1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is facing economic recession which became noticeable in the early eighties. This is aggravated by the global economic recession caused by the famous oil glut. The pangs of the recession have continued to be felt in all economic activities internal and external. Its dimension has reached a zenith resistant to some of the known antidotes for an economy under stress (Financial Punch, 1983: 32). Since the beginning of this period, Successive governments have introduced stringent economic measures aimed at ameliorating economic imbalance. These include the Economic Stabilisation Act of 1982, which empowered the president to apply harsh economic policies to control foreign exchange transactions. The Structural Adjustment Programme (S.A.P) and others, were built on the 1982 Act. These policies seek to boost local production of goods and services and to make Nigeria as economically self reliant as possible. They have nevertheless, produced some unpleasant consequences to business activities in the country.
Meeting the needs of society through appropriate products or service is the basic function of business organizations. Business organizations are distinguished by their objective of realizing profit or a return on investment. Profits serve many functions such as pay dividends to shareholders and serve as source of funds for further investment or expansion of business and for supporting innovative activities such as research and development (Kotler, 1990: 246). The success of a business organization is contingent upon its ability to provide a product or service that meets consumers’ satisfaction. If the list of firms registered in Nigeria some ten years ago is investigated today, it will be seen that many have fickle away. Some have survived but very much at the level they were founded while others have grown and prospered to a height not imagined by their founders.
A company meets its basic responsibility to the society through the medium of its product or service. The consumers’ wants and satisfaction are the economic and social justification for a firm’s existence. Unless a firm accomplishes this, it will cease to exist because the competitive environment will force it out. Consumers have needs and wants which they desire to satisfy through the products they buy. The extent to which they will accept a product is dependent on the satisfaction they derive from the consumption of the product. Consumers are rational beings and want to get the best out of the least spending. They want the best value for their money. Consumers buying behaviour is influenced by social, psychology and a host of other environmental dynamics (Kotler, 1990: 159).
However, some basic factors exist which exert considerable influence on consumers buying decision. These factors include: the products quality, price and availability. It is generally believed that most Nigerians prefer foreign made products to locally manufactured goods. They are willing to produce them at any price. This attitude is a source of concern to both the economic planners and local manufacturers. This is because inadequate demand for home made products has adverse consequences on the pace of the country industrialization efforts and the Gross National Product (GNP). Smuggling of foreign made goods has grown and is now developing to high dimensions. This is a big problem of obtaining inputs for their manufacturing processes. Although, government economic regulations aim at protecting and boosting local production, they have nevertheless, failed to achieve this because local sourcing of inputs is not easy. Many industries cannot easily obtain their raw materials for productions. Consequently, most firms find it difficult to sustain a profitable sales volume. The result is increased unemployment, as firms continue on rationalization in order to remain afloat (Catelogue of Nigeria Consumer & Industrial Good Trade Fair, 1980: 76). All business aim at the consumers. The consumers’ attitude towards the product determines its success or failure. As stated earlier, it is widely acknowledged that most Nigerians prefer foreign made products. This has a very serious implication on the economy. However, a lot is being done in recent years to arouse the interest of Nigerian consumers in locally produced goods and services. In November, 1981, the first Made-in-Nigeria Goods Trade Fair was organized by the Federal Ministry of Commerce. In 1983, the Financial Punch, launched campaign tagged “Think Nigeria as you buy”. The aim is to seek favourable attitude of consumers to Nigeria made products. Since then, many more made-in-Nigeria goods trade fairs have been staged at Federal and the State levels.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
It is a common event to hear Nigerians say that a product is “locally made”, “made in Aba and fabricated in Onitsha”. This has even pushed local manufacturers to adopt foreign logo and names for their locally made goods. There is indeed some disdain and inferiority complex for made-in-Nigeria goods. The problem of this research is the type of snobbism and non-acceptance that exists for the footwear products in Lagos Metropolis.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study aims at the following objectives:
- To identify how consumers in Lagos feel about made-in-Nigeria footwear.
- To find out whether they have a feeling of snobbism or acceptance.
- To find out the factors responsible for consumers attitude of snobbism and non-acceptance.
- To trace the attitude of made-in-Nigeria footwear to income distribution.
1.4 RELEVANT RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions would be the focus of this project:
- Are made-in-Nigeria footwear products quality of low standard to the foreign imported ones?
- Can the price of made-in-Nigeria footwear products compare favourably with imported ones?
- Are made-in-Nigeria footwear products easily available to consumers?
1.5 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES
According to Onwe O.J. (1988: 24), hypothesis is an intelligent guess about the state of the universe under study. The following hypotheses were formulated for this study:
Ho: Consumers will prefer made-in-Nigeria footwear products to foreign made ones even if quality is improved.
Ho: Consumers will patronize made-in-Nigeria footwear products even if prices are low.
Ho: Advertising and sales promotion will increase awareness and patronage of made-in-Nigeria footwear products.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study deals with attitude of consumers to made-in-Nigeria footwear. The study is based on consumers of footwear in Lagos metropolis. It is therefore neither a national nor a regional study. This means that the findings will be interpreted only within the context of consumers in metropolitan city of Lagos.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study was hindered by both time finance and dearth of literature.
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will find solution to why consumers in the Lagos metropolis snob made-in-Nigeria footwear products. It will help the manufacturers in the footwear industry to be quality conscious in their production process.
This study will be able to encourage government to create a conducive environment for businesses to achieve their corporate goals of producing products to satisfy the consumers’ expectations by removing barriers to access to high quality raw materials. It will also remove the negative attitude to home made footwear products by consumers if manufacturers take cognizance of the following factors such as: quality of the products, the price and availability of the products and the awareness of the products to enable consumers patronize them.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The use of certain words or terms can create some ambiguity in the minds of readers. To avoid this affair, there is need for clarification. The following words will carry the meanings given to them in this study:
CONSUMER: One who buys a product for personal use or for members of his household.
PRODUCT: A set of tangible or intangible attributes that can be used to satisfy a need or want
STRATEGY: A master plan that delineates critical courses of action towards the attainment of company objectives and a blue print that defines the means of deploying resources to exploit present and future opportunities and counteract future threats.
MADE IN NIGERIA PRODUCTS: Products manufactured in Nigeria.
NEED: The condition of lacking or wanting something necessary; necessity for presence or possession of something.
BUYING DECISION: The process somewhat sequential consumers undergo when making purchasing decision.
ATTITUDE: A person’s enduring favourable cognitive evaluation, emotional feelings or action tendency towards some object or idea.
PERCEPTION: The meaning attributed to stimuli received through the five sensory organs on the basis of past experience.