by manufacturers or retailers and do not form the component parts of the product. For example, price, brand, country of origin, warranty etc.
The past researches have shown that there are countless factors which attract consumers to buy branded products whether national or international. The factors are:
Current fashion trends
What is happening in the world of fashion and what are the current fashions trends is one of the factor which consumers consider when buying products and which results in their change of taste. Brands convey a certain fashion image or social status better than non branded ones. The social identification implies the sense of belonging to certain groups or organizations (Ashforth and Mael, 1989, Aaker, J, 1999, Kim, Han and Park, 2001).
A study conducted on consumer behavior by Kwan C.Y, Yeung K.W. & Au K.F. says that the brand consciousness and perfectionism consciousness are directly related to fashion consciousness of consumers. These are combined to form a new factor named "brand and fashion consciousness" in this study. Consumers with this style are more likely to purchase expensive International brands.
Kotler and Armstrong describe price as the money charged for products or services or the sum of values that is exchanged by consumers for having the benefits of that product or service.
Price plays a pivotal role in a consumer's choice of brand. Many consumers organize their products category knowledge in terms of the price bands of different products (Keller, 1998).
According to a study named "The Dual Role of Price in Consumer's Value Judgments" by Manoj Thomas, Vicki G., Leonard M. Lodish; first, as a product attribute, price affects the perceived similarity of the target product to the mental prototype of a higher or lower quality product. However, price is not the only attribute used to make similarity based quality judgments. Other relevant and available product attributes moderate the effect of price on quality judgments. Second, as a measure of sacrifice, price serves as the benchmark for comparing utility gains from superior product quality. However, this comparison process is dynamic because the relative importance of money and product quality changes across consumption occasions.
The findings of previous researches indicate that the status-conscious market is more likely to be affected by the representative characteristics of a brand; feelings aroused by the brand; and by the degree of agreement between the brand-user's opinion and the brand's image itself. Results also show that the higher the symbolic or representative characteristics, the stronger the positive feelings, and the greater the congruency between the consumer and brand image, the greater the chance of the brand being perceived as possessing high status elements.
Past researches have developed a greater understanding of the relationship between international branded products and status consciousness of consumers, how consumers are most likely to use status conscious approach in their lives and the status that comes from displaying one's self though branded products (Eastman, 1999; Mason, 1992; Motameni & Shahrokhi, 1998; O'Shaughnessy, 1992; Schitovsky, 1992).
A paper titled "How Global Brands Compete" by Douglas B. Holt, John A. Quelch, and Earl L. Taylor states that one important factor considered by consumers during the purchase decision is the 'Quality Signal'. Consumers watch the fierce battles that transnational companies wage over quality and are impressed by the victors. A focus-group participant in Russia told us: "The more people who buy a brand, the better quality it is." A Spanish consumer agreed: "I like global brands because they usually offer more quality and better guarantees than other products."
Czinkota & Ronkainen in their book "Global Marketing" have mentioned that global marketers must emphasize quality in their strategies because they cannot compete on price alone. To maintain a position of product superiority, firms must invest in research and development for new products as well as manufacturing methods. Another important aspect of improving quality is an emphasis on design. Some countries such as Singapore and Taiwan provide financial assistance to help companies improve product design. Cash grants help defer design costs, and publicity-oriented programs increase overall design consciousness. Moreover, global marketers must realize that they have to meet ISO 9000 standards to compete for business abroad and to win contracts from multinational corporations.
Advertising and celebrity endorsers
Advertising is a paid non-personal communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade or influence audience (Wells Vurnett Moriaaty). It is all about an affective communication of the message through an affective media like television, radio, internet, news paper, magazines, billboards, banners, brochures, etc. There are various types of advertising, one of which is 'Brand Advertising'. It's the most visible type which focuses on the development of long term brand identity and image.
Celebrity endorsement has been recognized as "a ubiquitous feature of modern marketing" (McCracken, 1989). The company can build characters that are congruent with their brands and the target audience. Companies have very little control over the celebrity's persona, as this has been created over the years (Tom et al., 1992).
Celebrity endorsers have been found to produce more positive responses towards advertising and greater purchase intentions than a non-celebrity endorser (Atkin & Block, 1983; Petty & Cacioppo, 1983). Stars are loved and adored by their fans, so advertisers use stars to capitalize on these feelings to sway the fans towards their brand. Some stars have a universal appeal and therefore prove to be a good bet to generate interest among the masses. For example, L'Oreal hired Beyonce Knowles and Natalie as their spokesperson whereas; Estee Lauder hired a famous actress Elizabeth Huley to promote the brand.
According to Shilbury et al. (1998), "sports advertising is now a multibillion dollar industry and has as its prime purpose the influencing of consumers to respond positively to products or services." One of the top sports celebrity endorsers ever, basketball superstar Michael Jordan, made an estimated 40 million dollars a year in endorsement fees from companies such as McDonald's, Nike, General Mills, and Hanes etc.
A past research shows that most of the people like to watch ads with their favorite celebrity and desire to purchase the brands promoted by a favorite spokesperson.
The country of origin of a product, typically communicated by the phrase "made inâ€¦" has a considerable influence on the quality perceptions of a product. The manufacture of products in certain countries is affected by a built-in positive or negative stereotype of product quality (Czinkota & Ronkainen).
Japanese brands seem to be perceived as more reliable (i.e., requiring less repair), while American brands are perceived as more roomy and safer in the event of a collision. It is expected that a marketing strategy that works well for Japanese brands will not work as well for U.S. brands or European brands because of their different country image. This has been stated in an empirical study named "Brand popularity, country image and market share" by Chung Koo Kim, Jay Young Chung.
Another research says that country of origin effects have lessened as consumers are more informed today. The argument has been made that with the advent of more economic integration, national borders become less important.
The dependent variable in this case is the consumer purchase decision. This study is focused upon the buying behavior of consumer regarding the fast moving consumer goods industry only.
Consumer behavior: Consumer behavior is the study of the process involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose off products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires (Solomon, 1996).
Consumer behavior is the study of the buying behavior patterns of the consumers and the factors that influence behavior of final consumers- individuals and households who buy goods and services for personal consumption (Kotler & Armstrong, 2001).
The research deals with the purchase decision aspect of the consumer behavior. During the selection of a brand, a person always considers certain factors, so the consumer buying decision is not an independent process and is dependent on various factors. For example while buying a television; one always considers its picture and sound quality, its design and the current trend, his income level etc. So the decision of buying a television is dependent upon the above independent factors.
It is a multivariate analysis as there are a number of independent variables which directly affect the dependent variable i.e. buying decision. The independent variables involved in this study are:
Quality: Quality is a factor where no one compromises. It has a long lasting impact on consumer's perception. It is the basic factor considered by consumers when purchasing a brand.
Status: Many people buy foreign brands just for the status enhancing motive. Such consumers are very conscious about their appearance, so they choose the brands very vigilantly. They are the ones who frequently purchase foreign brands even if they are expensive. They go for the image of brand which can enhance their own image and status in the society.
Price: Price plays a vital role in consumer's choice of brand. High priced products are considered luxury and purchased occasionally. Price is also perceived to be the reflection of the quality of brand. Expensive brands are considered to be of premium quality whereas a low priced brand is regarded to be of inferior quality. Thus income level is also a part of the price factor. The consumers with high purchasing power frequently purchase the expensive brands may be to impress others or for their own satisfaction. So, it can be said that, price does not influence the purchase decision of the status conscious people as they use International branded products as a symbol of status (Pollack, 1977).
Fashion consciousness: Most of the consumers consider the current fashion trends while purchasing a product. Every consumer has his own taste and desires to buy the latest design from the market. Consumers are more aware about the latest fashion trends and are more fashion conscious. So they go for the brands which are in fashion at the time of purchase.
Reference groups: Reference groups include persons, groups or institutions whom one look up to for guidance for one's own behavior and whose opinion one cares for. These are also an important source of influencing the brand purchases. They serve as direct or indirect points of comparison or reference in forming a person's attitude or behavior. Reference group may involve family, friends or even opinion leaders who exert influence on other's buying decisions due to special skills, knowledge or personality.
Advertising and celebrity endorsers: An effective advertisement educates the consumer about the product and makes recognition of the brand. It helps creating an image of a brand and plays important role in changing consumer's perception, thus influencing his buying decision. Also celebrity endorsers have been found to produce more positive responses towards advertising and greater purchase intentions than a non-celebrity endorser. Celebrities build an image between the brand and the consumer and are a major source of influencing brand purchases.
Country of origin: It is at times the only variable used to evaluate products. Some countries are known for the products they manufacture and their perceived quality, hence, consumers rely on this factor when they make their purchases. For example Japan is known for its electronic products, France is known for its fashion designers and Italy is famous for shoes.
Affiliations: Sometimes consumer buying behavior is influenced by small groups to which he belongs. For example, membership groups and symbolic groups like community organizations, clubs, professional associations etc. Such groups may influence the consumer's buying behavior due to his particular life-style, attitude and self-concept and create pressures to conform that may affect the person's product and brand choices. The importance of group influence varies across products and brands. It tends to be strongest especially during the young age when peers are seen as an important source of influence on fashion clothing preferences.
Brand consciousness: In the United States, brand names are an important factor affecting consumer's purchase decisions, with well-known brands, such as Nike and Gap, being popular choices (Lie beck, 1996). It has been generally observed that young adults are brand conscious consumers most of the time.
According to a previous research on "brand consciousness" conducted by Leah Rausch The level of brand consciousness was found to be significantly different across cultures, gender and age. Females were found to be more brand conscious than males. He assumed that males generally do not shop as frequently or do not put as much effort into searching for information about product brands. They conveniently choose the brands they recognize and use the name of the brand as a signal of quality.
Marx states, "College students are decidedly brand conscious" (1995). In another study, parents expressed concern that kids are extremely brand conscious with high school students being the most brand conscious (Lie beck, 1996). Now it has to be analyzed through this research that which gender is more brand conscious among Pakistani consumers.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS & METHODOLOGY
- What are the reasons of consumer preference of Global brands over the local ones?
- What are the demographic characteristics of consumers who buy foreign brands more frequently?
- Which product attributes are mostly considered by consumers when buying a brand? Intrinsic or extrinsic?
- What marketing strategies must be adopted by local marketers to compete with Global brands?
- H0: Males and females in twin cities have the same perception about foreign brands.
- H1: Males and females in twin cities do not have the same perception about foreign brands.
Research design and methodology
The sample for this research was drawn from Rawalpindi and Islamabad as people from all walks of life reside here. Simple random sampling was preferred for this descriptive research study which has been divided into two categories demographically i.e. males and females. The sample size for the study was one hundred consumers which include only the adult consumers of twin cities.
Instruments and measures
The type of research was a descriptive study in order to identify, determine and analyze the reasons why consumers prefer international brands to national brands when purchasing consumer goods. Questionnaire survey was employed as the tool to collect primary information. To maintain confidentiality, the respondents were specifically asked not to write their names on the survey forms. It was a structured questionnaire which consisted of 12 questions. The questionnaire was designed and modified for the study after discussions with professionals advising the researcher in the study.
All the items were close ended and three-point likert scale with one being "yes", two being "sometimes" and three being "no". Furthermore, gender of the consumers was asked at the top of the questionnaire to analyze the behavior of both male and female consumers.
The questionnaire was given directly to the consumers to be filled in. After that the analysis of the data was carried out using percentage of respondent's answers. Simple percentage method was adopted for the male and female perception about the purchase of international brands.
The questionnaire was designed after the consideration of different variables of theoretical framework. Gender of the respondents has been asked to analyze the population demographically. Pilot test was conducted on 20 respondents and the questionnaire was refined. Value of Cronbach Alpha came to 0.7. The questionnaire was later validated by experts.
First two questions answered whether consumers frequently buy the international brands.
Questions 3, 4, and 5 measured the role of factors like brand loyalty, price and country of origin in consumer's purchase decision of foreign brands.
Next two questions analyzed the importance of factors like quality and status in the purchase of international brands.
Questions 8, 9, 10 & 11 were designed to measure the importance of advertisements and the role of celebrities endorsed in advertisements, importance of reference groups and peer groups and the role of current fashions in the purchase decision regarding a particular brand.
The last question has been asked to determine whether consumers consider brand name in their purchase decision of an international brand or not.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
After studying the consumer buying behavior patterns regarding FMCG's in twin cities and identifying the key factors influencing their purchase decision of foreign brands, it has been concluded that consumers purchase foreign brands and give preference to them. Today's consumer is quality and price conscious and wants value for money. Consumers are willing to pay extra for a brand that they perceive will give them satisfaction in terms of quality and performance. It can be said that consumers mostly consider extrinsic product attributes while making purchase decision like brand name, country of origin, price, warranty etc.
The results show that for most of the questions, males and females have different responses. Females are found to be more status conscious, brand conscious and their purchase decision is influenced by family, friends and celebrities endorsed in the advertisement. Males on the other hand are more brand loyal and consider country of origin an important factor while buying foreign brands.
On the other hand there is a small segment of society that prefers to use local products. Some of these consumers only use or mostly use national products. They want to preserve and carry forward the traditions and customs of their families and have a strong sense of patriotism.
On the whole, it can be said that the ladies of Rawalpindi and Islamabad are more brand conscious and fashion conscious. They fall under western pressure and like to boast off. Also, other factors for preferring foreign brands are peer pressure and status anxiety.
In order to gain more consumer confidence local companies need to emphasize more on the quality of their products. Many companies produce products that are of impeccable quality, which they need to portray to the consumers in the advertising campaigns.
Local companies need to work on strong electronic and print media campaigns that are more targeted towards particular segments like young females. They need to target the younger generation more with their advertising campaigns by using up beat advertisements, as it is this group of consumers that go for international brands the most.
To compete against international brands, local companies can gain a competitive edge by maintaining low prices and high comparable quality. This can be accomplished by keeping production cost low, using economies of scale and controlling wastage. Thinking globally and competing in the international market can also achieve this.
Furthermore, companies need to build on and sustain brand loyalty by forming strategies such as exchange and return policies as well as guarantees and warranties.