Are Consumers Willing to Pay More for a “Made in” Product? An Empirical Investigation on “Made in Italy”

Lucio Cappelli, Fabrizio D’Ascenzo, Luisa Natale, Francesca Rossetti, Roberto Ruggieri, Domenico Vistocco
(2017) Sustainability, 9(4), 556

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The paper aims to explore consumer behavior towards “Made in” products in order to determine the associated quality and value-attributes related to the purchasing intention of consumers. In particular, the article presents the comments and results deriving from an empirical investigation on “Made in Italy”. The research questions addressed are: (1) Does recognition really exist in terms of qualitative characterization of “Made in Italy” products? And if yes; (2) Does willingness to pay a “premium price” for such products exist in quantitative terms? The study is characterized by two phases. From a theoretical standpoint, the main literature on the topic is presented through the identification and deepening of the scientific strand of reference, such as the Country of Origin, the Country Image and the Brand Image, placing them in a broader context on Willingness to Pay. From an experimental standpoint, the research group investigates the existence and the type of relationship between the perception of quality and the willingness to pay for “Made in Italy” products. The summarized main findings show (1) “Made in Italy” is well established as a conceptual category in the minds of consumers; and (2) there is a significant “premium price” recognized by consumers for “Made in Italy” in the three sectors analyzed (food, fashion and furnishings). The “premium price” is not homogeneously recognized for the various product sectors analyzed, although for all the sectors the most commonly encountered value is relative to 10–30%.