Why Buy Jamaican?

Administrator on October 22, 2014, 7:03 pm 1096 3
Why Buy Jamaican?

Every once in a while the Jamaican consumer is being reminded to "buy Jamaican". While under ordinary circumstances it is possible to get quick and strong consumer buy-in to Jamaican products, these days it is proving more and more difficult to convince Jamaicans that they are doing the right thing by buying Jamaican. Imagine that as a Jamaican consumer living on minimum wage or on frozen wages or on remittances, you are asked to choose between an affordable good made outside of Jamaica and a Jamaican product that is high priced. Which product would you choose? Remember your spending power is deeply eroded!

As expected, the majority of spending decisions among the Jamaican consumer with limited spending power favour buying products that are cheaper. Foreign made products are generally cheaper on the supermarket shelves and there is little the Jamaican producers can do to introduce on the Jamaican market products that are better priced. With the full cost of production passed on to the consumer, and none of the subsidies from which some foreign producers benefit, Jamaican products are generally more expensive. A buy Jamaican campaign promises more benefits to the Jamaican producer than it does to the consumer as long as the pricing regime remains the same. Consumer decisions are made based on practical factors instead of on patriotism and emotion. Price, and quality are real factors that will influence the Jamaican consumer's decision to take the product off the shelf.

The success of any deliberate campaign strategy in influencing consumer buying decisions depends also on attention being paid to the persuasive power of the price, ability to purchase, product placement, and product quality. As it stands, previous attempts to win Jamaican consumer interest in local products failed because these critical elements were not taken into consideration. It is great when a buy Jamaican campaign is successful as the movement of Jamaican products off the shelves protects Jamaican jobs, improves economic growth, and brings increased revenues to the Jamaican Government coffers. Failure of Jamaican products to fly off the shelves will mean increased difficulties for the Jamaican economy to become viable and emerge from its depression. For the individual consumer, the big picture is not significant, only the immediate need is paramount and the cost of satisfying this need better be low.

Competitive pricing of the local product will go a far way in convincing the consumer that buying Jamaican will be beneficial in every respect. As long as the local product remains more expensive than the imports, the consumer will continue to gravitate toward the foreign product at the expense of the Jamaican one. Government policy intervention that could support the "Buy Jamaican" or the "Grow what you eat, Eat what you grow" campaigns would need to zero in on the drivers of the local economic competitiveness. Even with strong patriotic messages to woo consumers towards Jamaican products, there would be strong impediments to buying Jamaican if prices remain high and quality low. Certainly, Jamaicans with limited resources and greatly diminished spending power cannot be faulted if they choose not to buy Jamaican, but they are likely to buy into Jamaican products when they can immediately see product superiority in the local brand. A consistent supply of high quality Jamaican products at low prices would be the best combination of influences for more consumers buying Jamaican.

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