Consumer products are a global concept. However, as anyone with even the smallest amount of travel experience will know, travelling just a small distance can result in a completely different set of product offerings. The short journey from England to France highlights this perfectly. In Dover you can walk into a store and buy a wide range of energy drinks. Once in Calais, getting a carbonated caffeine fix is practically impossible. Such is the difference in product offerings between countries, several consumer psyches are created.
Differing Perceptual Product Value
The allure of the seemingly basic products of one nation of consumers is an international luxury to another. Products sampled or viewed abroad often garner high consumer affinity, driven by the likelihood that the experience may have been a one-off or the product may symbolise positive emotions such as travel experiences. However, to the consumers who use their domestic products daily, such goods attain a hygiene factor – often being taken for granted. One market’s rubbish is another market’s gold dust.
Geographical Barriers Increase Demand
Natural human instinct is often to want what we cannot have. Nothing is more restricting to fulfilling consumer needs than a vast geographical distance. Often therefore, it is not the international product which consumers want, but the fact that they cannot have it driving the underlying demand.
Foreign products are cool. Being ‘international’ is trendy. Is this driving consumer appeal for products sampled abroad? Do Brits visiting Canada buy overpriced ice hockey shirts because they look good? Possibly. But maybe they buy them because they are Canadian produce. Going to another country and sampling local goods is fashionable. Going half way round the world and buying the same things available in your local shops is not.
What has this all created? Unknowingly to brands affected by this phenomena, it means that brands which are physically centred in a few markets actually have an emotional global presence. Their products are on the radars of consumers who have visited their home markets, even if they are not present on consumer’s local shelves. It has also created a consumer culture whereby having knowledge of foreign products and brands is fashionable. What does this mean? More consumers are trying local products when they travel in order to be a part of this culture – often driving high affinity towards such goods and creating demand which geographical boundaries mean cannot be met, but building individual identities as being ‘international consumers’.
Topics: Getting Started, Insights & Statistics, Localisation, Market Research, Product Development, and Sales & Marketing