Consumers’ Emotional Bonds with Foreign Countries: Does Consumer Affinity Affect Behavioral Intentions?

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The construct of consumer affinity, which captures country-specific favorable feelings toward particular foreign countries, was recently introduced in the international marketing literature. In this study, the authors conceptually advance the consumer affinity construct and develop a measurement instrument for capturing affinity feelings. They also link consumer affinity, country image, and consumer ethnocentrism to key consumer behavior variables—namely, perceived risk and willingness to buy products from, invest in, and visit the affinity country. The findings indicate that consumer affinity is more powerful than consumers’ ethnocentric tendencies in explaining both perceived risk and willingness to buy. The results also show that consumer affinity is more influential than cognitive evaluations of a country for the majority of the behavioral outcomes considered in the study (perceived risk, visit intentions, and investment intentions). Thus, internationally active companies can benefit from leveraging consumer affinity feelings in addition to positive country images. Overall, the study emphasizes the important role of positive affect in shaping consumer behavior, thus complementing prior research that focuses exclusively on the behavioral implications of negative affect (most notably consumer animosity).