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Country’s image could influence product purchases, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Consumers are willing to pay more for a product that comes from a country with a favorable image, according to a new study.

In an article appearing this month in the American Marketing Association’s Journal of International Marketing, study authors said they asked participants — college students from Germany — in four different experiments about their willingness to purchase a brand from a different countries. For example, the authors found that participants were willing to purchase Evian water and Nike products from France and the United States, respectively, and were willing to pay more for them, compared with such nations and Turkey and South Korea. The authors also noted, however, the price differential became less substantial the more familiar consumers are with the brand in question, regardless of where the brand originates.

These findings, the AMA said, could help marketers with their pricing decisions and highlight attributes that could boost profit, while at the same time consider the impact on price and consumers’ willingness if products are made in a a country with a less favorable image.

"Our findings show that consumers not only prefer and assign a higher value to branded products from a country of origin with a favorable country image but also are willing to spend more money to obtain them," study authors Nicole Koschate-Fischer, Katharina Oldenkotte and Adamantios Diamantopoulos said.

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When it comes to shopping at grocery and drug stores, mobile promotions held in higher regard over brand loyalty

BY Allison Cerra

BOSTON — Nearly 75% of smartphone-owning consumers would switch brands if they were offered real-time mobile promotions delivered to their smartphones while shopping in a grocery or drug store aisle, according to a new survey.

“Mobile Shopping Survey Series, Part 2: CPG Shopping Behavior,” the second in a three-part survey series from AisleBuyer, found that while nearly three-quarters of shoppers would make a brand switch, the least brand-conscious demographic were those ages 25 to 34 years, with 82% willing to switch brands if they received a mobile offer for a competing product while in the store. Additionally, 90% of shoppers in this demographic expressed interest in receiving instant offers for the things they already were shopping for through a grocery or drug store-based mobile shopping application.

AisleBuyer also found that purchase decisions made by smartphone-touting shoppers are influenced by such factors as price/everyday low value (76%); promotions/getting the most for their money (58%); coupon availability (51%); brand loyalty (38%); generic or store-brand availability (26%); and new products from existing or emerging brands (22%).

“For years, brands have relied on traditional in-store shopper marketing tactics such as endcap displays, dump bins and sampling programs to influence the purchase decisions that are being made in the store aisle. But today’s shopper has become increasingly tech savvy, and brands need to adapt their age-old strategies to remain competitive in our new online world,” AisleBuyer CEO Andrew Paradise said. “Given that a majority of shoppers enter stores with only rough shopping lists, they are incredibly impressionable when they are in the aisle. As brand marketers look for new ways to feature their products when shoppers are considering the competition, they should look no further than something consumers already have in hand — their smartphones.”

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U.S. retail sales continue to rise through February

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Retail sales continue to rise for 2012 as the U.S. Census Bureau reported results of February sales on Tuesday.

U.S. retail and food services sales for February, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $407.8 billion, an increase of 1.1% from the previous month and 6.5% above the year-ago period. Retail trade sales were up 1.1% from last month and 6.3% above last year.

Looking across retail categories, adjusted sales at grocery stores increased 0.3% to roughly $52.3 billion. Health and personal care stores held steady at $23.2 billion. Retail sales for drug stores and pharmacies were not recorded; however, sales experienced a slight gain from December to January (about $19.3 billion).

Commenting on the results, the National Retail Federation said that demand is turning wants into needs, which has helped the economy experience an upswing, despite the uncertainty of how gas prices will influence spending in the coming months.

“Though February is typically a month for consumers to stay home and wait for spring, shoppers this year took advantage of mild weather to get a head start on outdoor projects and warm weather apparel,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While February sales certainly present continued reason for optimism, retailers are paying close attention to rising gasoline prices, which are forcing millions of our customers to spend a significant portion of disposable income filling their gas tanks.”

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