Consumer Behavior: Purchasing Local Baby Food vs. Imported Baby Food in Ethiopia
Literature Review Description
A systematic review of the literature is provided in this chapter in order to develop informed and timely answers to the study’s guiding research questions and to confirm or refute its guiding hypothesis. In this regard, Fraenkel and Wallen (2001, p. 48) advise that, “Researchers find out what has already been written about the topic they are interested in [by] investigating the opinions of experts in the field and other research studies. Such reading is referred to as a review of the literature.” Likewise, Gratton and Jones (2003) report that a well-conducted review of the literature represents an essential part of virtually any type of scholarly research project today. For example, Gratton and Jones (2003, p. 51) note that, “No matter how original you think the research question may be, it is almost certain that your work will be building on the work of others. It is here that the review of such existing work is important.” There are also a number of valuable outcomes that can be achieved using a systematic review of the literature, including identifying gaps in the existing body of knowledge (Gratton & Jones 2013).
Purchasing Preferences: Local vs. International Brands
The definition of “perceived value” provided by Camerer and Loewenstein (2004, p. 81) states that, “Consumers get two kinds of utility from a purchase: acquisition utility and transaction utility. Transaction utility measures the perceived value of the ‘deal.’ It is defined as the difference between the amount paid and the ‘reference price’ for the good, that is, the regular price that the consumer expects to pay for this product.” A number of studies have employed the notion of perceived value conceptualized in this fashion, including a study by Salois and Reilly (2014, p. 18) who report, “There is a complicated relationship between marketing efforts (advertising) and value creation (perceived value) in generating consumer demand for and consumption of a good or service.”
Likewise, Dobre and Dragomir (2013) define the concept thusly: “Consumer perception of the value of a product/service means comparing the quality and benefits associated with the product to the sacrifices they make by paying the asked price. Perceived value is the surplus between customer’s perceived benefits and customer’s perceived costs.” Researchers have applied the perceive value concept to determine the important attributed to membership in performance art guilds (Dibble & Nelson 2015) as well as on consumer preferences for organically grown foods compared to non-organically grown foods (Shaharudin & Rizaimy 2010). Other researchers have examined perceive value along a continuum that includes several dimensions such as enhancing perceived value with added benefits or by reducing the amount of money or effort that consumers must make to obtain a good or service (Gronroos 2007). In this regard, Gronroos (2007, p. 157) notes that, “Customer-perceived value can, of course, be improved by adding benefits [and] by decreasing the sacrifice perceived by a customer, the perceived value also improves.”
These studies, together with a growing body of other evidence, confirms that perceived value is highly related to higher consumption levels and these levels are significantly influenced by appropriate advertising (Salois and Reilly 2014).Therefore, the foregoing definition of perceived value was used to evaluate the relationship between this construct and consumers’ purchase preference as discussed below.
What is the relationship between the “perceived value” and “consumers’ purchase preference?
The initial theoretical model, including independent, dependent and moderating variables of interest to the study, is presented in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1. Theoretical model guiding the study
The study’s independent variables will be discussed first below.
1. Professional Endorsement:
Definition of “professional endorsement.” According to Blackett (2001), some professions such as healthcare clinicians, are prohibited by law in most countries from publicly endorsing more medicine over another. Therefore, for these products, Blackett (2001, p. 71) advises that, “Brand advertising and promotion may not use professional endorsement.” Some studies, however, have used the term professional endorsement to refer to the manner in which experts in a field lend their support to various definitions or procedures (McKenzie 2009). Other studies have applied the term to refer to support given to various theoretical models concerning specific learning disabilities (McKenzie 2009) or expert qualifications in a field (All together now 2004). Therefore, for the purposes of this study, the term “professional endorsement” will refer to any endorsement of a baby food product by a credible authority that enhances their perceived value.
To the extent that credible authorities endorse a baby food product over another will likely be the extent to which those products have a higher perceived value compared to those that do not, ceteris paribus. Therefore to test a relationship between professional endorsement of the product and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between professional endorsement and perceived value.
Some representative dictionary definitions of “lifestyle” include the following:
The habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group (Dictionary.com 2016).
A particular way of living: the way a person lives or a group of people live (Merriam-Webster 2016).
A way of living of individuals, families (households), and societies, which they manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social, and economic environments on a day-to-day basis. Lifestyle is expressed in both work and leisure behavior patterns and (on an individual basis) in activities, attitudes, interests, opinions, values, and allocation of income. It also reflects people’s self-image or self-concept; the way they see themselves and believe they are seen by the others. Lifestyle is a composite of motivations, needs, and wants and is influenced by factors such as culture, family, reference groups, and social class (Business Dictionary 2016).
Taken together, these definitions provide a useful explanation concerning how lifestyle is viewed by different authorities. The term lifestyle has been used in different studies concerning the manner in which consumers select products and services based on their individual needs and priorities (Iwata 2006), as well as segmenting markets according to specific consumer demands (Marbury 2013). Likewise, a study by Kucukemiroglu (1997) identified a number of lifestyle dimensions among Turkish consumers that were shown to have an effect on their purchasing behaviors. In this regard, Kucukemiroglu (1997, p. 470) reports that, “Non-ethnocentric Turkish consumers tend to have significantly more favorable beliefs, attitudes, and intentions regarding imported products than do ethnocentric Turkish consumers.” Similarly, a study by Altintas and Toko (2007) examined the effects of consumer ethnocentrism on consumers’ purchase decisions for domestically produced or foreign made products. Based on their analysis of 540 Turkish consumers, Altintas and Toko (2007, p. 308) conclude that, “The most important factor in the formation of ethnocentrism is the presence of a cultural structure. Through the dynamics of culturalization, people gain the habit of doing certain things in certain ways, and develop an evaluation of other groups as false and mistaken.”
Some researchers have conceptualized lifestyle according to several dimensions, including activities, interests, opinions and demographics as shown in Table 1 below.
Representative lifestyle dimensions
Stage in life cycle
Some indication of Ethiopian lifestyles can also be discerned from the application of the cultural dimensions developed by Hofstede (2016) as set forth in Table 2 below.
Hofstede’s cultural dimensions for Ethiopia
Application to Ethiopia
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal — it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Ethiopia scores high on this dimension (score of 70) which means that people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. Hierarchy in an organization is seen as reflecting inherent inequalities, centralization is popular, subordinates expect to be told what to do and the ideal boss is a benevolent autocrat.
The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people’s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We.” In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.
Ethiopia, with a score of 20 is considered a collectivistic society. This is manifest in a close long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group. In collectivist societies offence leads to shame and loss of face, employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link), hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group, management is the management of groups.
A high score (Masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field — a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organizational life. A low score (Feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine).
Ethiopia scores 65 on this dimension and is thus a Masculine society. In Masculine countries people “live in order to work,” managers are expected to be decisive and assertive, the emphasis is on equity, competition and performance and conflicts are resolved by fighting them out.
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance.
Ethiopia received an intermediate score of 55 on this dimension.
Source: Adapted from Hofstede 2016 at https://geert-hofstede.com/ethiopia.html
Ethiopian lifestyles are also heavily influenced by the country’s ancient traditions and culture. In this regard, the analysts at the World of Expats (Ethiopia overview 2016, p. 2) emphasize that, “As a nation with a tremendous amount of antiquity, it is not surprising that Ethiopian culture reflects ancient and modern influences.” Moreover, Ethiopia is also characterized by a high level of heterogeneity in its demographic composition and the country has more than 80 ethnic groups, each of which boasts its own unique culture, customs and language (Ethiopia overview 2016). Not surprisingly the country’s long history also influences food choices: “Contemporary restaurants serve dishes with roots in pastoral and nomadic ways of life” (Ethiopia overview 2016, p. 2). A breakdown of Ethiopia’s main ethnic groups is provided in Table 3 below.
Main ethnic groups in Ethiopia
Percentage of population
Source: CIA World Factbook (2016) at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html
Consequently, it is also reasonable to posit that there is a direct relationship between “lifestyle” and “perceived value” as it applies to baby food selections. Therefore to test a relationship between lifestyle of the consumers and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between lifestyle and perceived value.
Until fairly recently, the scholarship concerning religiosity suffered from an incomplete definition of religiosity. In response to this gap, Storch and Storch (2002) identified three dimensions of religiosity: organizational, non-organizational and intrinsic. According to Storch and Storch (2002, p. 526), “Organizational religiosity is conceptualized as the frequency with which one attends religious services. Non-organizational religiosity is defined in terms of the amount of time spent in private religious activities such as prayer or meditation. Intrinsic religiosity is the degree to which one integrates his/her religiousness into their life.” Likewise, Holdcroft (2006, p. 89) also cites the lack of a universally recognized definition of religiosity but states that “religiosity is found to be synonymous with such terms as religiousness, orthodoxy, faith, belief, piousness, devotion, and holiness.”
Similar to the definition provided by Storch and Storch (2002), Holdcroft (2006) suggests that religiosity can best be conceptualized according to its five discrete dimensions, experiential, ritualistic, ideological, intellectual, and consequential. In this regard, Holdcroft (2006, p. 90) reports that, “The experiential dimension focuses on the personal faith experience, perhaps a transcendent encounter, while the ritualistic domain involves the worship experience that is involved in community.” By contrast, the ideological dimension of religiosity is “constituted by expectations that the religious will hold to certain beliefs (i.e., professed doctrines), and the intellectual dimension has to do with the expectation that the religious person will be informed and knowledgeable about the basic tenets of his faith and sacred scriptures” (i.e., history, sacraments, morality” (Holdcroft 2006, p. 90).
Currently, there are a number of religions practiced in Ethiopia, with the most prevalent being those set forth in Table 4 below.
Main religions practiced in Ethiopia
Percentage of population
Source: CIA World Factbook (2016) at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/et.html
The concept of religiosity has been used in different studies to evaluate its ameliorating effects on depression (Storch & Storch 2002), the effects of religiosity on substance abusing behaviors (Forthun & Bell 1999), and aggression levels in adolescents (Jamal & Zahra 2014). In addition, some researchers have studied the degree of religiosity on the part of consumers’ decisions to purchase products from foreign sources, a tendency that is enhanced when religious beliefs in the foreign country are compatible with the consumers’ own religion (Rahman 2012). From the latter perspective, it is reasonable to suggest that there is also a relationship between “religiosity” and “perceived value.” Therefore to test a relationship between religiosity of the consumers and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between religiosity and perceived value.
The definition of “affordability” provided by James (2012) indicates that this term generally refers to the extent to which consumers are able to purchase products and services. Various studies have examined affordability in terms of consumers’ willingness and ability to purchase durable goods (Nandamuri & Prabhakar 2012), consumers’ intention to purchase brand name goods versus counterfeit “knockoffs” (Triandewi & Tjiptono 2012), as well as consumers’ choice of various food products (Nakandala & Lau 2013). In this regard, Nakandala and Lau (2013, p. 16) report that, “For consumers with limited financial resources, both the total healthiness of the food product and the affordability are equally critical determinants in choosing basic food products.”
It is noteworthy that consumers’ selection of food items based on their affordability has become far more complicated due to the proliferation of a wider variety as well as the manner in which they are marketed. For instance, Nakandala and Lau (2013, p. 16) also point out that, “These purchase decisions are influenced by a multitude of factors including, price, nutrition knowledge and level of literacy of the purchaser, freshness of food, food beliefs, in-store stimuli and packaging.” As a result, it is also reasonable to posit that there is a relationship between “affordability” and “perceived value” for other types of food products, including baby foods. Therefore to test a relationship between affordability of the product and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between affordability and perceived value.
According to Stanton (1999), the term “availability” refers to the extent to which various products and services are available for purchase by consumers. The concept of availability as it applies to consumer products has been used to study the relationship between the availability of birth control aids and the extent to which women have been able to exert more control over their lives (The new woman consumer 2014) and consumer selections of food products based on their availability versus their scarcity. For instance, a key finding that emerged from a study by Stanton, Wiley and Wirth (2012) was that the attribute “local” was found to be a more important factor in consumers’ choice of apples compared to those brands that were “organic.” According to Stanton et al. (2012, p. 248), “There were three segments of apple consumers: those that most valued the quality of the apple, a second that was most interested in price, and a third most interested in the health and/or life style attributes such as local and organic attributes.”
This study also identified significant differences between consumers who purchased locally grown products (termed “locavores”) compared to those that did not based on outlet preferences, price sensitivity, and the characteristics of the marketing channels used to promote them (Stanton et al. 2012). According to Stanton et al. (2012, p. 248), “A trend that is capturing the attention of consumers around the world is buying local food. ‘Locavores’ are defined as people who prefer to purchase their food from local sources, typically defined as 50, 100, or 200 kilometers from home. It is not clear from any research the distance that consumers are willing to consider ‘local.'”
These findings are also noteworthy because marketers have documented the tendency for consumers to select food products that are easily available and which reflect the cultural values of the population. For example, Daneshvary and Schwer (2001, p. 19) emphasize that, “Ethnocentrism is often defined in the literature as ‘a term to describe feelings of group centrality and superiority’. Ethnocentric individuals tend to prefer their own way of life (culture) over all others. It follows that one’s own goods are preferred over goods made in other cultures.” This tendency, though, does not extend to foreign products provided they are also readily available and are regarded as possessing some superior attributes over locally produce. In this regard, a study by Kinra (2006, p. 15) found that in the Indian market, “The quality of foreign brands was perceived to be generally higher and superior to local brands. Most consumers also associated greater accessibility of foreign brands in the Indian market with better quality at lower prices.”
Although Indian consumers were also highly influenced in their food choices based on a powerful sense of nationalism and preferred domestically produced food products, they were not adverse to purchasing foreign brand names in those cases where they were viewed as being superior to locally sourced products. In some cases, Indian consumers “evaluated them higher on technology, quality, status and esteem than Indian brands, and attributed higher credibility to those countries-of-origin” (Kinra 2006, p. 15). A study by Son, Jin and George (2013) also evaluated consumer purchasing behaviors among a group of 210 Indian consumers based on the availability of foreign brands. According to Son et al. (2013, p. 434), “Attitude toward foreign brand jeans and perceived behavioral control (PBC) had greater influence on Indian consumers’ purchase intentions toward foreign brand jeans than did normative influences (i.e. subjective norm and face saving).”
Based on the foregoing, it is also reasonable to posit that there is a relationship between “availability” and “perceived value.” Therefore to test a relationship between availability of the product and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between availability and perceived value.
According to Shojee and Azman (2013), brand awareness refers to the extent to which consumers are cognizant of a particular branded product. Not surprisingly, then, one of the fundamental goals of marketing is to increase the level of brand awareness. In this regard, Shojee and Azman (2013, p. 73) note that, “To achieve the different levels of brand awareness, recognition, recall, top of the mind and dominant, brands need to make a strong association with customers.” It is also not surprising that the concept of brand awareness has been the focus of a significant amount of scholarship in recent years. Some researchers have examined the impact of conventional advertising versus Internet advertising on consumer levels of brand awareness (Chan & Leung 2015), as well as the effects of brand awareness of purchase decisions (Hatting & Russo 2012).
According to Knight (1999, p. 151), “While the importance of marketing mix variables such as price and product quality has been firmly established, the national origin of the product and the role of the image of the product’s country of origin are the subject of ongoing research.” The research to date indicates that the country of origin image that consumers link with a product or service relates both to the international reputation of the country as well as specific attributes of the product or service (Knight 1999). Beyond these findings, however, additional research is needed to help determine the precise association between country-of-origin and consumer purchase decisions (Darling & Puetz 2002).
In response to this gap in the body of knowledge, a study by Ahmed, Zbib, Sikander and Farhat (2010, p. 37) found that, “Country of origin (COO) of a product affects its evaluation by consumers. Along with COO, other factors do influence product evaluation such as the brand and the extent to which a consumer is familiar with the product, the degree of sophistication of product and the availability for imported versus home made products.” A study by Kaynak, Kucukemiroglu and Hyder (1999) also examined the effects of country of origin on product awareness levels among Bangladeshi consumers. According to Kaynak et al. (1999, p. 1221), “In recent years, consumers worldwide have been having increased access to a wide variety of products and services from other countries. . . . As a result, the significance of products’ county-of-origin images in influencing consumer behavior is increasing rapidly.”
A study by Tong and Li (2013) investigated the effect of consumer ethnocentrism and brand personality on the perceived quality and purchase intentions of 385 Chinese college students with respect to sportswear. The study by Tong and Li (2013) compared the effect of both consumer ethnocentrism and brand personality on the evaluation of product quality and purchase intention toward domestic versus foreign brands (including the country with which the brand or firm is most associated as well as the country in which the final production process occurred). The findings that emerged from this study clearly indicated the Chinese consumers’ perception of product quality and their purchase intentions were significant influenced by brand personality with respect to both foreign and domestic brands (Tong & Li 2013).
Likewise, a study by Cheah and Phau (2014) investigated the impact of economic nationalism and consumer ethnocentrism in the form of country of origin (COO) cues specifically “Made in [ … ]” and “Owned by [ … ]” on Australian consumer’s product awareness and the effects of these cues on their purchase decisions. Based on their analysis of a custom survey of 402 Perth consumers, Cheah and Phau (2014, p. 444) found that, “High levels of economic nationalism and anti-foreign sentiment were so strong that respondents did not want products that had any association with a foreign country, regardless of whether the products are directly or indirectly related to a foreign origin.” These findings indicate that awareness among Australian consumers depends in large part on how knowledgeable they are about other countries and their brands. In this regard, Cheah and Phau (2014, p. 444) conclude that, “Consumers with low product knowledge are likely to rely on extrinsic country cues to reinforce their brand evaluation, whereas consumers who are more knowledgeable are found to base evaluations on intrinsic attributes rather than extrinsic cues.”
Likewise, a study by Vida and Reardon (2008) examined the effects of country of origin on consumer purchasing behaviors. The extent to which consumers are aware of foreign brands will likely be the extent to which they will purchase them; conversely, lower levels of awareness of foreign brands typically translates into fewer purchases (Vida & Reardon 2008). Based on their survey of 704 European adult consumers, Vida and Reardon (2008, p. 34) conclude that, “Under certain circumstances, these factors may play a potent role in preference formation for domestic versus imported products.”
Consequently, it is also reasonable to posit a relationship between “awareness” and the “perceived value” of a product or service. This assertion is congruent with the findings that emerged from a study of Ethiopian consumer demand by Hattingh and Russo (2012, p. 3) who report, “African consumers demand quality products and are brand conscious, belying the view that the continent is a backwater where companies can sell second-rate merchandise. Ethiopia, with a population of more than 80 million and annual economic growth of 10% through much of the last decade, [is] expected to become a major consuming force.” Because many Ethiopians live in rural areas, increasing brand awareness is more challenging but there are a number of strategies that companies can use for this purpose. For instance, Hattingh and Russo (2012, p. 4) add that, “Rural Ethiopia’s most pressing needs provide significant opportunities for companies to build brand recognition while investing in building a future worker and consumer base.”
Some of these strategies for increasing brand awareness among rural consumers in Ethiopia include furnishing supplies and equipment and educational services designed to provide clean water sources and mosquito eradication services (Hattigh & Russo 2012). In addition, other strategies for increasing brand awareness in the rural population include “supplying or partnering with nonprofits aimed at accomplishing these ends, or engaging Ethiopian women in a door-to-door/direct sales and distribution network as Hindustan Lever has done in India” (Ethiopia’s budding consumer market 2014, p. 12).
The research to date also indicates that mainstream marketing avenues such as television and radio provide the most return on investment when targeting rural Ethiopian consumers. In this regard, the analysts at Future in Focus emphasize that, “Television and radio continue to be the mass media of urban Ethiopia, while print ads will reach only the minority of Ethiopians who are literate — although these Ethiopians are also the likely to have the greatest degree of discretionary spending” (Ethiopia’s budding consumer market 2014, p. 13). Therefore, to test a relationship between awareness of the product and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between awareness and perceived value.
The dictionary definition of “acceptability” states that this word means “the quality or state of meeting one’s needs adequately” (Merriam-Webster 2016). In this context, then, the acceptability of a product or service directly relates to how well they satisfy a consumer’s needs. The notion of acceptability has been used by researchers to evaluate the effects of brand extensions on consumer purchasing behaviors in Sri Lanka (Evangeline & Ragel 2016), consumer preferences for brand name fruits (e.g., Del Monte) compared to new brands (Mayen & Marshall 2007), and the effects of country associations on consumer purchasing preferences (Wysong & Kissel 2008). The acceptability of different food products, though, varies from country to country. For example, a study by Dogerlioglu-Demir and Tansuhaj (2010) found that, “Traditionalism had an important effect on intentions to purchase local brands in Thailand, while it did not have a very meaningful impact among Turks. Similarly, in Thailand, susceptibility affected global brand purchase intentions. However, a similar pattern was not seen among Turks.”
A study by Zandstra, de Graaf and van Trijp (2000) investigated the impact of product (a meat sauce) acceptability on a group of 105 consumers based on frequency of consumption. The subjects were divided into three groups; the first group (termed the “monotony” group) which received the same meat sauce for 10 weeks; an imposed variation group which received one of three different flavors for 10 weeks and a free choice group which was allowed to select their own preferences of the three different types of meat sauce. Based on their analysis, Zandstra et al. (2000, p. 113) add that, “Results showed a substantial increase in boredom and decline in acceptance ratings after repeated consumption. This effect was the largest for the monotony group and was least pronounced in the free-choice group, with the imposed variation group in between.” These findings indicate that repeated consumption of a given food product over time result in significant increases in boredom with that food product. In this regard, Zandstra and his associates (2000, p. 113) conclude that, “Repeated consumption of a food product only once a week at home resulted in a remarkable increase of boredom over time. The boredom effect was the largest for subjects who consistently received the same food, and was least pronounced for subjects who were allowed to choose among three different flavors of the food.”
Taken together, these studies serve to underscore the relationship between “acceptability” and “perceived value.” Therefore to test a relationship between acceptability of the product and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between acceptability and perceived value.”
A systematic analysis of the study’s moderating variables is provided below:
1. Generation Gap:
The term “generation gap” refers to the differences that exist between different generational cohorts (Giancolo 2006). This study focuses on “Generation X” versus “Millennials,” also known as “Generation Y.” Although definitions vary, Generation X generally refers to the generational cohort born between 1965 and 1981 and Generation Y generally refers to the cohort born after 1982 (Crumpacker & Crumpacker 2007). The population pyramid for Ethiopia is depicted in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2. Population pyramid for Ethiopia
Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/population / ET_popgraph%202015.bmp
As can be seen in Figure 2 above, there are approximately four times as many members of Generation Y compared to Generation X; this may be attributable in part to the country’s relatively short life expectancy rate of 61.46 years (Ethiopian people 2016). In fact, more than half of the country’s workforce is comprised of children aged 5 to 14 years (Ethiopian people 2016). The country’s age structure (as of 2015) is provided below.
0-14 years: 43.94% (male 21,900,571/female 21,809,643)
15-24 years: 19.98% (male 9,865,976/female 10,009,596)
25-54 years: 29.31% (male 14,487,280/female 14,667,179)
55-64 years: 3.88% (male 1,882,315/female 1,981,762)
65 years and over: 2.88% (male 1,289,336/female 1,572,161) (Ethiopian people 2016).
Given these significant generational numbers, it is clear that there will be some inevitable age-related differences in consumer purchasing preferences. In this regard, Giancolo (2006, p. 33) advises that, “The ‘generational’ school of thought maintains that values are imprinted for life by defining historical events that occur as people mature into adulthood.” Some indication of these types of generational differences can be seen in frugality of many older consumers compared to younger consumers. For instance, Giancolo (2006, p. 33) notes that, “The generation that grew up during the Great Depression is said to be particularly thrifty because its members experienced hard economic times. Because of the power and influence of these shared events, each generation develops a unique set of beliefs and attitudes to guide its members’ behavior.”
The effects of the generation gap have been studied to evaluate consumer music preferences (Crumpacker & Crumpacker 2007), differences in consumer debt levels (Gaus 2008) and consumer purchasing behaviors (Galupo 2008). These studies likewise highlight the relationship between “generation gap” and “perceived value.” Therefore to test a relationship between generation gap of the consumers and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between acceptability and perceived value.
For the purposes of this study, the residence of consumers will relate to their living in rural or urban regions of Ethiopia. These are important considerations because as noted above, the vast majority of Ethiopians (82%) currently live in rural regions, but the nation is also experiencing high levels of urbanization, with urban residents increasing faster than the population level (Ethiopia’s budding consumer market 2014). These trends may be attributable, at least in part, to the difficulties that are involved in the Ethiopian agricultural sector which has experienced frequent droughts and suffers from poor cultivation practices (Ethiopian economy 2016). A study by Holden and Shiferaw (2005, p. 31) found that, “Land degradation, population growth, stagnant technology, and drought threaten food security in the area. Drought or weather risk appears to have increased in recent years.”
Based on their analysis of the total impact of land degradation, population growth, market imperfections and increased risk of drought on household production, welfare and food security, Holden and Shiferaw (2003) also determined that the indirect impact of drought for Ethiopian households due to increased crop and livestock prices are greater than the direct production effects of drought. As a result, food insecurity remains a significant problem for many Ethiopians today. According to U.S. government analysts, “Although recent joint efforts by the Government of Ethiopia and donors have strengthened Ethiopia’s agricultural resilience, changes in rainfall associated with world-wide weather patterns continue to create food insecurity for millions of Ethiopians” (Ethiopian economy 2016, p. 2).
As also noted above, consumer preferences for food products are affected by a number of variables, including most especially availability, their culture and budgets. While Ethiopia has experienced sustain growth in its gross domestic product over the past decade, wages and disposable income levels remain among the lowest in the world (Ethiopian economy 2016). Consequently, it is also reasonable to posit a relationship between “residence” and “perceived value.” Therefore to test a relationship between residence of the consumers and the perceived value by customer, the following hypothesis has been developed and there is a direct relationship between residence and perceived value.”
In sum, the study’s independent variables are as follows:
1- Professional endorsement,
6- Awareness and
The study’s moderating variables are as follows:
1- Generation Gap (Generation X versus Millennial Generation)
2- Residence (Rural vs. Urban)
A mediating variable such as:
1- Perceived value
Finally, a dependent variable used by the study is as follows:
1- Consumers’ purchase preference (Buy or Not)
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