Purpose – In a constantly changing and increasingly globalised world, religions still play a significant role in influencing social and consumer behavior. The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual model that explores the link between religious beliefs and consumers' boycotts towards particular products. Certain important concepts are linked to boycott, these include: conspicuous consumption of global brands, animosity and country of origin. Design/methodology/approach – First, a critical literature review on empirical consumer animosity, conspicuous consumption, religion, and consumption studies is undertaken. Second, qualitative techniques are used to collect the primary data. This is undertaken with reference to the case study of boycotting of the international Danish brands in Saudi Arabia, in order to highlight the relative emphasis of each of the factors that may influence consumer purchase behaviour of global brands. Findings – The findings of this study show that there is a strong relationship and a clear link between religiosity in Arabic/Islamic collectivist cultures and consumer behaviour (mainly boycotting). It also shows that consumers in such societies are collectively influenced by these factors when formulating their purchase decisions, particularly for international brands. Research limitations/implications – The sample was chosen from Saudi students living/studying in the UK. Hence, caution should be applied when generalising across other cultures. A future, larger‐scale survey using questionnaire would be useful to confirm qualitative results drawn from this study. The findings of this paper offer pivotal implications for decision makers and the managers of those multinational companies who are interested in the Middle Eastern market. Originality/value – As a result of the increasing gap and cultural conflict between the Western and Muslim worlds, many international companies are negatively affected by the changes in the international environment, which is reflected in consumer behaviour. This is particularly highlighted when these events are related to religious issues. Although the consumer boycott phenomenon has existed for more than a century, only recently has it gained more popularity and motivated researchers to acknowledge it from a marketing/managerial perspective. Also, the paper offers guidance for future research in a field of research that is still in its infancy.
Journal of Islamic Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 22, 2012
Keywords: Saudi Arabia; Middle East; Consumer behaviour; Country of origin; Beliefs; Boycott; Religiosity; Collectivist cultures; Conspicuous consumption
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