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Doctoral student writing

Country of origin effect on the retailing industry

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


In general, country of origin is defined as ‘Made in [..]’ (Parkvithee and Miranda, 2012), refer to the place where the product was manufactured. However, the concept of country of origin is constructed with several other dimensions such as country of parts, country of design and country of brand origin. This is “in response to the evolving global economy, where Made in [country name] label, no longer fully corresponds to the product and/or brand’s country name” (Rashid et al., 2016, p. 230). In other words, a product may be manufactured in one country, the brand origin can be another country and design and parts can be in a completely different country. However, country of origin is still deemed as an effective branding tool, as consumers evaluate the quality of the product based on the place of manufacture, or the origin of the brand.

In part, the country of origin impact on consumers vary, depending on the type of market, type of product, associating with cultural factors, personal knowledge and stereotypical perceptions, and is also linked with emotional, expressive and symbolic factors (Aiello et al., 2009; Fionda and Moore, 2009; Verlegh and Steenkamp, 1999). As a result, country of origin has drawn many researchers attention (e.g. Bilkey and Nes, 1982; Insch and McBride, 1998; Parkvithee and Miranda, 2012). For example, Thakor and Kohli (1996) examined county of brand origin and brand image, suggesting that consumers may have limited knowledge about the origin of the brand (Rashid et al., 2016). In addition to this, authors have examined different dimensions of COO, such as Hamzaoui and Merunka (2006) and Insch and McBride (1998) investigated the effect of country of design and country of manufacturing, whilst Chao (1993), and Ha-Brookshire (2012) examined country of parts and other COO effects.
Very recently, authors have also contributed industry perspectives on country of origin, with particular emphasis on the UK fashion industry (e.g. Rashid et al., 2016; Rashid and Barnes, 2017), adding knowledge in relation to branding implication and re-shoring of manufacturing back to the UK.

However, there is still gap in the knowledge from both consumers and industry perspective, in relation to manufacturing and branding with specific reference to both travel and fashion businesses. For example, Thomas Cook has recently gone out of the business, which may have resulted several stereotypical views regarding the economical issues that may be taking place in to the UK, along with the lack of resources, and the impact of political implications. This may also have implications for branding ‘British Made’.

From a fashion perspective, many fashion brands are closing stores and becoming more e-tailers with the likes of Fire-Trap. Fire-Trap was originally owned by USC, but USC has been bought by another investor, thereby resulting ambiguity on the corporate brand identity and the brand origin.

To investigate the country of origin ‘effect’, previous studies have mainly used the quantitative approach, to measure consumer-oriented research (e.g. Acharya and Elliott, 2001; Samiee et al., 2005; Insch and McBride, 2004). Although, very recently, authors (e.g. Rashid et al., 2016; Rashid and Barnes, 2017; Genc and Bayraktaroglu, 2017) have also used the qualitative approach, to understand the industry and/or consumers perspectives in different business context.

Consequently, this study can use a combination qualitative techniques: observation, projective technique, case study and/or in-depth interviews to gain rich insight into the perception, motivation and attitude.


Acharya, C. and Elliott, G. (2001) “An Examination of the Effects of “Country-of-Design” and “Country-of Assembly” on Quality Perceptions and Purchase Intentions”. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 9(1), pp.61–75.

Bilkey, W.J. and Nes, E. (1982) “Country-of-Origin Effects on Product Evaluations”. Journal of International Business Studies, 13(1), pp.89–100.

Chao, P. (1998) “Impact of country-of-origin dimensions on product quality and design quality perceptions”. Journal of Business Research, 42(1), pp.1–6.

Fionda, A.M. and Moore, C.M. (2009) “The anatomy of the luxury fashion brand”. Journal of Brand Management, 16(5-6), pp.347–363.

Genc, B., and Bayraktaroglu, A. (2017) Exploring the Country of Origin Effect: A Qualitative Analysis of Turkish Consumption Practices. in Russell W. Belk (ed.) Qualitative Consumer Research (Review of Marketing Research, Volume 14) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.25 – 50.

Ha-Brookshire, J.E. (2012) “Country of parts, country of manufacturing, and country of origin consumer purchase preferences and the impact of perceived prices”. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 30(1), pp.19–34.

Hamzaoui, L. and Merunka, D. (2006) “The impact of country of design and country of manufacture on consumer perceptions of bi-national products’ quality: an empirical model based on the concept of fit”. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 23(3), pp.145– 155.

Insch, G.S. and McBride, J.B. (1998) “Decomposing the country-of-origin construct: An empirical test of country do design, country of parts and country of assembly”. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 10(4), pp.69.

Parkvithee, N. and Miranda, M.J. (2012) “The interaction effect of country-of-origin, brand equity and purchase involvement on consumer purchase intentions of clothing labels”,   Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 24(1), pp.7–22.

Rashid A. and Barnes L. (2017) Country of Origin: Reshoring Implication in the Context of the UK Fashion Industry. In: Vecchi A. (eds) Reshoring of Manufacturing. Measuring Operations Performance. Springer, Cham. ISBN: 978-3-319-58883-4

Rashid. A., Barnes., L. and Warnaby, G. (2016) “Management perspectives on country of origin”. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 20(2), pp. 230-244.

Verlegh, P.W.J. and Steenkamp, J.B.E.M. (1999) A Review and Meta-Analysis of Country-of-Origion Research. Journal of Economic Psychologic, 20, pp.521–546


Dr Arooj Rashid

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Arooj Rashid