Greek consumers are showing a clear preference for domestic products rather than imports, although the price factor appears to bear an ever greater significance – which Greek producers will need to take note of. It is, after all, consumers who, via this peculiar economic patriotism of choosing Greek products, are pointing the way toward supporting the Greek economy and contributing to combating unemployment.
A survey in “Consumers and the Greek Product,” a report by professors at the Athens University of Economics and Business and the University of Patra, conducted in April and May, showed that two-thirds of Greeks (67 percent) opt for locally made products instead of imported goods. Crucially, six out of seven consumers (86.4 percent) said that when they find Greek products they choose them over imported ones, although this is slightly lower than last year’s rate of 87.24 percent.
The fact that – at least for now – price is not among the comparative advantages of Greek products is evident from the response of consumers when asked about the reasons for choosing local produce. The top incentive (for 77 percent of those surveyed) is supporting Greek production. The second is the belief that local products are superior to imported ones in terms of quality, with only 16 percent saying that they buy Greek products because they are cheaper.
The issue of quality and safety is particularly interesting as there appears to have been a shift in perceptions compared to previous years, when imported goods were considered superior to locally made ones.
The vast majority of consumers have also grasped the need for a change in the country’s production model. Five out of six people (83 percent) believe that Greece should have developed its economy more, while 90 percent insist it should have developed its agricultural sector more. After all, 84 percent say that domestic agricultural produce is one of the comparative advantages of this country and 71 percent believe that the solution to the crisis is to be found in the reform of Greek production.
“The public’s attitude toward production enterprises and those supporting them is unusually positive by Greek standards,” the researchers said in their report, adding that “this support constitutes a historic opportunity for entrepreneurship.”
The conclusion that this is “a historic opportunity” for local companies is also supported by the observation that the swing in favor of domestic goods has turned into a permanent feature in the market and is not a matter of coincidence: With 94 percent saying they will continue to buy Greek in the future, too, and 83 percent stating they will buy more Greek goods in the coming years, the benefits for the country’s economy are set to be multiple.
This consumer patriotism appears to have an even greater momentum and potential, as the majority of consumers (54.2 percent) say they have only started buying Greek in the last year, including 17 percent who did so in the last six months. The remaining 45.8 percent responded that they have been opting for Greek goods since the start of the crisis.
As a result there is a great opportunity arising for Greek enterprises that can make the most of the situation, but without using any misleading signs or flags that are only there to serve marketing purposes.