The myth of China as a single market - the influence of personal value differences on buying decisions

Xin An Zhang, Nicholas Grigoriou, Ly Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


China is a large heterogeneous market with diversified consumer behaviour in different regions. This study aims to examine personal value differences between consumers in China's inland and coastal regions, and further examine their influence on retail buying decisions. Data are collected from coastal cities (Shanghai and Guangzhou) and inland cities (Chengdu and Harbin) using the matched sampling method. Statistical analyses reveal that China's coastal consumers are more individualist in their value priorities than inland consumers, while inland consumers are more collectivist than coastal consumers. As a consequence of these value differences, we find that functional product attributes are more important to coastal consumers than to inland consumers, while social attributes appeal more to inland consumers than to coastal consumers. This study adds to the body of knowledge of marketing in China by contrasting coastal-inland consumer buying decisions as influenced by within-country values variation, and has implications for both academics and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-402
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Market Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2008

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