Purpose: The common market practice by foreign marketers is to sell their brands in standard or localised packaging or sometimes both in the context of Pakistan. By examining the differential influence of standard (Western) and local (Urdu) packaging on Pakistani consumers’ perceptions and choice under conspicuous and inconspicuous situations, this study aims to examine whether the localisation strategy is effective or even necessary. Design/methodology/approach: A pre-test first identified suitable products and brands. The main survey was conducted using convenience sampling in popular shopping precincts of the Lahore district in 2015. Participants first rated the packaging of hedonic and utilitarian products. After rating the packaging likeability, the respondents were asked to assume the two consumption situations. Their choice of standard versus local packaging under conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption situations for the same brand was recorded. Findings: Overall, findings suggest that for hedonic products, localisation is not an effective strategy particularly for well-known Western brands such as M&M’s. For utilitarian products, packaging localisation does not render a Western brand more competitive as consumers did not like one packaging type over the other. Mode of consumption did not change the preference for standard packaging in case of hedonic products, whereas in case of utilitarian products, the mode of consumption did moderate the results for the choice of packaging; standard packaging is chosen more often under conspicuous a situation but not under an inconspicuous situation. Research limitations/implications: The findings of this research show that indiscriminately localising the packaging of any products as they enter foreign markets may not be the most effective strategy for international marketers. Originality/value: This is first study to question the common market practice of packaging localisation and investigate the differential effects of standard versus local packaging of foreign products on consumers’ perceptions and choice under varying consumption modes.
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- Hedonic and utilitarian consumption