What is the impact of xenophobia on consumers’ predisposition toward foreign products?

Chiara Framondino & Levina Manino

Student thesis: Master thesis


Western societies have recently registered a rise of xenophobic attitudes, mainly due to the sociological and cultural changes happened in the last few years. Italy has become one of the main destinations for immigrants from non-European countries, and this has caused several issues among the population. Despite the vast research carried out in psychological and sociological fields to investigate which are the causes and the origins of xenophobia, little is known about it in the context of international marketing and there are still gaps in the understanding of the concept and its effects on consumers. The overall image that emerges from literature shows that Xenophobia has a direct impact on people’s behavior and their personal characteristics. However, for marketing managers operating nowadays in multicultural social contexts, it is relevant to understand the role that xenophobia plays when it comes to foreign products’ evaluation and purchasing behavior. The evaluation of the economic, political and social situation in Italy, which is unfavorable on many fronts, offers a background for the authors to build a model that investigates xenophobia. To address this, the research question What is the impact of xenophobia on consumers’ predisposition towards foreign products? has been used as a guide to conduct the research. Thus, building on the information on the Italians’ generally negative perception of the economy and conceptualizing their cultural openness’ degree, the impact on the Xenophobia’s level is evaluated. Further, consumers’ xenophobia is identified as a driver for both their personal evaluation of foreign products and their purchasing intentions. The results found that xenophobia is negatively influenced by both people’s cultural openness and their perception of the economy, and they also showed that Italian consumers are affected by xenophobia when they purchase foreign products. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the concept of xenophobia in a marketing context, demonstrating how consumers, who are impacted by their negative attitudes towards immigrants, will negatively evaluate and will avoid buying foreign products. Moreover, valuable implications are provided for both companies and consumers, and the results found in this research open up new paths to analyze xenophobia in future studies.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages154
SupervisorsAlexander Josiassen & Florian Kock