Research Insights 7.3 Consumer Animosity

International Market Development

Source: Riefler, P., and Diamantopoulos, A. (2007). Consumer animosity: a literature review and a reconsideration of its measurement. International Marketing Review, 27(1), 87–119.

Abstract: Purpose - Consumer animosity has gained considerable attention in international marketing literature as a determinant of foreign product purchase behaviour. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: first, a state-of-the-art review of consumer animosity research is presented and specific issues for future research on consumer animosity are raised. Second, potential problems associated with the measurement of consumer animosity are highlighted and an alternative perspective for operationalizing the construct is proposed. Design/methodology/approach - First, a critical literature review on empirical consumer animosity studies is undertaken. Second, exploratory empirical results are presented, based on unprompted questioning, to identify both targets of animosity by Austrian consumers and underlying reasons for such animosity. Third, a MIMIC model overcoming the shortcomings of the current operationalizations of the consumer animosity construct is proposed. Findings - The exploratory study on Austrian consumers demonstrates that animosity targets of consumers cannot be considered as being given, i.e. consumers differ in their animosity targets, and there may be a number of (different) reasons causing animosity feelings such as economic, political, religious or personal. Originality/value - This paper reveals a set of problematic issues in current consumer animosity research and offers concrete approaches to overcome the latter. In particular, a formative measurement approach consistent with the conceptual definition of the construct is suggested and described.


This article offers a systematic review of an important stream of research on the determinants of foreign purchase behaviour. Scholars have noticed how international crises between countries stemming from political, economic, or military causes can lead to feelings of animosity against a target nation. These feelings of animosity can affect products originating from the target country, with consumers rejecting the foreign offerings associated with the disliked nation. For example, some Chinese consumers feel resentful towards Japan for historical reasons (that is, war) and tend to avoid purchasing Japanese brands. Country animosity poses difficult challenges for marketers who need to decide how to handle this negative bias. One solution would be to avoid positioning the offering on any associations related to its country of origin. In cases in which this is not possible, firms need to consider communication campaigns and local investment to improve the perception of the company irrespective of any negative country-of-origin association.