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The European consumer: United in diversity?.

Abstract

The ongoing unification which takes place on the European political scene, along with recent advances in consumer mobility and communication technology, raises the question whether the European Union can be treated as a single market to fully exploit the potential synergy effects from pan-European marketing strategies. Previous research, which mostly used domain-specific segmentation bases, has resulted in mixed conclusions. In this paper, a more general segmentation base is adopted, as we consider the homogeneity in the European countries' Consumer Confidence Indicators. Moreover, rather than analyzing more traditional static similarity measures, we adopt the concepts of dynamic correlation and cohesion between countries. The short-run fluctuations in consumer confidence are found to be largely country specific. However, a myopic focus on these fluctuations may inspire management to adopt multi-country strategies, foregoing the potential longer-run benefits from more standardized marketing strategies. Indeed, the Consumer Confidence Indicators become much more homogeneous as the planning horizon is extended. However, this homogeneity is found to remain inversely related to the cultural, economic and geographic distances among the various Member States. Hence, pan-regional rather pan-European strategies are called for.Communication; Consumer confidence; Country; Dynamic correlation; Effects; European unification; European Union; Indicators; Management; Market; Marketing; Planning; Research; Similarity; Strategy; Technology;

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This paper was published in Research Papers in Economics.

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