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Buyers favor "American names."

Electronics purchases--everything from stereo sound systems to video and personal computers--are influenced by the consumer's awareness of Japanese business practices in the U.S., and 59% of those customers say they would rather buy an American-made product. This was one of the findings of a nationwide study by The Verity Group, a Fullerton, Calif.-based company that conducts surveys relating to the consumer electronics, personal computer, and automotive industries.

"Even though the consumer electronics industry is almost totally Asian, many consumers react to names and they assume that companies with names like RCA, GE, Magnavox, and Marantz, which are French or Dutch owned, and even brand names like Sharp, Kenwood, and Pioneer, all Japanese companies, are really American," Bill Matthies, president of The Verity Group, points out.

Among respondents, 46% of television consumers, 45% of video purchasers, and 52% of home stereo buyers were aware of press reports of Japanese business practices in the U.S. Of these, 56% of television, 25% of video, and 59% of home stereo consumers would be more interested in buying American-made products as a result of such articles.

"In other words, what we commonly refer to as 'Japan bashing' is alive and well in the U.S.," Matthies indicates. "There has been a major impact on U.S. consumers as a result of these stories and, because of this, I believe there will be significant differences for many companies in the near future--especially companies with obviously Japanese sounding names, like Mitsubishi, Toshiba, and Kyocera. . . .

"It is important to understand that this is not a matter of what is right or wrong. What is critical is understanding that this is an issue of consumer perception--and what they believe to be fact ends up being more important than fact itself."
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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