Consumer behaviors vary greatly from country-to-country, even when looking at the most developed of countries. Therefore, it makes sense that the consumer behaviors between developed and developing countries will differ even more. This can be for any number of reasons, including cultural beliefs, education level, and economic situations.
The information that this article is delving into particularly concerns trends, these are not always particularly inherent in either economically developed or economically developing countries. Here are just some of the notable differences in consumer behaviors between developed and developing countries.
Valuing Culture & Locality
When it comes to advertising for products, economically developed countries prefer that products stand out from other products. However, when you look at economically developing countries, this is not always case. Rather, economically developing countries have a preference for product advertisements that play on their local and cultural values and traditions.
This comes as no surprise, and when we look at any marketing effort it’s important to develop messaging and communication that is relevant to the particular audience of concern. Consequently when we are engaging markets with different values and beliefs, it’s important to account for the attitudes, social organizations and aesthetics inherent within that market, in order to ensure a better reception by that market.
The belief that one’s values are more sustainable and better than another—is much more common moreso in economically developing countries than their economically developed counterparts. These countries consider products from other countries to be things that can harm not just their society, but their workforce as well, where local businesses may be unable to keep up with the competition.
This means that they are more willing to buy from their own culture in spite of quality or merit. In economically developed countries, however, where higher incomes levels and higher general education are present consumers buy their products based primarily on the price, quality, and durability, ie; the merit of the item.
Now the things that determine consumer ethnocentrism varies from society to society. In fact you can find consumer ethnocentrism even in economically developed countries in addition to economically developing countries. However the general trend follows according to the summarizations above.
Westernized countries have made efforts to connect with the younger generation in developing countries, and succeeded—even in countries where westernized cultures are extremely disliked. You can confirm this by how popular Coke or Pepsi is, or many of the various products such as iPhones and other articles that are aspired to and coveted by the younger generation. However, these same developed countries may still be unreceptive to the values and ideas of the developing countries they try to reach because, for them, these countries have inferior values that do not match with their existing beliefs.
The values and idea of other cultures are a differentiated system that works to guide that particular society towards its goal and it functions accordingly. In the same way that the value and ideas of westernized culture functions, it’s the same way that you’ll find its in developing countries.
A successful marketing effort involves integrating the believes and ideas of the culture of concern within the marketing effort, appreciating its particular function. Without the appreciation of the values and beliefs of the culture of concern as a function, evaluative dissonance can present structural problems with the marketing effort that fully escapes analysis due to being blind to it.
Individualistic Vs Community
Inhabitants in developed countries tend to be very individualistic and value their independent values and beliefs more than those of a culture as a whole. This is generally the case in certain western developed countries like the United States although in Europe you do find more of a collective culture.
On the other side, in general, inhabitants of developing countries, inhabit cultures that are more focused on the community as a whole, rather than just themselves. However community focus isn’t limited to developing countries, in fact it can be found in many developed European countries.
On the whole, the trend follows that the individualistic strain tends to manifest in western developed countries primarily the United States, and the community approach manifests in developing countries.
Valuation of Goods
Unlike in developed countries, high inflation makes it virtually impossible for consumers in developing countries to focus on quality when making their purchases. Oh for instants, and iPhone may not be valued in the same way as in the United States or in other western countries. Simply because a product of the iPhone is so overpriced that economically it is prohibitive. However there are other alternatives that can be better attained, and within those set of attainable products, their valuation can then most likely incorporate many of the valuation functions as in other economically developed countries.
Because of this, they use other means to determine the quality of the products available on the market, while also searching for the most affordable options available. Whereby in westernd developed countries, consumers can simply rely on the price of an item to determine quality, generally.
Because of this shortcut in decision making a product or service can generally position itself as higher quality simply by commanding a higher price than the competition. Now in a situation like this a particular product or service generally will try to differentiate itself through other means perhaps through better customer service or other salient features.
Difference in Education
Consumers in developing countries may not always a particular education, like their developed country counterparts. Due to these differing education levels, the consumers from developing countries are not as bothered by the way they dispose of used products, which leads to poor environmental conditions. On the other hand, developed countries place a lot of attention on proper disposal, due to their high environmental consciousness.
However, this is not always the case. In countries such as the United States where there is a high level of education, recycling products and disposing of products is done to such a poor state that we create a lot of the environmental conditions that plague the world. In writing content of this nature, it is sometimes difficult to delineate between one and the other especially. At the bottom of it, it comes down to awareness, and not so much education. On top of that it also comes down to willingness, for instance in the case of the United States, there just is no willingness towards recycling or a particularly sustainable form of living, in general. And so a marketing effort accounting for the education of a particular population, should also look at the willingness of that particular population to engage in a particular behavior or move towards a particular action.
These are just some of the differences that one can find when it comes to consumer behaviors in both developed and developing countries. While some of these differences may not seem that big, they do have a major impact on the buying habits of residents. They can even have a big effect on the ability of western companies to find success, should they try to enter the market of a developing country where they may not be as welcomed by the public.