Journal of Consumer Behaviour

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Understanding consumers' purchasing behavior of ethnically disparate products


Recent market trends in the USA suggest that an increasing number of consumers are purchasing products associated with disparate ethnic cultures. According to previous research, such behavior is influenced by the consumers' tendency to seek diversity. However, we argue that the drivers of the behavior is yet to be fully identified due to the lack of studies that investigate the specific behavior as a separate phenomenon. That is, most previous studies make no distinction between ethnically congruent and ethnically disparate products, but rather focus on products associated with an ethnic culture in general. Accordingly, we utilize the consumption value theory to develop a model for understanding the consumption of ethnically disparate products. The model is tested by presenting 581 participants with a survey questionnaire that includes a scenario associated with either the Asian culture, the Latin American culture, or the African culture. Structural equation modeling supports the model and suggests that the consumption behavior is influenced by not only the consumers' diversity seeking tendency, but also the consumers' attitude toward the ethnic culture associated with the product, and the value discrepancy between the consumers' own ethnic culture and the ethnic culture associated with the product. Additional tests further show that these effects are moderated by the ethnic‐embeddedness of the product. Implications of the findings for research and practice are discussed.

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