Country-of-origin (COO) brand preferences and associated knowledge levels of Japanese wine consumers

Johan Bruwer, Courtney Buller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - There has been no significant research undertaken in the Japanese market on wine knowledge level and its relationship with brand loyalty and preference for specific country-of-origin (COO) wine brands. This exploratory study seeks to investigate these aspects and how wine knowledge is acquired and used in buying decisions.Design/methodology/approach - A highly structured, self-administered questionnaire in the Japanese language was used to collect data over a three-week period. Data include consumers from six of the eight major regional divisions across Japan. The sample population was female-weighted with moderate levels of education and medium income. A ten-item objective wine knowledge scale was developed to measure consumers' knowledge levels and to form the basis for segmentation.Findings - Japanese wine consumers with higher levels of objective knowledge were shown to use more intrinsic cues than extrinsic cues in their purchase decisions, with the importance attributed to intrinsic cues increasing as objective knowledge increases. The study showed consumers with higher levels of objective knowledge do not use the COO cue more than consumers with lower knowledge. Wine consumers view taste, variety and price as the most important buying cues and are influenced by the recommendations of people around them.Practical implications - This research provided insights into the Japanese wine market and the nature of the Japanese wine consumer. It is recommended that wine exporters focus greater marketing efforts on Japanese women, including greater wine education.Originality/value - This study is of value to academic researchers, wine educators, industry practitioners such as restaurant owners/sommeliers and wine exporters alike, as it provides insights into the direction and extent of COO preferences and hence wine (country) brand loyalty. It has a specific focus on wine knowledge and the educational aspect thereof highlighting how this can be used .
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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