The Country of Origin or The Brand Image, Which One Comes First? The Study of Consumer Purchase Intention in East Malaysia

Jati Kasuma, Yusman Yacob
Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA

Amirul Adenan
Executive, Sarawak Energy Berhad

Nelson Lajuni
Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy, Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Herning Indriastuti
Faculty Economic and Business, Universitas Mulawarman

Halimin Herjanto
H-E-B School of Business and Administration, University of the Incarnate Word


This study’s main objective is to investigate the effects of a product’s brand image and its country of origin (COO) on East Malaysian consumers’ purchase intentions. Results from past studies regarding these effects were initially explored to develop early hypotheses, which formed the basis of this study. The constructs of the COO and brand image are studied to gain a better understanding of their relationships and effects on consumer purchase decision. These effects and relationships are then analysed and explored alongside the moderating variables of a product’s high and low involvement levels. A quantitative research method was used, whereby questionnaires were collected from 255 East Malaysian consumers aged 20 and above. Statistical analyses, which include descriptive statistics, correlation, and regression analysis, were used to analyse the collected data. The main results indicate that consumers put slightly more importance on the COO compared to the brand image when purchasing a product. East Malaysian consumers have been observed to put more emphasis on the COO and brand image when purchasing high-involvement products. Nonetheless, one limitation of the study has been observed in terms of the product samples that can represent the country of origin, brand image, and low and high involvement levels. This should provide the respondents with a better picture of what the study is investigating. This study attempts to understand the reasoning behind consumers’ behaviour when exposed to certain brands from particular countries of origin, which may help marketers to plan their promotional strategies, especially when entering an international market. Possible future research and marketing implications are also discussed in this study.

Keywords: Country of origin, Purchase intention, Brand images, Consumer