Do South Africans really prefer South African products?

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by ConsultaPanel Team, 02 Jul 2014

Do South Africans really prefer South African products? Read the results of this market research here.

One of our market researchers, Lerana Jacobs, recently presented an insightful research paper at the annual SAMRA (South African Market Research) conference, held in June in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

The presentation, entitled Patriotic Sentiment: Do South Africans really prefer South African products? , focused on a field of research that hasn’t really been explored much before. While lots of patriotic sentiment studies have been done in other countries, few research companies have established how loyal South Africans feel towards local brands.

Ms. Lerana Jacobs

“The question I wanted to answer was whether there is a link between patriotic sentiment and buying local? The results should assist marketers to ascertain whether patriotic sentiment should be used as a key driver in marketing local food and beverages,” explains Jacobs.

From a marketing perspective it is essential to understand why South Africans choose and consume certain food and beverages over others. When designing marketing strategies, it is very important to understand what the purchase intention of South Africans are, when it comes to local products and to know whether patriotic sentiment contribute to these intentions.

Consumers may not always be able to express their wants and the underlying motivations thereof but it is of critical importance to understand how they perceive local products, what influences their purchase intentions and how they make product choices.

“Having the answers to these questions will help to prevent an organisation from spending time and money on developing a product with a low chance of success,” adds Jacobs.

The top ten South African food and beverage brands were Coca-Cola, Woolworths, Koo, Mrs H.S. Ball’s, All Gold, Nando’s, Castle, Clover, Nestlé and Pick n Pay and Simba. 

South Africans’ perceptions of locally produced / manufactured food and beverages

It is important for the researcher to establish what South Africans’ perceptions are of locally produced/manufactured food and beverages, therefore respondents were asked why they chose the top 3 South African food and beverages brands that they did. This part of the survey allowed for qualitative data collection. The figure below indicates the different perceptions South Africans have when it comes to locally produced/manufactured food and beverages:

Jacob’s research also tested South Africa’s level of awareness regarding the national “buy local” campaign. The results show that 93.20% of the respondents who completed the survey are aware that South Africa’s ‘buy-local’ campaign’s name is Proudly South African. Therefore there is a high level of awareness with regards to the campaign name. Other buy local brands, however, didn’t generate as much brand recognition.

What influences South Africans’ buying decisions?

Respondents of the survey said they buy food and beverages that they’re familiar with (despite the product’s country of origin); they stick to their favourite brands irrespective of where it is produced and it’s important for respondents to know where the products they buy originate from. They disagreed with the statement that they would buy local food and beverages even if it costs more.

“The research, which was done on a CETSCALE, showed that the patriotic sentiment value is 25.45, which is an indication that South Africans are not highly ethnocentric,” explains Jacobs before adding that ethnocentric consumers believe that buying foreign products, if identical products are locally available is wrong and unpatriotic.

Positive conclusions that can be drawn from the research include that South Africans believe that local food and beverages are of the same high quality as imported products; they believe local products are as health and nutritious as imported products and that local food and beverages are reasonably inexpensive compared to imported products.

“There are many benefits to buying local, such as job creation and economic growth. Be a South African hero – buy local,” concludes Jacobs.


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