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iosrjournals.orgwww.iosrjournals.org50| Page Determinantsof Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products:TheCase of Shoes or/and Cloth Preference in Gondar Town,EthiopiaSirawMegibaru Temesgen11 Department of SocialAnthropology, College of Social Sciences and the Humanities University ofGondar, EthiopiaABSTRACT: Global flows of goodsand ideas threaten the viability of local products and dismantle the economicbasisof least developed countries like Ethiopia.

Urban populations in Ethiopia, withthe existing unbalancedexposureto western communication media, have become dominated with the knowledge,values, norms, andattitudesof western communities. Thus, the rich and dynamic culture of the local communityhas been diluted.Therefore,this research assessed determinants of consumers’ product preference in Aradaand Piazza Shoes and/orClothes’shop in Gondar Town, Ethiopia.

Mixed research with concurrent triangulationstrategy was employed.Semi-structuredinterview and survey research method with self-administered structuredquestionnaires were used.Morethan half (63.8%) of respondents prefer to use locally substituted foreignproducts where allowed to chooseeitherforeign or domestic shoes and/or clothes. Quality, function and place ofmanufacture were the criteria ofpreferenceof products for 91.6%, 91%, and 83.4% of respondents respectively where 58.

3%believe on the betterqualityof foreign products. Proud of and conformity to one’s life styles hadstatistical significant positiveassociationwith preference of buying locally produced shoes and clothes. Youths especiallyyouth females havestrongattachment with foreign products. People prefer foreign products being havingvarieties in style, purpose andconsideringthe fashion preferred by the current generation.

Thus, traditional cloth andshoes industries shouldproduceproducts considering current styles and fashions demanded by different groupswith different circumstancestogetherwith its quality and cultural values.Key Terms: Determinants ofProduct Preference, Domestic Products, Foreign ProductsI.BackgroundOf The StudyGlobalizationcomprises unlimited transport of goods, services, ideas and people. It revealsinteraction andsubsequentintegration of the people and nations into a common system. International tradeis an agent that promotescommodificationof social and environmental values, resources and services. Socio-culturally,advanced means ofcommunicationhave aided the increasing dissemination of western values and models of life asa standard for allpeopleand culture.Westernnorms and practices are gradually being transported across the globe as theacceptable way ofbehavior.In view of this, the rich and dynamic African culture has been diluted.

Manyaspects of people?s every-daylifeare in the process of homogenized with those of people living far away.Previousstudies emphasized the potential influences of globalization in disseminatingcultural products oftechnologicallyadvanced countries of the world. However, researches are remained to assess theroot causes offoreignproduct preferences against its supplementary goods. Accordingly, this researchhas been emphasized toexaminethe socio-demographic determinants of purchasing foreign or domestic productsin the case of customersbuyingClothes and/or Shoes in Arada and Piazza, Gondar Town, Ethiopia.I.1.Statement Of The ProblemGlobalflows of goods, ideas, people and capital can seem a threat to national culturein many ways. It canleadto the abandonment of traditional values and practices.

Global markets provideeconomic advantage to the morepowerfuleconomic states so that integration into global markets often produces localhardships for producers aspricesare depressed. The changes brought by globalization threaten the viability oflocally made products and thepeoplewho produce them. Globalization, of course, does more than simply increase theavailability of foreign-madeconsumerproducts and disrupt traditional producers. The exposure to foreign culturalgoods frequently brings aboutchangesin local cultures, values, and traditions Determinantsof Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products: The Case of Shoes or/andClothwww.iosrjournals.org51| PageThepurchase of more expensive foreign products is often done at the expense offood, health, and educationand,consequently, contributes to decline in living standards.Ethiopiais known with a few export goods.

Much of the local people are dependent onimported productsevenin those products which have local substitution. However, researches areremained to explore the productchoicesof people in Gondar Town.I.2.Objectives Of The StudyI.

2.1. General objectiveThemain 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 theArada and Piazza Shoesandclothes shops.I.2.2.

Specific ObjectivesBasedon the problem stated and the general objective outlined, this studyspecifically aimed to:? Look at the productpreference of consumers in Gondar town.? Examine thedeterminants of consumers? product preference, foreign or domestic shoes and/orclothes.? Assess the awarenesslevels of customers towards the effects of dependency on foreign importedproductsResearchQuestions? What perceptions doconsumers have towards local and foreign products?? What productattributes are mostly considered by consumers when buying products?HypothesesHO1.Majority of the population prefer to use foreign products than domestic onesHO2.Socio-economic and demographic variables are significant determinant of productpreference.HO3.

The mean average for levels of awareness on the costs of preference of locallysubstituted foreignproductsis higher among those who inclined for foreign imported products than inclinedfor domesticproductsI.3.Methodology Of The StudyThisresearch was conducted with an explanatory research approach. The researchfindings were generatedbasedon the perception and response of consumers. Here, mixed research withconcurrent triangulation strategy wasemployed.The quantitative part of this research was employed to provide statistical generalizationabout thepreferencesof customers for clothes and/or shoes imported or locally produced. Thisinstrument was used to assesstheawareness levels of people towards the costs of using locally substitutedforeign imported products.

Thisquestionnairesurvey was also employed to look at the effects of different socio-economic anddemographicvariableson consumer product preference, foreign or domestic shoes or/ and clothes. Openended questions wereemployedto provide an in-depth explanation of consumers? perceptions and preferences ofbuying of eitherimportedor locally produced clothes and shoes. Before the research questionnaire wasused for data collection, thedraftcopies were evaluated for content validity by professionals in the field. Invalidating the questionnaire andinterviewguides some items were modified appropriately. Ambiguous and leading statementswere also corrected.TheResearcher used the formula of Godden (2004) which is designed to calculatesample size from infinitepopulation.

The sample size of this study was calculated based on the following formulan= Z2 x (p) x (1 – p)C21.962(0.5) x0.50.025n =3.

8416 x .5 x .5.0025n=384Basedon this formula the sample size was 384. Where; n = Sample Size; Z = Z-value ? (e.g.,1.

96 for a 95percentconfidence level); P = Percentage of population picking a choice, expressed asdecimals; C = Confidenceinterval,expressed as decimal (e.g., .05 = +/- 5 percentage points). However, only 367were complete and used foranalysis Determinantsof Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products: The Case of Shoes or/andClothwww.

iosrjournals.org52| PageRespondentswere selected with stratified sampling technique in which type of shop was usedas means ofstratification,from 10 shops of each type (shoes and clothes shop). Simple random sampling wasemployed inrecruitingproportional respondents from each shop.

Participants were buyers in thesecommon market areas at thetimethe study.Forqualitative data, principally, content analysis was used and ideas wereorganized based on specificobjectivesand guiding structured questions. In understanding the preference of consumersin Gondar town,percentageand frequency distribution were employed. Independent t-test was also used tocompare the mean scoreofawareness level of customers on the costs of using locally substituted foreignproducts. Chi-square test was usedinunderstanding the relationship between product preference and socio-demographicand economic conditions ofrespondents.Binary logistic regression was employed to look at the effect of differentsocio-demographic andeconomicvariables on consumers? product preference (clothes or/and shoes produced inand outside Ethiopia).

Theoutcomevariable has 2 categories (0 and 1). The value 0 indicates preference forlocally produced products and 1refersto using locally substituted foreign imported products. This method of analysisserved for identifying whichpredictorvariables mostly predict the product preferences of buyers. Only independentvariables which had astatisticalsignificance association with dependent variable were entered in to binarylogistic regression model.

Thefullmodel significantly predicted the product preferences of respondents (OmnibusChi-squared= 329.317, df =11,p=0.000).

III.AnalysisAnd DiscussionI.4. Socio-Demographic Characteristics ofRespondentsOfthe 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, 36-45years, and less than 18 years respectively. Half of respondents 185 (50.5%)were those who are university orcollegestudents/ have completed their college or university educational career.

Theremaining 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 to12,and 16 (4.4%) were those who did not have formal education.

Regarding theiroccupation, 24 (6.5%) of totalrespondentswere farmers, (26.7%) students, 101 (27.5%) business person and 144 (39.2%) ofall respondents wereemployees.Therefore, majority of the respondents were young male well educated urbanresidents.I.

5. Product Preferences of CustomersAs indicatesin Pie Chart 1 below, 48.5% of respondents prefer to buy both foreign and localproduced clothsand/orshoes as per its significance; the remaining 24.25%, 12.

26%, 7.63% and 7.36% ofrespondents prefer to buyforeign,local, strongly foreign and strongly local products respectively. In thecondition of having a chance ofbuyingonly one among the two alternative products, 63.8% of respondents are inclinedto buy foreign importedclothesand/or shoes.

Small proportion (36.2%) respondents intended to buy locallyproduced shoes and clothswherethey are allowed to choose one among the two alternatives as indicates in bargraph 1. This empirical findingsupportsthe findings of Cordell,1992;cited in Opoku1, 2009) that revealed the weaklocal product preferences ofeconomicallyunderdeveloped countries. The Perception of Customers for Domestic and Foreign Imported ProductsAs indicated in Table 1.

1a, the majorities (61.6%) of respondents areproud of the shoes and closes of theircountry irrespective of their quality and other characteristics. Theremaining 38.4% of respondents are not proud ofthe clothes and shoes produced in their homeland. More than half (58.3%)of respondents perceive that importedproducts have higher quality than domestic ones. The remaining 41.

7 % ofrespondents, however, did not agree withthe perception that foreign products have higher quality than thoselocally produced shoes and cloths. Interviewedbuyers also noted the opportunity foreign imported goods gave them inaligning their need for more fashionableproducts. They also stressed the advantage these products have insatisfying the needs of different buyers in size andamount.

Individuals with domestic products preference were found to be proud-oftheir traditional cloth and shoesreflecting the norms, values and traditions of their home country. Onthe other side, respondents preferring foreignimported shoes and clothes concurrently stated that imported cloths andshoes are qualified, considered the currentfashion and fulfilled the demand of different group and purpose as well.Traditional cloths have also specific attachment with certain traditionsand values and only allowed to beused in certain religious or national ceremonies.

They are notmeaningful and acceptable in other circumstances.Cloths used in ordinary circumstances are not common and available withdifferent styles. It is not also used forrecreational purpose being having attachment to special circumstances.

Both groups mentioned that traditional dresses lack variety and fail tomeet the varied interests ofindividuals unlike imported cloths and shoes do. Traditional cloths arein most cases prepared only in a styleappropriate for celebrating national or religious ceremonies. They arenot prepared with styles that fit to routine. I.7.5. Societal recognition of products and customers’ productpreferenceThe attachment of using foreign clothes and shoes with the achievementof better status has statisticalsignificant association with product preferences as depicted in Table1.2a X2(1, N=367) =92.

71, p=0.000. As shownin Table 1.7, of the total 33.8% respondents who perceived that usingforeign products (shoes and cloths) help themto be highly prestigious, 33% preferred to buy foreign products over itslocal substitutes. Those who perceived thatusing foreign imported shoes and/or clothes help to be sociallyprestigious preferred foreign products 524.18 timesmore likely than those who criticize as it is false attachment (95% CI39.98 and 6871.

8).I.7.6. The perceived quality of foreign product and its preference overdomestic onesMajority 58.

3% of respondents agreed that imported products (shoes andcloths) have higher quality thanlocal ones. Almost all (91.6 %) of those respondents consider thequality of the product for decision of buying.However, the remaining 41.

7% of total respondents argued with the betterquality of domestic shoes and clothes,29.2% of them preferred to buy local products. The Chi-square outputconfirmed the statistical significantassociation of perception of better quality of imported shoes and clothsand buying preferences of respondents forforeign products X2(1, N=367) =128.

93, p=0.000 (see in Table 10). This finding wasconfirmed and strengthened bythe finding of binary logistic regression stating respondents perceivingimported products as of superior qualityprefer to buy foreign products 24.25 times more likely than those whodid not agree with the perceived preferablequalities of those imported products (95% CI 6.

31 and 93.17) havingallowed other variables in the model.I.7.7. Cultural conformity and product preferenceProducts conformity to the values, norms and ideologies of one?s owncommunity has a statisticalsignificant association with customer preference: X2(5, N=367) =125.2, p=0.

000 (see in Table 1.2a).Those deviatedfrom the life styles of the local community were found to have highlyinclined to buying foreign shoes and clothesof culturally different styles.I.7.8. The attachment of quality with the origin and price of theproductCustomers consider product origin as a manifestation of quality anddurability. If a country has a reputationof superior quality of a specific product, it creates better image evenfor other products of the country as well.

Onerespondent conceded that all foreign imported products are always ofhigher quality than products produced bydomestic industries in Ethiopia. Most of the respondents also claimedthat products of developed countries are ofhigh quality, durable and suited to current fashion preferred by thosehighly prestigious individuals.Majority of respondents indicated that they preferred to buy expensiveclothes and shoes with theperception that high priced shoes or/and cloths boast high quality thanthose low priced products.

It was supportedwith the claims of Ismail1et.al, (2012) “Since consumers usuallyassociate the price of the brand with its quality, abrand priced too low is generally perceived as a low quality product andpreferred less than higher price products.”I.8.

Customers’ product awareness and preference of buyingAs indicated in the Table 1.13, statistically significant mean averagevariation was noticeable in the meanaverage for awareness levels for the impacts of using locally producedproducts between those customers whoinclined to foreign imported products and domestic products.Independent t-test analysis in Table 1.11 and 1.12shows that respondents who are inclined for local products had asignificantly higher mean score (M = 3.

96) in theirlevels of awareness on the overall significances of using locallyproduced products versus with (M=3.43) levels forthose who are inclined to foreign products t (364.76)=6.73, p=0.00 (equal variance not assumed since Levene?sp<.05).

IV.ConclusionAnd RecommendationsI.10.ConclusionInthe condition of having a chance of buying only one among the two alternativesof products (foreignimportedand domestic products), majority (63.8%) of the respondents inclined to useforeign imported products.

Morethan half (58.3%) of the respondents perceive that imported products are morequalified thandomesticones. Almost all (91.6 %) of respondents consider the quality of the productfor decision of buying.Perceivedforeign product quality has statistically significant association with itspreferability in the market. Of thetotalrespondents, 334 (91%) consider the function of the product for decision ofbuying.

The place of manufactureofboth shoes and clothes is also considered by 83.4% of the respondents ascriterion for buying.Thoughthey were less in proportion, 38.4% of total respondents were found to be lessproud on theirculturaltraditions and did not intend to use shoes and clothes produced by localindustries. Being proud in one?sowntradition has statistically significant association with preference of buyinglocal dress, shoes and other productsX2(1, N=367) =130.

14,p=0.000. Tendency of conformity to the life styles of one?s own community hasstatisticalsignificantpositive association with preference of buying and using locally produced shoesand clothes X2(5,N=367)=125.

2, p=0.000. Attachment of imported products with better public acceptancehas also positiverelationshipwith preference of imported products over domestic ones X2(1, N=367) =92.71,p=0.000. 33.8% ofrespondentsused foreign imported products with the mere perception that they could helpthem to be sociallyrecognizedand thus become members of those who are perceived as prestigious.

Gender,attachment of product quality with products import nature, residentialbackground, education level,andsocietal recognition of using imported products determined product preferenceof customers with EXP(B) of0.173,24.25,0.001, and 524.18 respectively.

Gender has statistical significantassociation with inclination of buyingforeignimported or domestic cloths and shoes): X2 (1, N=367) = 9.17,p=0.002. Of the total 41.1% femalerespondents,30% inclined to use shoes or/and cloths imported from outside. Male respondentsare relatively betterinusing domestic products with 33.8 % out of the total 58.9% respondents inclinedto foreign imported shoes andcloths.

The association between age and product preference of respondents was highlysignificant: X2(3, N=367)=87.78,p=0.000. 54.2% of respondents from the total of 78.2% youth with the age range18-35, prefer foreignproductsover domestic ones. All of respondents whose age is greater than 45 prefer touse locally produced shoesandclothes.

Out of total 89.1% respondents of urban background, 59.9% inclined forimported clothes and shoes.

Oppositely,of the total 10.9% rural respondents, the majority 7.1% prefer to use locallyproduced shoes and clothes.Residentialarea has statistical significant association with product preference. Buyingpreference of foreignproducts(shoes and cloths) increase with better educational level X2(4, N=367) =80.4,p=0.

000. Page 9 Determinantsof Foreign Products’ Preference Over Local Products: The Case of Shoes or/andClothwww.iosrjournals.org58| PageThisempirical study enabled to identify the product preferences of Arada and Piazzashoes and/or cloth shopconsumersin Gondar Town. It was helpful to show the attitudes and perceptions of thelocal people towardsdomesticand foreign products. The study gave an insight on the awareness levels ofcustomers on costs of buyinglocallysubstituted foreign imported goods on the cultural identity of the localpeople, development of tourismindustry,exploitation of local resources, development of domestic industries, GDP of thecountry and livingstandardof the local people. It fills the knowledge gap in the socio-economic anddemographic determinants ofproductpreference (foreign or domestic products).

Additionally, the out of this studywill be utilized in providingfieldbased and practical information for the researchers and the University ofGondar in strengthening communityserviceprograms and teaching being supplementary pillars in higher institutions.I.11.RecommendationsHavingsignificant load of determining products? preference, product quality, which isless associated withproductsproduced in local industries, should be enhanced. Since foreign products aresocially accepted and havebecomesource of better prestige than local products, awareness raising programs onthe social and religious valuesofdomestic products should be promoted.

Awareness raising programs should beenhanced in improving theunderstandingof the society on the nature of both type of products and significance of usingshoes and clothsproducedby local industries.Infulfilling the demands of all age groups and determining product?s significancefor different contexts,emphasisshould be given to increase product varieties, quality, and fashionsuitability. Local industries should begivenfinancial and technical support in improving their capacity of producingproducts having competitive qualities,fashionand varieties considering the demands of local customers.Tounderscore the contribution of conformity of individuals to the culture of thelocal community,enculturationof the new generation with local values is demanding. The reason of strongattachment of youthsespeciallyyouth females and urban residents with foreign imported products requiresdetailed qualitativeinvestigation.The demand and reason of foreign inclination of those groups should beconsidered for intervention.Customersshould be selective and prioritize the functional aspects of products andconsider thecontributionsof using local products for the future competitiveness of local industries andpreservation ofindigenousidentity markers of a nation.Table1.3athe output of Binary Logistic Regression 

x

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